Cheerfulness has been in short supply but I detect an upsurge coming our way. Last week I was desperate for six wonders from the garden. This week I feel more positive. Heavy snow is forecast for tomorrow but I am sure it will be rain. The garden is truly on the move and the signs of new growth are everywhere. I pruned another four rose bushes and only have three more to do. The goldfinches have reappeared, feasting on the verbena bonariensis seeds. I also spotted them enjoying some seed heads of lavender that had escaped a cut back. The hellebores are looking lovely and the 300 snowdrops I planted in the north facing border are shyly stepping out. Here’s this week’s six.
Helleborus hybridus, every so slightly ahead of their February flowering and looking just perfect from above.
Hellebore ‘Happy Day’. The first hellebore to self seed in the garden, choosing a crack on the edge of some paving to establish itself. Looks inhospitable to me and I might intervene and move it to a more generous spot in spring.
Hellebores again. I love the deep colour of ‘Pretty Ellen Red’ in its double form. I’d love these to self seed to, but not so far and I always miss the point when the seeds develop. More vigilance required.
The melica is on the move, melica altissima ‘Alba’. This really cheered me up, memories of floaty seed heads swaying in summer breezes, I can’t wait.
A little variegated variety from a cyclamen of some sort. Hastily purchased, label forgotten but its really striking leaves by the front door always catch my eye.
The fat buds of clematis ‘Apple Blossom’. An evergreen clematis from the amandii group. It flowers in the leaf axils of the previous year’s growth and as it has been in the garden now for two years there are a good deal more of those axils to bear beautiful flowers in late February.
Yes, we can do this. There’s the chill of February to get through but the March surge is on its way. Mr P continues to channel humour and sartorial gardening elegance (past few weeks) and is hosting his way through another volume of the SOS posts with his usual panache. Don’t miss out!
I’m still whirling round the garden like a dervish. So much weeding but also the first of the penstemons were cut back. P. ‘Garnet’ was putting on new growth everywhere and it seemed rather cruel to cut most of it off but that’s what I did. The other penstemons are only just putting on new growth from the ground so I’m leaving them another week or so. I’ve also began staking the perennials and continue to tie in the clematis and climbing roses. Seeds are being sown but I’ve given hope of seeing a dahlia or lupin seed germinate. They have spurned the sunny windowsill in the kitchen and the increasingly hot greenhouse. Time to admit defeat. However the tulips are coming along nicely.
The real ‘White Triumphator’ tulips have shown up this week and have added Continue reading →
Thanks for the extra day. Thanks for more rain and wind. Thanks Jorge. It’s all a bit much and I’m not even flooded out. I am so sorry for those who are, the photos are terrible and the real thing must be so much worse. I am encouraged by the fact that this is the last day of meteorological winter and spring arrives tomorrow. In theory. Here’s six gardening related things.
March is the time to start a few seeds going. First on my list and a first for me, is trying to grow some dahlias from seed. I collected the seed from ‘Orange Cushion’ that was new to the garden last year. I liked it so I am having a go at growing from seed and if that fails I might have a go at taking some cuttings from the tubers later in the year. If the tubers have survived. I left them in the ground and although the weather has been mild the constant rain might have done for them,
Lupin seeds collected from last year’s plants. I am starting these and the dahlia seeds off inside the house as the greenhouse has no heat or electricity supply. Indeed the greenhouse is very leaky at the moment and I feel sure the pools of water on the floor can’t be the best environment for the overwintering plants.
The sun is out so I’m off to the garden for more photos! Some time later: The fig tree was pruned a few weeks ago but I was so excited by primroses, pulmonaria and such like that I didn’t show it. Hey, Mr P I also have wood chip! This the large fig tree that shades much of the long border in the summer. The height was reduced by a third and next year it will get another third taken off. I’ll lose the fruit this year but it needed to taken in hand.
