March has been a month of ‘everyweather’. From the first half of the month with torrential rainstorms, low temperatures and high winds, to the last week of beautiful sunshine and clear blue skies. Still chilly though and still breezy.
The sunnier weather this last week has meant we have started on the many jobs there are to do in the new garden. Last month I posted a picture of the new shed – it’s now filled with all the gardening tools and equipment that had been stored in the garage. What a difference that has made.
In the long west-facing border the Camellia have been a joy. Covered in huge pink and red blooms. I think the pink here is ‘Donation’, the red I’m not sure about but could be ‘Bob Hope’. Who/whatever they are, they are lovely. These are towards the middle of the length of the border, there are another two at the northern end (to the left of these) but they are in a bit of a mess with a big variegated photinia and what I think is a pieris growing very closely to them. They’ll have to be cleared out later on.
The biggest job so far has been clearing out an old rose bed directly in front of the deck area. It had half a dozen very old rose plants in there and it’s taken a week and a lot of hard work to get them out. Thick roots, matted root fibres – sometimes needing a crowbar and a pick-axe to shift them. It’s been dug over to two spit depths and a mix of new compost and manure put in.
I know the received gardening wisdom says don’t replant roses in ground that they’ve come out of, but I’m going to give it a go. I hope they will be okay. The new roses have been planted in large holes with micorrhizal powder on their roots and the holes backfilled with a mixture of well rotted manure and new compost. The three around the edge are ‘Munstead Wood’ and the one in the middle towards the back is ‘Gertrude Jekyll’. All from David Austin.
I’ve also replanted a few clumps of bluebells that were taken out of this bed when we cleared it. I’ve yet to see if they are our own indigenous bluebells, or if they’re Spanish ones. If they turn out to be Spanish, they will be rooted out. Too thuggish. Later on, I shall put a plant or two of Sisyrinchium in here. There are lots of small plants growing like weeds around the garden so a couple of the larger ones can come in here. I love them with roses – the pale foliage, the strappy leaves and those pale, yellow flowers – goes with everything.
There is an area of the garden that in the Estate Agents details was rather grandly called ‘The Woodland Garden’. In reality it’s a patch of ground under a maple tree with an Eleagnus hedge behind and neglected shrubs around. There is a dead tree to the right side. On the ground are ferns, bluebells, primroses, Helleborus foetidus, a Fatsia in a pot, and a lot of leaf litter. It’s crying out for a bit of care and attention, so this will be the next make-over in the garden plan.
I shall clear out the mess there and I think Pulmonaria would be nice and some Erythronium, maybe a good-sized Hosta. I’ve already got a Rosa ‘Albertine’ to ramble its way up the dead tree trunk (eventually). There’s good dappled shade here and it could be very pretty in the spring.
In a moment of whimsy I bough this ‘garden ornament’. (You all know how I love a gnome, but I thought I’d branch out a little). This little chap is now attached to the palm tree. And although he looks awful close up, from a distance he’s quite life-like. Well, a bit life-like. I rather like him.
The beds we cleared at the front/side of the house in the autumn are likely to be pressed into service as veg beds. They were intended for some exotic plants and to be a sort of ‘hot’ bed, but there is too much prep to do to make a veg bed in other parts of the garden so needs must. When we were filling up the shed the seed tin came to light so I shall check out what is still viable and hopefully be able to start some off soon. We’re pretty mild here and I’m hoping I can sow direct into the ground as we don’t have a greenhouse (yet) and very little room inside for seed growing. As we can’t get out to the Garden Centre, there’s also no seed compost.
This is our first Spring in this garden and we have loved seeing things start to grow over the last few weeks. So many lovely little surprises, daffodils, muscari, iris and primroses dotted all over the garden. Blessings.
That’s it for March. The clocks are forward this weekend and there will be lighter evenings and increasing temperatures. April should see quite a lot of progress. Enjoy your garden if you have one. Stay at home, stay safe and well and look forward to better times.
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