End of the Month View – March 2017

It is now the end of March and we are half way through Spring. Th snowdrops have faded but other spring delights are following.17_03_29_5132Here is my classic End of the Month View (January, October, September, August) Last January the beds looked empty. Now they are full of leaves with lots of tulips and alliums pushing up. Mostly it looks very green but on the right we can see some early tulips adding some colour. 17_03_29_5143Looking across the centre bed we can see more tulips putting on a great display. (Before you ask, these have been in for over 10 years and I have lost the reference to there name). At the back you can see a blue carpet under the rose bushes.17_03_24_5131The Anemone Blanda Atrocoerulea were planted last spring with the idea that they would provide interest under the roses at a time when rose bushes are very boring. 17_03_23_5115This is proving very successful. The leaves die back very quickly after flowering and can then be tidied up if required. Over time these will eventually grow to form a complete carpet of blue.17_03_29_5134The bed to the left of the lawn is full to bursting with tulips and alliums and should look fantastic in a few weeks time. (Actually a gardening group will be visiting then) 17_03_29_5135However, looking at it I think we need to give some more thought to structure and colour at this time of year.17_03_29_5136To the right of the pond there is a similar mass of tulips and alliums. At the back the Delphinium Black KnightClematis Jackmanii, and Clematis Viola are all making good growth.17_03_29_5138To the right of the pond Tulip Apricot Impression is opening up. 17_03_29_5139Tulip Apricot Impression in all its glory. A very nice reasonable priced tulip.

At the back left of the bed you can see some plastic which covers Peach Terrace Amber Dwarf. This is to protect the peach from peach leaf curl.17_03_24_5130Under the plastic the peach is already in flower.17_03_29_5140Further round the bed on the right the Crown imperial fritillary is also flowering.

17_03_29_5145Elsewhere in the garden the plum Prunus Jubilee is flowering so far avoiding any frost damage.17_03_29_5146

Just how nice can spring get!

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
28 649 16

This week we spent considerable time in the garden. What were we doing?17_03_23_5112For example here is our strawberry bed which is down wind from a big sycamore tree. You can see that this is covered with small seedlings from the tree.  It takes time to remove them by hand. Just one of the jobs to be done.

Do have a look at Helen The Patient Gardener’s blog where you fill find links to other gardens at the end of March. Thank you to Helen for hosting this meme.

also Sarah at Down By The Sea for Through The Garden Gate (here).

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An Afternoon in two Hoby Gardens

12.00pm – 5.00pm on Wednesday 14th June
Hoby , Leicestershire, LE14 3DR

£5 includes entrance to gardens plus tea & cake, Fizz available at extra cost

 ~~ Redwood ~~

Main Street, Hoby, LE14 3DT  plus cake, tea & fizz

 ~~ Glebe House ~~

Church Lane, Hoby, LE14 3DR

 All proceeds to All Saints Church Hoby maintenance fund.

See map of location of Hoby . If you can get to this event I am sure you will enjoy the afternoon.

 

No room in the greenhouse!

At this time of year the greenhouse becomes an essential building in any garden, large or small.17_03_23_5111Despite having a relatively large garden the greenhouse is not very large. The location is not ideal either as it faces west and has a large wall to the south and east. You may well ask “why did you put it here?” I would say that the main reason was that we did not want to spoil the views down the garden and the only other sensible location was totally shaded by a large old apple tree. Actually the location does have the advantage that it does not get over hot in the middle of summer.

Nevertheless, at this time of year I am always wishing that it was a bit bigger.17_03_23_5105At the end are Osteospermum cutting that have been over wintered and a bay tree which I bring in to protect it from the winter frosts.

On the left you can see dahlia tubers that have been planted up in potting compost and about two weeks ago received their first watering. I tend to lift all our tubers as we used to get hard frosts which could be fatal for any left in the ground. After drying them off (in an upside down position so that any liquids can flow out) they are then potted up in dry potting compost and kept either in the garage or under the staging in the greenhouse. 17_03_23_5109There is not enough staging so some are started off on the ground.17_03_23_5108On the right as you enter there are even more! The issue I have is that I always end up with more dahlia plants than I started with and I am always reluctant to throw away anything that could make a good plant. The greenhouse just get fuller!17_03_23_5110It is amazing how quickly the tubers burst into life. This one is Dahlia Arabian Night a beautiful dahlia with large, fully-double flower-heads of dark burgundy-red.

In a few weeks the dahlias will all have grown to maybe 30 cm high and I will cut out the growing tips to encourage more bushy plants. However they will need to be kept in the greenhouse until the frosts have finished in May. This immediately presents an issue as during this time there are many seed to plant and grow.17_03_23_5106This is already underway with trays of cosmos and poppies and in the incubator tomatoes and many more exotic flowers. This becomes a huge juggling act and eventually the whole floor will be covered with plants and the scent becomes overpowering. The aconites and Anemone Blanda White Splendour have already been moved out and I described these in Aconites and others spring delights.17_03_23_5107Two trays that will soon be ready to plant out are Anemone Nemerosa Robinsoniana  which I treat in a similar way to the aconites.

There is a very critical timing when the tomatoes need their final potting up and need to be located in their final position in the greenhouse. To do this some of the staging is removed and I just have to hope that we can get the dahlias planted out at that time.