The mild weather seems to have suited the salvia ‘Amistad’. I took cuttings as a precaution against the garden plants dying off over winter but so far they have survived outside and are putting on new growth. I think they will need a cut back to some strong growing points.
The first cowslip is just about in flower. These grow in the damp border. A small border that is guaranteed to be wetter than the rest of the garden and today there is standing water. This should be perfect for the Siberian irises that grow there as well.
Oh dear. It looks like I’ve missed the moment to cut back the grasses. When did they start sprouting? These are the melica altisssima ‘Alba’ that were planted in the north border last year.
I’m hoping for a dry day tomorrow as I have some free time. Seeds to be sown, more FBB to be sprinkled around but it may be too soggy to tackle those weeds. We shall see. The Propagator will miraculously host this meme, comment on posts and have time to garden I am sure. He may also throw in a long run. All hail the Caesar!
This garden has a long history of growers. The very first owner here was a prize winner for a plate of three raspberries and the second owner was a committed fruit grower. When I came along the fruit growing had taken priority and the borders were being taken over by weeds and grass. There are still plenty of weeds and fruit bushes around but flowers are gradually being reinstated.
The monthly long border shot. This year I have gone for two smaller wigwams of sweet peas. I planted out the early sowings last weekend. On the left ‘April in Paris’, a white variety and on the right ‘Midnight Blues’. I now have a gap where the large wigwam went and although I have some annuals lined up to fill the space I feel the need for an evergreen shrub to give more form to this end of the border. The delphiniums are shooting away and with storm Hannah blowing through I need to get out there and do some tying in. In case you are wondering, the bamboo cane is there to remind me not to step on the emerging echinacea ‘White Swan’. Roses, geraniums and knautia are also making good progress, ready to take over from the tulips and euphorbia.
The left hand end of the north border. This used to be home to a stand of blackcurrant bushes and in turning over the soil for the nth time I found a label: Ben Tirran. Four of those bushes went on to new homes so I will pass on the information. The others have been found temporary homes elsewhere here. So this end of north border was ready to plant up this year. First to go in were two hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris, climbing hydrangeas for the back fence. Last weekend I planted 23 geranium sanguineum ‘Alba’ and six anemone ‘Honorine Jobert. I have two more geraniums waiting to go in once the front row three of pittosporum tobira ‘Nanum’ arrive. I’ll fit the last two geraniums in around them. The black pots along the back row are representing 10 melica altissima ‘Alba’. These are proving elusive at the moment and I am hoping I don’t have to resort to a well known but more expensive on-line supplier. I am following a plan from Joe Swift – Five plants for a deep shade border – as published in Gardeners’ World August 2018. I also have some seedlings of astrantia major to fit in and finally I plan to add snowdrops for some early interest.
At the other end of the north border the Choisyas are opening up. This can mean only one thing. The days are numbered for the ailing one. For the moment I’ll enjoy the scent and the green and white colours.
Patiently waiting to fill the space soon to be vacated by poorly choisya is a skimmia ‘Kew Green’. Most descriptions use the very attractive phrase ‘no need to prune’. The scent is described as’ lilly of the valley’ and it does well in shade. Sounds perfect.
I was lucky enough to inherit a greenhouse, old and needing some glazing repairs but it looked wonderful to me. I put in some automatic openers but the frame on one side sticks in one corner and I haven’t solved the problem. Last week the frame gave way at its weak point – the glass. I made a temporary repair with some left over plastic and clingfilm but storm Hannah has curled her lip! I am hoping the local company that helped out with the glazing last time will come to my aid again.
The sowing of tomatoes for the greenhouse are coming along well. Time to move them on I think. That will encourage me to get that window repaired.
The weather has changed dramatically. Cold, wet and windy. I am grateful for the rain as already the water butts were getting low. Fingers crossed that the wind isn’t too damaging, there is so much blossom around now. I hope your garden stays safe and don’t forget to take a look at Mr P’s blog for more news from SOSs around the world.