It's hard not to love small, late winter/early spring flowers, the ones that somehow manage to push their way up through cold days and even colder nights to flower in otherwise bare gardens. Small flowers such as snowdrops, cyclamen, aconites, and my two favourites: irises and crocuses. I like the little splashes and huddles of colour and the way you can almost miss them. When you do notice something going on close to the ground, bend down and look closely, you discover that they are far from unexciting, modest small flowers, and in fact have all sorts of surprising and intricate patterns, colours, stripes, and markings.
These are Iris reticulata 'Katharine Hodgkin' in pots in the garden; each flower looks as though it's been hand-painted. We've also got Iris reticulata 'Harmony' and 'Gordon' which create amazing splodges of blue, shades that you so rarely see in flowers but are very difficult to capture with a camera,
I'm also a real fan of crocuses, and have been since I was tiny and lived near to a crocus corner. Even after all these years, it's still planted with crocuses and full of colour in spring, as are so many banks and parks and roundabouts in the North West. I was beginning to think that the North was the crocus's spiritual home, so I was delighted to be proved wrong when I found rugs and carpets of crocuses in Reading yesterday.
We have crocuses in the garden, too, some of which we planted about fifteen years ago. That's another reason to love them - they naturalise and multiply and pop up year after year.
Small flowers maybe, but with disproportionately big, and very gladdening effects.