Weekends and weeks have been busy and the garden has received only fleeting attention. The forecast of heavy rain for Friday saw me up early to sprinkle rose feed around so that the rain would do the watering in job. I managed one afternoon of ruthless cutting back and hardly made a dent in the job. I need to clear the borders to allow the later performing flowers to have their space. It’s easy to feel that there is a mountain to climb but even in that one afternoon there was so much loveliness to enjoy.
I planted an awful lot of allium sphaerocephalon last year but I don’t quite have the affect I wanted #neverhappy! But of course I am happy – they are full of bees and are keeping the colour in the garden going. I have no idea how the name is pronounced so I may be using the common name of round headed garlic. Much simpler.
The geranium’ Brookside’ are the biggest culprit for taking up space, stunning when they climb over the early roses but once the flowers go they have to be cut back. They are well established and cutting them back is a major job. My compost heap is heaping up. Each year I dither about getting a shredder but as the garden has been restocked and matured it is obvious to me that this is my next purchase.
I had to get my priorities right today. The deluge of rain has filled the water butts again but with the forecast of more to come I needed to pump the contents of one butt down to the end of the garden to fill the large water tank. I think it holds about 800 litres and is my go to for keeping the veg plot watered. While that was filling up I took the rest of my photos, serendipitiously benefited from the combination of sun and raindrops. This osteospermum is a workhorse in a sunny corner and deserves a mention.
I have given up trying to protect the soft fruits from the birds. I have had a few good pickings of gooseberries, blackcurrants and whitecurrants and I have taken off the netting to share the rest with nature. The whitecurrants look beautiful on the branch but remind me of fish eggs once in the colandar.
I managed to get the last tray of annuals in the ground this morning. I sowed cosmos late so there is not a flower to be seen but the nicotiana also sown late have come in to flower and the combination of heat and rain will no doubt do them both some good.
The rose of the week is Jaqueline du Pre. I really enjoy this one for its difference. It was flattened by the overnight rain but by crawling around on the grass and propping it up on some other branches I managed to get a half decent photo. I spotted an interesting salvia this week – Salvia × sylvestris ‘Schneehügel’ – a white variety. I am going to add this in around the rose. Just can’t stop myself.
I know someone else who can’t be stopped, yes Mr P. Go visit and see what’s happening there and around the world. Seems like the rain can’t be stopped either, its just started again. My empty water butt will be filling up nicely. Happy days.
It has been a very cold week here with heavy frosts and snow on Thursday evening. February has arrived and plans for the year to come are gathering pace. Seeds have been delivered and also, unexpectedly, asparagus crowns.
I ordered them on the understanding that despatch would be in February for planting out in March. They arrived a few days ago during the coldest spell of the winter. Much as I prefer to stay in the warm at these times I did plant out 125 snowdrops on a very sleety day in February a few years ago, I have form for gardening in the winter. This time I feel misled. I registered my concerns with the supplier who assures me that the majority of UK asparagus can now be planted any time over winter when the ground is not frozen. But my ground is frozen. I am therefore advised to store them temporarily with a covering of dry sand or compost which stops them drying out completely. This I have done. I now have my fingers very much crossed. Wish me luck. The supplier will be updating their website and I could be digging trenches this weekend.
As February has arrived I feel it is time to show a snow drop or two. As mentioned, I did have fun planting these! I planted them at the base of the fruit trees in the garden. One hundred and twenty five snowdrops do not go very far but they do take a long time to plant. I was hoping they would naturalise and spread themselves out into the empty spaces, but it looks as though that is going to take some time and I am sure that if I count them up I would be noting some as AWOL. Having said that they do look good in the snow.
A view of one section of the soft fruit beds in the snow and more evidence of winter gardening madness. Last weekend I decided it was time to cut back the autumn fruiting raspberries. It was a sunny morning and I was lured outside. I failed to factor in the wind chill – it was freezing but I pushed on. Once the secateurs were in action it was hard not to stop and the gooseberries also got some attention. They succumbed to a sawfly attack last year so I focused on opening up the middle of each bush. I still have the blackcurrants to do, they are budding up already.
Whilst stowing the asparagus crowns in the greenhouse I checked in on the overwintering pelagoniums. They seem to be looking okay. This is the first time I’ve tried overwintering and the gardening fingers are crossed for them too.
The delightful builder was very industrious when he visited recently and used up the wood left over from facing the breeze block walls of a raised bed to spruce up the large water storage tank. I’d always thought it was an ugly thing but it was functional. However I had coffee with my neighbour recently and realised she had a perfect sight line from her window direct to the water tank. It was not a pretty sight. I am pleased the left over wood got used up and perhaps the Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’ that is hiding under the snow will be more inclined to creep up the sides now.
Lastly some variegated box capped with snow. Plain and simple. It forms one end of a hedge line separating the garden from the veg plot.
Interesting times these, for the SOS crowd. What is going on in their gardens or in their gardening minds? Mr P’s site will have all the answers. It may be February but there will be much to discover. Share your experiences too – here’s a participant guide.