I’m shattered. When I look round the garden I am simply staggered at how much we’ve done (and at how much rubbish now needs to be disposed of). It’s been something of a winter of work this year. And vile weather. Not snow like last year – in fact, we’ve barely had a frost – but mist. Fog. Drizzle. Low cloud. Bleagh:
But it’s been very odd. Drive a few miles up or down the coast, and it’s often been fine. Some things are just not fair.
Anyway, weather or no weather, the Rosa rugosa hedges have been cleared out (couch grass, agh, see what we have to put up with):
And then they were pruned by the fine old expedient of taking the tops off with a hedge trimmer. A few years ago there was an RHS trial on pruning rose hedges, and the hedge trimmer gave the best result – miles ahead of being careful and doing it ‘properly’. I’m glad to have justification, because there had been some muttering when I first did this. Not from me, nor from anybody who had any involvement with flipping Rosa rugosa hedges, mind.
Slash and burn, it’s the only way. And then tea.
There’s only one small bijou problemette with all this activity – and the huge eschallonia by the bottom gate has been brutally attacked as well, plus one of the overgrown hedges – and that’s the debris.
The bonfire pile is now much taller than I am, and it is truly enormous. But there’s another small problem with having a bonfire right now: the meadow is really getting going. The bonfire patch sits in the middle of primroses, daffodils, anemones. So it was time to find the incinerator.
You will note the slight discrepancy between the size of the incinerator – a perfectly standard size, not a dwarf one, honest – and the giant heap in the background which needs burning. And then there were all the clippings from the rose hedges too. But I never give up; I am still the person who, when given a doll you could dress and undress at the age of two, tried for the whole of Christmas Day to get her clothes off and back on again without help. Apparently I growled during this process.
I growled during this one, too. You may just be able to spot a slight weakness in my plans, and in the incinerator:
it’s like something out of a cartoon…
So let me drag myself away from the unedifying top garden and the Great Heap of Doom (only some of it is rooting, after all). We’ve been busy elsewhere too.
The new bed is gradually filling up, mostly with things I’ve decided to move from elsewhere. The brown collection of sticks just off centre is a fuchsia, a magellanica alba, but the one with the variegated foliage. It was badly cut back by the snow last year but I let it grow on to see if it would recover. It did, though there was a lot of dead wood – so I cut this out (it fought back, resulting in a huge plaster on one hand) – and seized the chance to move it as well. Also in here are a couple of tiarellas, some primroses, three clumps of garlic chives that seem to have disappeared but which will be back, a silver posie thyme (in the foreground), a white parahebe, an Echinops ritro, some Anthericum, an Adenophora… and then it’s going to be padded out with some stuff from seed. The overall colour theme is white with blue, lavender, purple and definite pinks. No baby pinks – I’d better tell the tiarellas.
While it was so grey and gloomy, I spread out the seeds:
I don’t think that’s excessive. The broad beans are already in, of course. And I have a new toy, anyway.
I can’t quite believe that I’ve got this far in my gardening life without a heated propagator. I think that’s probably because my last place had a small lean-to Victorian conservatory, which made quite a good substitute, or maybe I was just being mean. Anyway, I’ve got it now and in here are the tomatoes – Cuor di Bue, Princese Borgehese and Black Russians. They’ve just been joined by cerinthes, and some pennisetums which are going into the greenhouse soon. Another windowsill is full of spuds, and that leaves three more to fill up.
I’ve begun chucking stuff out of the greenhouse to harden off before planting out,
and I’m amazed by the colours of this Melianthus major. I know it will lose that lovely red, but for the moment I’m just enjoying it. And, despite the gloomth, there are plenty of other things to enjoy. Admittedly they’ll be even better in a few weeks, but hey:
(I have to leave the sign in, otherwise I lose track of where they are. It can come out now.)
And then the sun comes out – albeit briefly – and the whole garden lights up, especially the meadow. Happy St David’s Day / Gwyl Dewi Sant hapus!
(No, I will not be wearing a stovepipe hat, wrap-round shawl and big skirt to work tomorrow. Nor will I, as Wikipedia assures me I will, be eating an especially prepared bowl of cawl. Or pinning a leek in my hat – how is that even possible?)