Happy Days!

Although a day does not go past when I am not pursuing at least some loosely based plant or garden activity, on top of least one obligatory ramble in the garden of course (and not always possible when away from home although every opportunity to do so is taken), this last week has seen several hours of physical activity in the garden every single day, taking advantage of gaps in a generally rainy week – and what happy days they have been! The mornings and evenings are now noticeably lighter and, to top it all, yesterday our solar panel monitor recorded the sunniest day of the year so far, by quite a large margin.

So what have I been doing? Continuing on from my equally industrious day last Sunday, all but a few of the autumn sown plants I removed from the greenhouse have now been planted out. Looking at the forecast for this week and next and working intuitively, I judged that they would be settled in enough before any later frosts and could cope just as well outside than in the barely frost free greenhouse. Oriental poppy, perennial wallflower, foxglove, Californian poppy, lychnis and cerinthe have been planted out, just leaving dianthus and Sweet William waiting on the sidelines, freeing up considerable space in the greenhouses and filling some gaps in the borders.

At the side of the house, on the way to the chickens, the pots of herbs that 2 or 3 years ago had been in set into the bed there have, almost on a whim, been lifted out and placed against the fence where they are looking quite presentable but will look better when the soil still clinging to their sides have been washed off. They have been joined by a large chimney pot and cowl which had been elsewhere in the garden.

img_8946Lattice pots empty of snowdrops have systematically been removed from the special snowdrop border, the decision having been made to remove the non-showers from my list and not to try and replace those lost – particularly as some (Jaquennata, Chedworth and Ketton for example) have been replaced more than once. Existing snowdrops which have not yet formed a healthy clump have been repotted from the lattice pots into Avon Bulbs’ tall snowdrop pots and replaced in the bed and, following recent advice from Avon Bulbs to sink potted snowdrops into the ground, my new acquisitions have been also been planted this way. Established clumps will be taken out of their lattice pots in due course and planted directly in the bed.

img_8949The hellebores in this bed (only white or green varieties) always grow taller than those in the woodland edge border, and yet they have got a tall holly hedge at their backs. Don’t you just love this ‘Harvington Double Lime’?

img_8950Still thinking about snowdrops, I have continued to divide the larger clumps of common snowdrops in the woodland edge border, where they really do give the appearance of an almost-wall-to-wall white and green carpet:

img_8952Now free of my 2016 plant purchase embargo, I received my order of heuchera from Plantagogo last week to top up the bronze heuchera bed under the Acer griseum, but a larger order from Claire Austin has not yet arrived but will keep me busy this coming week.

img_8951Months of indecision about underplanting in the rose garden had finally been resolved, and divisions of my Uncinia rubra were planted this week under the ‘Blush Noisette’ around the edges, covered by a membrane and then slate chippings. Dividing the Uncinia, even with a sharp knife, was not an easy task (well, I suppose it wasn’t the sharpest kitchen knife)! The two larger central beds will be planted with Hakonechloa aureola, due with my dahlia order from Peter Nyssen


On the wetter days seed sowing has continued apace with, as a quick totting up has informed me, 94 individual indoor sowings having been made since the end of August last year, only a handful being second sowings. More perennials have been included since previously, partly with a view to sales at my open garden and partly with the help of gifts of saved seeds from fellow bloggers. I am not yet 100% confident with saving seeds myself, collecting only from cosmos, my Purple Pimpernel sweet pea, echinops and some specific aquilegia last year, oh and at the suggestion of Chloris, from a dahlia, to see what might be produced. If I had realised seed of Antirrhinum ‘Twinny White’ would not be available for love nor money this season I would have certainly tried to save seed from them – but some plants have overwintered so I might get a second chance although, on reflection, I believe they were F1 hybrids so would not therefore come true to the original…hey ho!

Rambling in and around the garden are happy days indeed.


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20 Responses to Happy Days!

  1. I can’t get over all the green in your garden. It is looking so promising. You wear me out just reading all that you are doing in the garden now. WOW… Much more than a ramble.

  2. carolee says:

    Be interesting to see what your “specific” aquilegia is. Aquilegia are notoriously promiscuous, and unless you have only one variety within insects’ flight distance they will cross, and cross, and cross. Can’t wait to see photos of your garden’s progression this season.

