The woodland was planted in 2000 and a batch of probably 100 wood anemones were planted soon after – I might have said wood anemones, but in truth they were more like a small pile of broken twigs, for that is what the rhizomes are like. They spread by extending these rhizomes just below the surface, popping up wherever they choose, their tightly furled foliage appearing almost overnight and quickly unfolding to reveal promising flower buds, the first of which are about to open as you can see from the above photo. It probably took two or three years for them to settle down but they have not stopped since, expanding their territory to clothe the whole length of the woodland on one side of the path, with minimal assistance from the gardener. Like my common snowdrops, I can afford to be generous and share rhizomes with friends.
They may not be quite as accommodating as wood anemones, but snakeshead fritillaries seem to be equally at home in the woodland, and may well be starting to seed around too, as I know they can do when they are happy. For the last few years I have included an additional pack of 25 of them in my Peter Nyssen order, topped up with any bargain basement packs from my local garden centre at the end of the season. This conscious effort to increase their number seems to be paying off, as there are now a number of small clumps throughout the carpet of wood anemones. I gave up trying to establish separate groupings of pink and white, just planting them as they come.
Flowing bulbs are not the only thing that keeps on coming, and this week has seen a flurry of lightbulb moments which, like buses, you don’t have for ages and then suddenly they all come at once, triggering some changes in the garden. I hesitate to call them projects because two were relatively quickly carried out and the third is still on trial, but they will all make an impact and the first two involved minor construction, so let’s call them ‘minor projects’!
As we are still in the woodland admiring the expanding numbers of wood anemones and fritillaries, let’s continue there with the third minor project, which is on trial. Following the recent post summarising my snowdrop year, I exchanged a number of comments with Pauline of Lead up the Garden Path, discussing the conditions our named snowdrops were growing in. Hers are planted in her woodland where they have built up sizeable clumps – and she has suffered only a handful of losses over 30 years, unlike many other galanthophiles in our blogging community. Although the bulk of mine do fairly well, I do lose a few of my newer less-established varieties each year, and this year my losses were particularly severe.
I have no such issue with my commons, which are planted in the woodland edge, and I found myself wondering if there might be some merit in moving my specials to the woodland, where they would still be separate from their common cousins, and where they could share the same conditions as the anemones, fritillaries, bluebells and wild garlic, and enjoy their summer dormancy under the canopy of the trees instead of the open border they are currently in. Certainly food for thought, but with a downside of no longer being able to enjoy them from the kitchen windows, and there was no way I would suddenly move them all wholesale to the woodland anyway. Instead, I have taken ‘spares’ of half a dozen varieties and replanted them in the woodland to monitor their progress over the year before I come to decision.
The other two ideas that popped into my head concerned areas of the hedge down by the house. As the garden on the other side of the hedge is at a higher level than ours towards the front end, some form of embankment is needed. This was very much an ad hoc arrangement when we first bought the property, but now most of it is supported by a brick wall or with large pieces of stone that were originally in the hedge. The section just outside the back door is mostly the latter, but gaps between the stones resulted in a persistent pile of soil at the base, particularly when the weather was dry. The hedge has been severely cut back this year and is currently not a pretty sight, exacerbated by the random selection of artefacts used by our now deceased neighbour to plug any small dog-sized gaps.
Last weekend, on a whim, I decided to tackle the leaking soil issue once and for all, and rejecting the option of utilising all the irregularly shaped stones in favour of a more comprehensive barrier, elected to extend the brick wall instead – and not just because of my love of bricklaying, I hasten to add! A quick visit to our friendly reclamation yard was made on Monday morning to purchase a few bricks and the job was complete by the end of the afternoon. Ferns, primroses and potentially other woodland edge plants will be added to the lower section, with perhaps comfrey added to the poorer soil at the base of the hedge itself, and possibly a small section of fence to screen the worst of the centre of the hedge.
Whilst working on this, my thoughts turned to the area a little further on, which I had painstakingly cleared and replanted eight years ago but which never really worked, plants failing to thrive because of the continued presence of the hedge and its desire to encroach on the rest of the garden. The front of the area, separated by a line of bricks, was planted with white Anemone blanda and performs tolerably for part of the year. A helpful lightbulb was switched on, reminding me of our solution to a similar issue by the blue & white borders where a strip of garden was severely affected by ground elder coming from a neighbouring garden. A trip to the builders’ merchant and the purchase of a few block paviors saw the Golfer (a whizz at laying level blocks and slabs) pave over the back of this second section in a few hours, another job well done. The raised bricks at the back will prevent soil falling onto the area, which will probably house two or three big pots in due course.
Finally, the sixth thing that keeps on coming and as such is a mixed blessing, is the quantity of seedlings in the working greenhouse. As more and more seedlings are pricked out, the greenhouse is filling up rapidly and space will soon be at an absolute premium. Nothing has yet been potted on, so planting out is still a long way off…hey ho, I suppose it will sort itself out somehow, as it always does…
To view more Saturday Sixes, please visit the meme’s host Jon the Propagator.