With the witch hazels almost all in flower, the snowdrops coming along and the hellebores preparing for their unbeatable display, the garden definitely feels as if it is ready and waiting for whatever the season will throw at it – yesterday, or Thursday night to be exact, it was snow. Only half an inch of it, and rain this morning washed it all away, and although we have had a share of the bitter Polar air it is only a very small share as other parts of the UK and even 5-10 miles from us have had much more. The pictures above show the view from the back of the house, today and yesterday. Not a lot of activity here, but the violas in the pots in the foreground are still in their pots, thanks to the mesh covering them, and there are tulips pushing through the soil in the biggest of the square pots.
To the right of this paved area is the stream and adjacent grass and the new shrub border which I am beginning to enjoy already, with those structural grasses and the relocated cornus adding a splash of winter colour. There is no sign of any crocus emerging in the grass yet, nor flowers on the new Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’, but both will surprise me one day, I am sure. The stream, you may be pleased to hear, has been running successfully without needing to be topped up since October and the end of the long dry spell, suggesting that it was largely an evaporation problem (once possible leakages were comprehensively attended to, that is). It is such a lovely feature so this is a big relief!
The bluebells are all pushing their way up in the woodland, reminding me that I intended to split them last year, but there is no sign of the wood anemones yet. I was surprised at the number of twigs underfoot when I rambling through it today, blown from the trees in recent gusts –
I nearly forgot to take a picture from ‘Bill’s chimney’, the viewing point of the bothy, and had to go back – I am really looking forward to this view once the main borders are at their peak, particularly if I can improve on the flowering performance. Two pots of spent annuals that were waiting to be emptied are glaring at me in this photo (and the next)!
I haven’t added compost to these borders yet or forked them through as the chilly weather is no incentive to get on with it although I did made a start on some of the others this week. I keep looking at the penstemon and erysimum here and wondering how severely to cut them back – too late for the erysimum probably.
The woodland edge borders are picking up now with the onset of snowdrops and hellebores, but everyone’s favourite persicaria, Red Dragon, is still resting and deservedly so – photo on the left from almost the same spot as the last two and on the right from the opposite direction:
The left and right bold borders had a bit of an overhaul during the week and compost forked in, with some of the geums relocated in the beds and crocosmia taken in hand. Reading the newest Gardeners World magazine I now learn that the latter should be thinned every two years to maintain good flowering, so despite what I have done already I will dig up the complete clumps, separate the corms and thin them out even more. They barely flowered this year, partially through lack of water but also perhaps because they haven’t been thinned out.
The newest part of the bold borders, in the foreground of the right picture is home to some autumn sown centaurea and some antirhinum and cleome seedlings that didn’t flower last year – in addition to various bulbs, mostly tulip and allium. The progress of the allium is clearly visible in this snowy picture of one of the cutting beds:
The rose garden is empty of blooms but the roses are all pruned and both sides of the ‘bus shelter’ have been prepared for a mulch of slate chippings, to keep down the appearance of a pesky unidentified weed:
Down towards the house again and the species snowdrop border, where Chloris has put two and two together and correctly surmised that the bricks are to build a raised bed for the preciouses. Having been able to admire the ones in the greenhouse recently without having to stoop low, a chance thought that came when looking at the border from the kitchen window inspired me to improve their position – and hence the bricks. Initially I shall build 3 courses but possibly increase it to 4 – the bed already slopes towards the front but a fourth course would need a row of bricks at the back as well. I am sure the snowdrops will appreciate it too – but they will have to wait as it’s too cold to lay bricks just now…
Helen the Patient Gardener hosts this End of Month meme, where garden bloggers can share changing views of their garden or part of their garden – helpful for us too, to keep a record this way. Do check out Helen’s blog to see other people’s gardens – and don’t forget there is a map to help you find your way round my garden and establish where the photographs were taken.