...like clematis alpina Constance, who works overtime trying to get as many flowerings per year as she can.
I planted this gorgeous Dog's Tooth Violet years ago, thinking she would go forth and multiply. Sadly it's not the case but she's still a joy every year when her broad glossy leaves burst through in April and I'm reminded she's about to put in an appearance.
Dilly the duck can always be found near some self-seeded honesty, a volunteer that's never a pest as it adds interest both now and in the autumn when the luminous circles of its papery seedpods light up the garden.
One of my fave cranesbills - the black widow. She seeds around promiscuously, but I love her all the same.
Shuttlecock ferns also make free in the damp and shady corners and they're at their best in their spring colours. I know that in the States fiddlehead ferns are eaten and I've always meant to try them, does anyone know if you can eat shuttlecocks as well?
Another shade lover - little blue clemaitis alpina who scales the wall to visit from our neighbour's garden.
While we're talking about woodland edge, I love little pulmonarias (lungworts) that pop up unexpectedly and brighten dark places.
Another volunteer, I haven't the heart to pull up this little trefoil, who willingly seeds around in the drains and any crack she can get into, doing a very good job of camouflaging eyesores.
This is the most lovely camellia and I'm sorry to say I didn't write down her name when she was planted. Compliments are showered on her, so it's a pity I don't know her name. Can anyone shed any light?
These tiny narcissi are a delight on top of the wall, they're there to greet me every morning through the window as I come downstairs.
Dark purple tulips always get me excited, and tone well with french lavender and fiery Japanese maple that's leafing up in the background.
Now for some sunlovers. I love, love, love tree peonies. We have a fave hotel in Windermere where we're taking our guests on our upcoming Knitting & Gardens Tour of The Lakes & York and Patrick, the head gardener, has a fine collection of tree peonies in every colour you can imagine. On occasions when we've visited in the past, he's very kind and usually presents me with some gorgeous specimen to take home, so I now have quite a few beauties myself. Unfortunately they're all in Wales and this one is the most common and garden lutea, but when her buttery blooms are out she still claims centre stage.
I persevere with lavender, even though I should concede there's not really enough light and generally it's too wet, but for all her shortcomings - legginess, tendency to suddenly give up, rotting off in winter etc, all is forgiven when the sun is out and the bees are buzzing around her - the sound of high summer.
I'd find it hard to live without Lily-flowered tulips in my garden. They're so elegant and you can put them anywhere to spice up a dull corner.
The wisteria seems to have gone back into hibernation. After chancing her arm with her first blooms coming out in mid-April, she's wondering (as we all are) what's going on with the weather and decided to go into suspended animation till there's some proper sun. Wouldn't we all love to do that?
Finally here's the view from my kitchen window with the anonymous camellia working hard to make every day a colourful one.
Can't end without giving you a bulletin on the invalid. I'm overjoyed to report he seems to be doing incredibly well, takes his anti-inflammatories without a murmur and had coffee (well treats) in the garden with us yesterday to get some fresh air. Although it seems amazing, he can manage to get on chairs - the main thing that hinders his progress is the plastic collar, as he catches it on all sorts of things as he moves around. He goes back to the vet tomorrow for a dressing change under sedation and we'll get the latest news on how the paw wound is healing. I'm feeling much more optimistic now, especially as a few of you have written and told me the stories of your cats who've had the same injury. Many thanks one and all.