I’m feeling quite organised this month, I took the photos on 1st April (only a day late) and I’m here writing this post on 2nd April, there is a fighting chance I will publish before too long. Spring has sprung, and with it some of my gardening motivation. I do love this time of year. Perennials are coming back to life, sending out the questing tips of new shoots, causing me to furrow my brow and wonder “what the hell is that?” Let’s take a spin through the garden, see what’s going on.
First the overhead shot. The lawn is freshly mown, and scarified to within an inch of its life, which is why it looks a bit threadbare. I am resolved to avoid using feed and weed this year. I will overseed the whole lawn in the next day or two and I will aerate it too in a couple of weeks, or whenever I can stand on the lawn again. The amalanchier on the left side of the lawn might get some company soon. I am contemplating enlarging its circular planting area to allow for a clematis which I will encourage to grow into the tree.
At some point last year I decided it would be a good idea to buy some decent large pots, rather than having a sea of black plastic. Getting one a month was the plan, to make it less of an outlay, and to prolong the retail therapy. What with one thing and another, however, I have not been to the garden centre or much of anywhere else, so no new pots have been added since the autumn. Yet. On the plus side, the maligned black tubs are bursting with tulips and it will only be days now before they are putting on a show.
The Patio Border – I have some plants to move around (eg the crocosmia, helenium) and some to plant (eg echinacea). I may also move the cercis canadensis. Last year it half died, all on one side – I suspect wind scorch, but perhaps it is something more insidious. The undead half is busy putting forth the flower buds for which it is renowned and I have pruned the dead half back to the trunk. It is still quite a good shape so not a total basket case. In a slightly premature move, I bought a crab apple tree to replace it. I think I will relegate the cercis to the front garden and plant the malus in here. Two years ago I planted allium ‘summer drummer’ at the back by the second trellis. They get to 4 or 5 feet. I gather. They did nothing last year apart from stink the place out with onion overtones. This year they are quite robust and already 2 or 3 feet tall. Since last time I have lavished garden compost love on this border (and two others), mulching with a good couple of inches of the good stuff. This will supress weeds and improve the condition of the soil as it is taken in by our friendly worms.
The Sunny Border – I was about to dig up the clump of daffodils that have come up blind (centre of first picture). As I approached with my trusty fork, purposeful like, I noticed that among the strappy leaves are little flower heads. Could they be alliums? They might well be, it’s just the sort of thing I might have done, planted alliums then forgotten about them. Curious, I’m going to leave them be for now. The roses and clematis on the fence have all been pruned and trained. All are throwing out new growth so for the next couple of months I shall be tying them in to the wires to get a good spread. I removed the last of the helenium autumnale, your basic helenium, from this border. Having given away a couple of dozen bags of divisions from the rest of the garden, this lot I just chopped up and stuck on the compost heap. It caused me physical pain to compost what were probably several dozen little plantlets. I have other, more worthy helenium to replace them (sahin’s early flowerer, moerheim’s beauty, baudirektor linné). I’ve also added a canna, a red-leaved variety, to go with the existing rather basic green canna that adorn the back of the border towards the end.
The Wisteria Border, incorporating the Eye of Sauron. – Nothing much has changed here since last time, except more of the bulbs are coming through. The jetfire are almost done, their decline in appearance hastened by bees that impatiently nibble through the trumpets to access the nectar within. I have pruned hydrangea ‘annabel’ back to about one third, to a nice set of strong buds. I doubt we will get a severe frost now, I think I’m safe.
The Lilac Border – The titular lilac is budding out, it will soon be resplendent with flowers too. I’ve removed a big clump of gone-over pheasants tail grass from the corner, to the right of the fatsia. It now looks bare and I’m wondering if there is room for another shrub between the fatsia and the viburnum. Once things have grown on a bit and I can see what is where, I’m going to have a little reshuffle in this border with the aim of balancing it out a bit.
The Shady Border – I ran out of garden compost so have not yet mulched this side of the garden. I have ordered some compost/manure mix to complete the job. I obviously need to be more proactive in the compost department this year, I’m not making enough, clearly. The hellebores ‘pink lady’ have been good value this year, lots of flowers. I baulk at the high cost of a substantial size hellebore plant, but now I think it might be worth it. I shall be on the lookout for more, I think. The only other event of note in this border is the blooms on the still-diminutive camellia ‘nuccio’s pearl’, an event which I have failed to capture in a photo here. Trust me, it’s flowering.
The Hibiscus Border – I am contemplating moving the hibiscus and putting it in one of the aforementioned pots on the patio. It is such a slow growing, slow to get going plant, I’m not sure it justifies its place in the border. By the time it flowers it is hidden behind other stuff, requiring an act of contortion to view the admittedly rather pretty flowers. The curse of the planting place of doom seems to remain fully in force. Of the hardy climbing fuchsia, the latest inhabitant of this cursed spot by the trellis on the left, there is still no sign. In general I think this bit of border could do with a bit of zuzzing up. I have some cuttings from last year of some nice persicaria that could go in here, plus a good sedum.
The Front Garden – I have planted a climbing rose and a rambler since last time. ‘A Shropshire lad’ has gone in on the fence line, just to the right of the netting. A vigorous chap, I hope he soon covers a decent chunk of the fence. ‘Paul Noble’, the rambler, is tucked away out of sight at the far right end of the fence. My aim is to grow it up the house and along the wall between the ground and first floor windows. To make room for the rambler, I dug up the eupatorium, moving it to the spot vacated by a large clump of retired helenium autumale. I’ll give it another year to see how it does, then I might remove it entirely, I wasn’t that impressed last year. It is a big plant, but not very pretty. Along the fenceline are the many seedlings from last years eccremocarpus scaber, a prolific generator of seed.
That’s your lot for March, I’ve got actual gardening to do!
I’ll be back next month with another Border Patrol