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
12 621 16

Spring up close

Spring has certainly progressed this last few days with some warm 16c sunshine. You can almost see the plants (and weeds) growing. Although I do not have a macro lens I thought I would share with you some “up close” images of the flowers making their presence know.17_03_15_5092The spring standby, Primrose (Primula vulgaris). Not really a plant that is planted as it is quite happy to plant itself. April 19th is traditionally Primrose Day, marking the death of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli on April 19th, 1881 when Queen Victoria sent primroses to his funeral.17_03_15_5083The radiant yellow flowers of dwarf Narcissus Tête á Tête give a big splash of colour to any bed. One drawback is that the leaves take time to disappear so I plant them towards the back of my borders where the leaves can die back out of sight.17_03_15_5084Mahonia media Charity looking splendid. Mahonia, or Oregon grape are highly prized not just for the beautiful glossy foliage, but because they flower through the winter months.17_03_15_5088Ipheion uniflorum White Star is a small herbaceous perennial growing from a bulb and producing flat, shiny, green, hairless, grasslike leaves up to 30 cm (12 in) long. The stem grows up to 20 cm (8 in) tall and bears a solitary showy flower in spring. Not such a  common spring flower but easy to grow in a sunny position. Here they underplant some roses.17_03_15_5079The first tulip flower of the season. Variety unknown! However, the tulips are coming up all over the garden so we are expecting an excellent display later on.17_03_15_5089Anemone Blanda Atrocoeruleais a very free flowering Anemone, which quickly forms large clumps and multiplies year after year. Plant under trees for a woodland effect, with a carpet of violet-blue flowers appearing every spring. The blue is stunning.17_03_15_5090and Anemone Blanda White Splendour tends to flower a little later but is just as useful in the spring border.17_03_15_5081Prunus Kojo-no-mai is always early to flower17_03_15_5082and looks great for no effort.17_03_16_5097Ribes sanguineum White Icicle has also started flowering.17_03_15_5095This Aubretia, in a warm spot has burst into flower.17_03_15_5094Lastly the view over the garden fence where the lambs are continuing to grow.

The first lawn mowing of the season took place this week and there has been much time spent removing self set alliums.

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
20 609 16

Aconites and others spring delights

After snowdrops Eranthis hyemalis winter aconites are one of the delights of spring. This woodland member of the buttercup family will swiftly multiply to form a glowing carpet of golden yellow flowers each spring. The cup shaped blooms of the winter aconite attract pollinating insects into the spring garden, and associate beautifully with snowdrops and bluebells for a spectacular woodland display. Virtually maintenance free, Eranthis hyemalis are ideal for planting in the dappled shade of deciduous trees, or naturalised in informal areas of grass.

However, I have found from experience they are hard to establish. The cheapest way to buy them is as small tubers but I have not had much success planting these directly in the borders. Maybe I was just feeding the mice but they seldom came up! However, I have found that planting in pots of compost in the autumn and leaving in a cool greenhouse is generally successful. 17_02_22_4980On the right the Winter Aconites and on the left  Anemone Blanda White Splendour which I treat in the same way. An additional benefit of this approach is that the greenhouse gets full of the scent of the Winter Aconites which is fantastic.

17_03_04_5026The border with the snowdrops beginning to fade.

17_03_04_5027The winter aconites ready for planting

17_03_04_5028The border now with a few splashes of yellow which will establish themselves into large clumps over the next few years.

Other spring delights

17_03_04_5031Everywhere you look at this time of year spring bulbs are bursting out.17_03_04_5032Crocus Pickwick coming back every year.

17_03_04_5035Borders of Helleborus Ashwoods Hybrids doing their own thing.17_03_04_5036

 

17_03_04_5037Crocus Joan of Arc under a row of step-over apples with tulips emerging behind.17_03_04_5038What could be more wonderful!

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
15 589 16

In a vase on Monday – Mumbai II

 

dsc01592Just returned from India and stayed a couple of nights at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai. As is typical of hotels in Asia the floral displays in their reception are outstanding and this was no exception.dsc01593Actually it should be vases on Monday!dsc01591

With my thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this meme.  Do visit her to see masses of other vases to fill you with joy on Monday.dsc01590

Lambs and snowdrops

 

17_03_01_5009Spring had really arrived now. Over the years we have been splitting clumps of snowdrops to fill out the border down the lefthand side of the garden. This has been a real success with the spring bed looking absolutely gorgeous.  17_03_01_502317_03_01_5007From our back door the border is raised and you find yourself looking into the snowdrops.Which is really great to see.17_03_01_5024Looking down on the same part of the bed you can see the progress the tulips are making. These are mainly Red Impression and by April the whole of this left hand border will be full of Red Impression.17_02_22_4982The beauty of spring comes through with snowdrops, aconites,  Iris Histrioides Katherine Hodgkin and a small cyclamen. 17_03_01_5012Elsewhere the snowdrops set of the yew and box hedging.

17_03_01_5017The other arrival this week are the lambs in the field below our garden. The lambs are born in lambing sheds so when they are put out to the field they are quite strong. However, the day they arrived it turned cold and rained and I guess they wondered what it was all about. Certainly we could hear a significant amount of lambs crying out through the night.17_03_01_5016In a week or two they will be charging around the field like a group of adolescents!

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
16 574 16

All 16 hours were on the clean up following Doris. In particular, Diane did 10 hours of shredding so that we can recycle all the brushwood back into the compost heap through the year ahead. The shreddings have been bagged up and are ready to be moved to the compost area.