Our neighbour on the hedge side, who died two or three years ago, had a habit of using random items to fill gaps in the hedge in a bid to stop his dog getting out – he was particularly fond of using broken asbestos roofing sheets, but over the years we have subtly also removed a gate, fridge shelves and other assorted rubbish, replacing them where necessary with more attractive barriers. This bin, however, appeared when we thinned the hedge and created a second path through the woodland (‘the path less travelled’), and had clearly been there for a long time, probably longer than we had.
The base of the heavy duty wire mesh was buried in years of leaf litter and tangled holly and ivy, so there was no way of lifting it to access the bin, and I originally planned to disguise it by placing some as yet unidentified ‘art work’ in front of it. After walking past it every day over the few months since the path was created, on the spur of the moment I decided today to arrange a jail break instead; armed with wire cutters I cut through the minimum number of strands required and quickly guided the bin to freedom. I don’t think there will be a search party…
Also breaking free but this time from the confines of our fridge was the last of my bargain Aldi hippeastrum (amaryllis). I try to stagger the planting times of them, keeping the later ones in the fridge until planting time, but have managed not to record planting dates this time round. This one was more than ready to be planted, but hopefully it will soon realise that the only way is up; I will keep it inside till the flower stem appears and then move it to the Coop to prolong the flowering period.
Also breaking through but already in the Coop are pots of early narcissi, planted in mid October:
Also hyacinths and Iris reticulata:
The hyacinths spent more than a couple of months inside in the dark and sadly not all the spikes are showing flower buds yet, always a potential issue when forcing more than one hyacinth in a pot.
In the Coop corner it was finally time to trim the leaves from Hellebores ‘Double Aubergine’ and ‘Winter Moonbeam’; unlike all my other hellebores whose tatty leaves were cut off before Christmas, these both still sport copious amounts of healthy and unsullied foliage, covering close on a square metre each. No other hellebore has produced foliage like this and I have been reluctant to trim them because they make such attractive clumps, but to see the blooms it was a job that had to be done:
Underneath the shelter of their foliage, the blooms are probably more advanced than all the other hellebores, so it makes up for losing their leafy blankets. The reason for Winter Moonbeam’s impending floriferousness is largely due to the way the buds develop in profusion along the stem, a trait possibly unique to these H ericsmithii hybrids; I have read, however, that they can be shortlived, which would a shame, but time will tell.
Finally, for the sixth of my Six on Saturday contribution to Jon the Propagator’s weekly meme, some facts about my witch hazel Hamamelis ‘Jelena’, which has been absolutely glorious this year:
I have asked if it has been more floriferous than before and yes, here it was in January 2020:
And how long ago was it planted? More recently than I thought, and recent enough to be recorded in this blog – March 2013, planted as a replacement for an earlier one which was not happy in its allocated spot…not much more than a twig. Incidentally, H ‘Diane’, another stick in the bottom left corner, is perhaps now barely half the size of Jelena, although as a general rule most of my witch hazels which began their life as ‘nobbut a stick’ seem to put on a growth spurt after about 5 years, presumably having decided they are happy and going to stick around for a while. Whatever their size, they are joy to have in the garden and as well as winter blooms tend to offer a fiery autumn display too.