We have always loved Michael Rosen’s We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. Over the years we’ve taken inspiration from the book and set out on many of our own explorations, hunting for different flowers, trees and animals.
Over winter most of our hunting involves looking upwards, identifying tree bark and buds, but now that spring is nearly here we’re concentrating on ground-hunting, looking for the flowers emerging beneath our feet.
Here are some spring-flowering bulbs that we’ll be hunting for over the next few weeks:
One of the earliest and most colourful of our spring bulbs, crocus are easy to grow and create interest beneath deciduous trees and in borders.
Maybe you’ll be lucky and find swathes of naturalised crocus in open grassy areas – a truly uplifting sight!
This iconic winter bulb has been flowering since January in our garden. Although later cultivars like Galanthus ‘Washfield Warham’ might still be blooming in woodland and garden fringes, most will be coming to an end.
But the next few weeks are the ideal time to plant snowdrops in the green.
February and March are yellow months with daffodils, forsythia and crocus lending the garden a cheerful, sunny aspect. But daffodils come in many shapes, sizes and colours, so our hunt usually involves finding as many different types as possible.
One of our neighbours grows pure white Narcissus ‘Thalia’ and last year we found a group of escapees on the riverbank – frilly ‘Rip Van Winkle’ – adding razzmatazz to the otherwise grassy bank!
This vibrant yellow flower turns its sunny face upwards in the darkest areas beneath deciduous trees. Hunting for winter aconites starts in the leaf litter, then if you find them, kneel down to appreciate their open golden flowers surrounded by a green ruff of delicately striped leaves.
We hunt for this more unusual spring bulb in a small group of gardens where it has happily spread across the rocky borders. The open white star flowers have a faint blue stripe down the middle, giving them an attractive silvery sheen.
With anemones, hyacinths and spring snowflakes also emerging in the next few weeks, there’s never been a better time to get out with the family to appreciate the beauty of early spring.