As the garden gets going it is time for the gardener to step up the pace. The beginning of March has been cold and wet here but growth continues. It is time to give the fruit trees their quarterly feed of bonemeal and the roses will receive a handful of fertiliser to propel them into abundant flowering. Having spent a week away from the garden I came back to find a very soggy lawn and wet borders. I have snowdrops to divide and the last of the herbaceous perennials to cut back. Not a seed has been sown yet but this weekend I will start the tomatoes off. Here’s six from the garden.
I plant the David Austin rose ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ in 2020, in its climbing form. It has now made up to the top of the arch and the new growth is lining up nicely. I’m hoping for more of its lovely red flowers this year.
I have been taking stock of what has survived the winter and I’m pleased to say that this salvia ‘Amistad’ planted against a south facing wall is just beginning to show signs of new growth. Here’s hoping it doesn’t get caught by a late frost. I have insurance in the shape of a cutting in the greenhouse which looks good too.
The euphorbia oblongata has also come through unscathed. It’s described as a short lived perennial, so I should be prepared for it to fade away soon. It’s been with me for about three years, it will be interesting to see how short lived it is.
No seeds sown this year but these are lychnis coronaria that I sowed last autumn. Lychnis are self seeders so these were a bit belt and braces. I will plant them out away from the parent plant, spreading a little more hot pink around the garden.
I took some sage cuttings last year when the very old sage bush had a good cut back. The parent plant seems to be none the worse and the cuttings have taken.
In June I will have been gardening here for six years. I inherited a large pot of strawberries that I transferred to the greenhouse in the hope of an early crop of fruit. But there they languished producing very little at all. I am finally about to dig them up and use the space for something else. The soil will need some improvement. In the meantime I have six new strawberry plants, three of ‘Cambridge Favourite’ and three of ‘Elsanta’, chosen from the limited selection available at the garden centre. Roll on Summer, I am ready!
More garden reports can be found on The Propagator’s site, where he hosts all the SOS links. Join in or simply read for pleasure. It’s a merry band.
Having spent the last few months day dreaming of garden projects it is time to get real and decide what is going to be put in place and what’s not. I’d love to have a multi stem silver birch and have a space in mind for one, but it would mean displacing three Darcy Bussell roses and it would create a dry spot where the gooseberries grow. That’s not happening. Last year I talked myself out of planting up a grass corner on the grounds that it would be too shady. This year I am going to do it. I might lose a plant or two but that happens every year, usually due to slugs. I didn’t plant Jean D’Arc crocuses, deciding that, as they are Dutch varieties, they would be too large. This year I will go big and order them. February is a month of anticipation, pole position on the grid, foot hovering over the accelerator, but patience is required. There’s plenty of time yet. So ease back and enjoy what is happening now with this week’s six.
I noticed that flowers had started to appear on the rosemary bush. This and the sage were inherited and the sage was showing signs of age last year. I was ruthless in shaping it up and cutting out some very old stems. This year will show whether this results in rejuvenation or demise.
The very first of the crocuses have shown up. These are in a dry spot underneath a magnolia so I am always impressed that they make it through every year.
The annual showing of the fat buds of clematis armandii ‘Apple Blossom’. This plant helps the garden through February and into March. It’s scented and has pretty white/pink flowers.
This is sarcococca hookeriana ‘Winter Gem’. A smaller growing (70cm) variety with a pinker flower. It has been a slow starter but in its second year it’s beginning to fill the space.
The front garden hydrangea has a much more open texture than the back garden ones. It’s a lace cap variety and it looks pretty good in winter. The fat buds of this year’s growth are appearing.
Aah, the egg box is no longer empty. The ‘Jazzy’ potatoes have arrived and chitting has begun. Vroom, vroom!
Blue skies are arriving and although it’s a cold morning the afternoon could see some gardening tidying being started. If that doesn’t happen there’s always the chance of an online garden mooch through the SOS links on The Propagator’s site. Take a look, join in, all welcome.
*with due acknowledgement to the radio programme of a similar name.
This is a fatal time of year for me. The Christmas break takes me away from the garden and usually cold weather keeps me away. But SOS calls and even the briefest of walks around the borders reveals that sitting with one’s feet up is not what is needed. Those weeds are looking smugly healthy whilst other more valued plants are in need of a trim or a primp. There are more leaves to be taken off the hellebores and I spotted one or two wayward rose branches that need to be taken out. I don’t have the excuse of cold weather, in truth it has been quite mild here but the ground is very wet so I will have tread carefully. Here’s what else I found.
The clematis armandii ‘Apple Blossom’ is fattening up very nicely. It is growing rampantly in one direction but is a little bald in the other. One side receives much more sun and it is the sunnier side that is worse for wear. Perhaps it will re-balance this summer.
A favourite photo for this time of year, the new growth of the sedum is pushing through. The old stems can stay on a little longer though.
A visit to the greenhouse paid some dividends as the overwintering pelagonium had put out new flowers. It was quite a timely visit as the pellie is clearly sitting below a leak point from the roof and some of its leaves were gently rotting away. On the downside all the salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ cuttings have rotted off.
There was some more joy in the greenhouse. Fred, a long time SOSer had sent me seeds of anchusa capensis back in September and I sowed just a few then. Three of them came good and are currently looking promising. I’ll be sowing the rest in the coming months. Thanks Fred.
That great herald of spring euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii is once again having mixed fortunes in the border. I have four of them planted centrally in the long border to give an early blast of lime green but one of them always plays up. These two plants are about a metre apart but something is having a dramatic impact on the growth of one of them. I will soldier on but I think they are not very fond of my heavy soil and the wet winter is doing them no favours.
Always reliable in providing a great mound of evergreen structure is this sage. It came with the garden and every year I give it a thorough prune. The compost heap smells wonderful for few days.
Happy New Year to everyone, the long month of January has arrived and we need to keep our minds focused on the impending arrival of beautiful things. Seeds to be sown, spring bulbs to be enjoyed and where we would be without a good moan about weeds, slugs and snails. I’m ready for it all and so is The Propagator, he’s already sown his chilli seeds!