In some places around the world, spring lasts about a week, it is an explosion in nature, the snow melts in record time and suddenly everything is bursting out in green and colours everywhere. In London it is a rather drawn-out affair that lasts about....well, I would say it lasts about 6 months or so, since most years we don’t really get a winter to talk about. Autumn usually ends beginning of December and although it says winter on the calendar, it goes straight into spring mode with spring plants and bulbs emerging from there on. And the official spring starts from 1st March so now I can look back at what kind of ‘winter’ we had: no snow on the ground, and 10 minutes of a few flurries in the air one very late night. That was the snow. As for frost - one frost night in November and one in February where it dipped just barely below freezing in my garden. We might get another frost night next week, but it will probably be another one just barely below freezing, if at all. I realise that London is an exception, just a few miles from here it has been much colder and places like Oxford and Cambridge has had down to minus 7C many times this winter. The day temperature has been lower in February than in December and January, which was unusually mild. It all evens out in the end!
Colder weather doesn’t stop the plants though, they are racing ahead in my garden, isn’t my new rhododendron lovely? This is ‘Bo Peep’ – nope, I didn’t name it, if I had, it wouldn’t have been called ‘Bo Peep’....but I like the flowers!
And now to a confession. I promised not to buy any more plants until I had planted all the plants I already had. I am afraid I didn’t manage to keep that promise, I got sooooo tempted by an offer of plants! I sometimes buy from a nursery that buys up surplus stock and they sell some of it quite cheaply. My main barging was 10 lucky dip roses for £30! (That’s just over 40 US dollars.) Normally one bare-root rose cost from £8-18 depending on where you buy it. Look how they have put all 10 roses into a large pot with compost, instead of just putting them in plastic bags – such a great idea and good help for me, I didn’t have to pot them up the same day they arrived. Great!
And here they are, all 10 of the roses, 5 climbers and 5 shrub roses. One of the climbers, 'Warm Welcome' has already got a new home through plant swapping and I am looking for a new home for 'Alberic Barbier', that’s a too big rose for my garden, with a mature height and width of 7 x 4 meters! But the rest will get to stay for now and the list is absolutely amazing for a lucky dip, just see:
'Madame Alfred Carriere'
I bet any rose lover will nod in recognition to most of these roses, I had several of them on my wish-list and I can’t wait to find a permanent place for them. I am still working on my Wall Bed where most of the roses will go so for now they will have to tough it out in pots.
On a distance my garden looks very much the same as last End of Month View, but I have been working a couple of hours almost every day the last few weeks as the weather has been dry. Mind you, it has been rather cold and I am looking forward to warmer days where I don’t need 3 layers of clothes.
Along this wall is where I am working now, a very slow process of removing the Virginia Creeper from the trellis, without breaking the trellis. I am a rather patient person but my goodness, I can’t sit on my stool and do this for too long, I have to get up and do other things in between as the urge to just pull the whole thing off the wall sometimes gets overwhelming. I am determined to keep the trellis for my roses though, so I guess I just have to keep snipping away until it’s all removed. Patience is a virtue!
The only bed completed, the Lilac Bed is now exploding in spring bulbs – just like I planned when I was working on this back in November.
The crocuses and snowdrops are almost finished flowering and the next set of bulbs has taken over.
Here are 2 of the 3 varieties of Iris reticularis I have, 'J.S. Dyt' and ‘Pixie’.
Some of the last crocuses, with hyacinths and Scilla siberica.
Alstroemeria 'Dandy Candy' is happy and flowering despite the rather chilly weather. I have bought a few more alstroemerias for my sunny bed, more about that next month :-)
The new baby camellia has opened its first flower, and what a flower! It is absolutely huge, much bigger than any other camellia I have had. Just imagine when this tiny baby plant grows to 2m tall and wide, smothered in flowers like this....well, that is a few years till I must admit, since the plant currently is less than 1 ft tall. But small plants grow big eventually!
Do you remember I have talked about a plant swap website I am a member of? Green Plant Swap is a place to meet other growers and for swapping plants. Last weekend I arranged a Meet and Swap Day in my garden for members to come and meet and swap, and I had 17 shrubs available for people to come and get for free! Only small issue was that if they wanted any of those shrubs they would have to dig them up first as they were still in the ground! These were shrubs I had inherited with the garden and did not want, nothing special really, just some ordinary things like buddleja, hydrangea, euonymus, several pyracanthas, several acanthus' and a couple of spireas. But I hoped there would be other people interested in some of them, or else they would all go to composting. On the day I had 4 gardening interested people turning up, 3 of them I had never met before, all of which were possibly just us much a plantaholic as me! And 15 of my shrubs were dug up, most of them divided between my visiting gardeners, the rest went in my compost bin. There is only 2 left to dig up for now so that was a HUGE job done and a big help for me, thank you to all 4 of you! I will be arranging more Meet and Swap days later in the spring.
I had cut down all of the shrubs beforehand so it would save some time, all that was left were lots of stumps sticking out of the ground, like here just in front of my back gate. And we planted my magnolia in one of the planting holes, finally my poor magnolia has got its feet in the ground, I think it will be much happier out of the container it has been living in for all its life.
The area in the corner to the left of the magnolia is planted with Lily of the Valley, which has very shallow roots, and on the right side are some spring bulbs. At the back I have planted a winter flowering jasmine, not sure yet how to support it as it needs something to climb on but....one step at the time. The rest is just containers placed here for now. I am planning to plant a clematis where the pink container to the left in the photo is now, I just haven’t bought the clematis yet. I need one that can tolerate quite a lot of shade so I have thought of getting ‘Pink Fantasy' for this space. But before I buy any more plants I need to plant some more of those I have!
I have made a video of my garden today too, and today’s video is shorter than the usual ones – only 3 minutes - and the music is a bit different too. Have you ever had a piece of music or a melody stuck in your head that you can’t get rid of? Every time your mind is wandering then……BAM! the melody is there again. And the first thing on your mind before you open your eyes in the morning? That same tune! I had a song on my mind like that last week for several days. Finally I got rid of it – for two days, and then I heard it on the radio again last Tuesday and it has been in my head ever since! So I decided that this tune had played so heavily on my mind lately that it could now feature as the song for my End of Month View movie. After having edited my movie this afternoon and evening I know what song I will wake up with tomorrow morning! Anyway, here is February’s movie, with a stuck-on-the-brain-song for you as a freebee :-)
I assume the song don’t need any further presentation, the erratic behaviour of the squirrel might – but I don’t really know why they behave like this, perhaps they are just playful? I have many hours of footage taken of birds and squirrels in my garden, most of it is quite interesting, but I am going to spare you a feature film version of what’s going on in my garden! I am planning a separate movie though with just birds and other critters so some of it might be used at a later stage.
That was it for today, I don’t know where the last 3 months have gone, can’t believe we are in March already! And to all of you that I didn’t manage to visit after my last post, I am so sorry, I don’t know where the time has gone, it’s just flown away for me, I will try my best to visit you all this time! Next post will be Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on the 15th.
Until next time, take care.
Until next time, take care.