|With a mild February and March many plants were very forward. For the past few years I left the over-Winter debris to protect the new growth from late frosts, but the plants grew through it so well that much of it never got cleared. This year I decided to risk it and started clearing much earlier. That also meant weeding much earlier because I could see them when I cleared the dead leaves! |
As usual the plants have self seeded into the paths, so that some are actually greener than the beds, but I can't bear to grub out so many primulas and violets.
|In the foreground is an iron pig trough that I bought for the Bogbean (Menyanthes) |
When a friend gave me a couple of stems in a plastic bag I forgot about them for a week or so, then dumped them in water in a red plastic storage box where they grew enthusiastically for a couple of years. This wasn't the most attractive of containers so I transferred the plant to a wooden water tub - where it repaid my kindness by throttling the waterlily and everything else.... hence the pig trough, which it can have all to itself.
|On the raised bed the Muscari tubergenianum have multiplied generously and provide a beautiful contrast to the little Narcissus bulbocodium.|
Unfortunately I lost the 15 year old Polygala calcarea "Lillet" which carried on the deep blue colour for the rest of the year so I've had to buy a replacement.
|Bed 4's colour is provided mainly by primroses and daffodils at this time of year.|
I've cut Clematis viticella alba luxurians right back this year so that I can try to persuade it to grow up its obelisk properly, instead of pulling it over and smothering the irises.
|The Hellebores are flowering well as usual, including a pink and white one in bed 4 |
and a vivid green one in bed 5.
|In bed 3 (left) the Vinca has run wild so I will have to weed most of it out - when I get round to it.|
In the left hand border I've hacked the Buddleia right back, but left the Clematis armandii running rampant over everything, including the trees in the next garden. Unfortunately the bed round the Buddleia is riddled with ground elder (Aegopodium) despite my attempts to dig it out, so I'm going to have to use a weedkiller.
|Now that I have cleared most of the brambles I can get all the way round the Magnolia bed. The larger plants are still there but I haven't weeded yet so I really can't see if the smaller ones are there or not. There is an awful lot of couch grass, so it could be another job for the weedkiller.|
I can actually get to the far end of the garden now - the plants there are OK because the brambles never spread under the Hornbeam. I can also see the rockeries properly for the first time in years - definitely another weedkiller job after I've dug out the clumps of daffodils and bluebells that shouldn't be there anyway.
I am now clearing up the corner where the second Clematis armandii, not content with pulling over a live apple tree in 1993, brought down a large dead tree a few years later. Since then that corner has been a mound of dead tree, ivy, brambles and Clematis with just a touch of Muehlenbeckia axillaris clambering through it.
I've made more trips to the tip than I care to think about (the cat litter and cat food bags come in very handy for brambles - I've been saving them up and they do several trips each before splitting) and I've borrowed a shredder to deal with the bigger stuff. I'm determined to get the garden in better shape this year...... so watch this space.
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