Apart from a couple of hours at a steam event literally just down the road from us I have spent virtually all my ‘free’ time recently working on the garden. This still doesn’t amount to very many hours and for the first time I have felt the slightest hint of pressure on myself to have everything ready for our openings which are only 5-6 weeks away. This probably stems from the delay caused by the weather, the late cold spell slowing down seedling growth and then hot dry days preventing their being planted out once they were ready. The move finally began on Friday afternoon and the cutting beds quickly filled up, with seedlings destined for the borders still waiting their turn:
I find myself reluctant to take this next step as I can easily keep an eye on those in the cutting beds but in the borders they are often overshadowed by the existing herbaceous plants and neglected or munched by molluscs. Not surprisingly, the borders are full of lush growth and despite what first appears to have been a late spring the herbaceous plants seem to have adhered to their usual calendars. Already there are some pleasing combinations apparent, such as these alliums and astrantia:
The rhododendrons are in full swing in the woodland edge border, not everyone’s cup of tea, I know, but you can’t beat them for their floriferousness at this time of year. Between them, I can’t help but marvel at the fresh growth on the epimediums, all the more attractive because for the first time ever I cut out the old foliage and was rewarded also by seeing their blooms which are normally hidden. You can just catch a glimpse of Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’ in the top right hand corner of the picture on the right.
The wisteria on the gable of the house does seem to have affected by the cold winds in March after all, but strangely only on the lower stems which appear to be devoid of flower buds; the highest stems, however, look set to be in full flower as usual in a couple of weeks. Rambling Rector, which would also have taken the full force of the winds seems unaffected and is once again covered in buds so will be in flower before the end of the month and sadly over before our visitors arrive in late June. The lilac and laburnum that you can see are in our neighbour’s garden.
From bare pots a month or so again, spikes of hosta have quickly developed into lovely leafy clumps, so far free of slug damage; if only this were to remain the case!
I am pleased to be able to show off this early delphinium, grown from seed sown last July; I know it has a severe kink, but I can overlook this deformity as it is so pretty!
In the greenhouse (now a good bit emptier!) the ‘Winter Sunshine’ sweet peas are doing well, the best in all the three years I have grown them. I quite like the colour combination of the four varieties I have chosen but it is a shame that Owl’s Acre don’t sell mixed packets as a mixed bunch of sweet peas has its own special appeal.
Today I had a break from planting out and potting on as some fences desperately needed a new coat of paint, not the easiest of tasks when there are plants growing next to them but at least it will give them a few more years of life. More fences still to be tackled tomorrow, but not as awkward as this one was. Like the planting, this was a job delayed by the weather, as it couldn’t be done in the cold or the wet.
So much to do, so little time…but it will get done, I am sure…!