  3. Chloris says:

    Oh my goodness, what a busy bee you are. What bliss it is indeed to get into the garden at last, even if we have to duck and dive with wind and rain. I am using quite a bit of membrane this year as I am fed with dealing with pernicious weeds such as ground elder.
    Spring flowers are coming out thick and fast aren’ t they? The daily garden ramble is a joy at this time of the year.

    • Cathy says:

      Even more of a joy, in fact! I am not especially happy with the membrane I bought this year (from Wilko) as it is a ‘woven’ one, but plastic, so where you cut t you have strips of black plastic floating around. They used to have a non-woven one which I will look out for elsewhere for other areas

  4. Anna says:

    It sounds as if you’re having fun Cathy 🙂 That lime green hellebore is rather choice. Sadly it persisted down here all day but I had a good session outside yesterday. Email on its way to you soon but if I just say ‘Benton Magnet’ for now I hope that you will get my drift.

  5. Linda B. says:

    I’m with Lisa and am oohing and aahing at all your green — and she has lots more than I do. But some warmer temps this week may help. Your snowdrops look fabulous and may help me to remember to divide mine and spread them around. They are currently in big clumps and I don’t think they are really happy.

    • Cathy says:

      I tend to take a trowel up the garden with me and split a clump or two every time I pass – it only takes minutes and in the milder damo weather we have been having they settle in again immediately. I never wait till they have finished flowering

  6. rusty duck says:

    You have been busy! Harvington Double Lime is indeed gorgeous and makes it on to ‘the list’.

  7. Brian Skeys says:

    Working in the garden and then standing back to look at your achievements is a ‘happy’ day for the gardener Cathy. With good weather we can have a few more.

    • Cathy says:

      They are getting better all the time Brian – another sunny(ish) day today, but I was busy inside unpacking my Claire Austin order, labelling and making sure I knew where I was going to put them, mu job for tomorrow! Hope you are having many happy days in your garden too 🙂

  8. Alison C says:

    And you thought I had a lot of seeds! It’s managing all the sowings which is important, isn’t it? So far I’m on top of it. I save many seeds, some grow some don’t but there is nothing lost. The only important thing is to dry them well. You sound very organised with a clear plan of what you are doing, it’s so good to get going again. Why did you impose the plant embargo? You must be enjoyng the parcels arriving.

    • Cathy says:

      For the last 3 years I have kept a record of what I have sown and when, how long they take to germinate, when I prick them out/pot them on/plant them out and when they flower. It has proved really useful and I have so enjoyed the magic of growing from seed. I had my 12 months ‘off’ buying plants to teach me some discipline and reduce impulse buying – it was just too easy to buy plants (particularly special offers such as from Hayloft) without knowing where I was going to put them. I knew that for me it wouldn’t be a problem to stick to it as it was a definite target – and although there may have been a couple of regrets about missing certain opportunities I found it quite easy. But in 2017, with specific gaps I want to fill, I have been able to order plants to fill some of them – but ordered sensibly!

      • Alison C says:

        I wish I was that organised, I can see it would be very useful. So far I have kept sowing dates but that usually fizzles out as I get busier. Ah, I understand about the ‘time off’. It is very easy to spend and spend. Having moved here in 2015, I have enjoyed having space to fill and a budget, which I never had in my early gardening days. Now If I don’t know where to put something I create a new bed! It could easliy get out of hand though and a plan is good.

        • Cathy says:

          Keeping records is a really worthwhile habit to get into – even if the info is just pencilled in as mine is on a day to day basis until I have a blitz and add them on the computer (or not, as might happen later in the season)

  9. Christina says:

    Happy days indeed. I’m not sure if I mentioned that your saved seed of the Echinops germinated and I have some lovely little plants growing on. I didn’t save seed of my blue one last year but decided I would like more plants of those too so used seed from the previous year – very poor germination rate (seeds sown soon after collection germinated 100%). It just shows how important fresh seed is.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh that’s good, I am so pleased – and yes, I have found that with fresh seeds. My Purple Pimpernel sweet peas (which I have saved for the last 3 years I think) are a good example of this as their germination rate is brilliant. I have bought some seeds from Plants of Distinction this year and I have to say that germination of their seeds is poor compared to those smaller companies I buy from through eBay – they are more expensive too, but also gave conflicting sowing advice which is not at all helpful

  10. dunelight says:

    I must try Hellbores..

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