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My Garden, March 2002

So far, so good. I have actually had a bit more time for the garden - working, as usual, from the house end.

Unfortunately the weather is not being cooperative: when I am working I can see the sun through the window, but then it pours with rain when I have some spare time! However, the garden needed it - some was already getting too dry and the pots needed watering.

The first day of Spring was clear and dry and I managed to get half way down the garden - the top part, that is.

I have pruned the holly tree, which was overhanging the patio, so it is now light and airy. I can actually sit on the seat and view the clearer, nearer bits of the garden - and contemplate attacking the jungle further down.

The wooden tub was formerly a "tranquil water feature" under the bamboos. Unfortunately all it did was collect leaves and when I covered it with wire mesh this just encouraged the ivy to grow over the top.... so I removed it from the bed, tipped out the water (no sign of the miniature water lily) and planted it up instead.

In the foreground is part of the crazy paving, with Convallaria growing through the cracks and getting ready to flower soon.

wall bed and raised bedThe other side of the crazy paving is clean and tidy too, although Saxifraga stolonifera is trying to take over in places.

The wall bed is looking very sparse because I removed a lot of mature ivy from the wall so that the Clematis were visible.

The rather dead-looking thing in the pot, centre rear, is Fuchsia magellanica alba which was getting far too big and had to be pruned right back. It is already sprouting well.

The raised bed is also weeded, Muehlenbeckia complexa had a very severe haircut and the whole lot was tidied up. Muscari tubergenianum and Narcissus bulbocodium conspicuus are flowering well.

The path area in front of the raised bed is not so tidy. It will need hand-weeding because Viola odorata alba, Cyclamen hederifolium and Primula vulgaris grow here, self-seeded and I am reluctant to use weed-killer and remove them as well.

raised bed
bed 5I have removed a whole year's growth of weeds from Bed 5, together with dead foliage etc and, I'm pleased to say, most of the plants are still alive and well. I'm waiting to see if those that should appear later in the year will do so.

I had to prune Cercis siliquastrum (on the left) because it was stretching branches across the path, too low to duck underneath.

(You can see the weedy path in the foreground)

Leucojum aestivum "Graveteye Giant" is doing very well - the potful planted eleven years ago has produced a beautiful clump which flowers for up to two months.

The clumps of Erythronium "Pagoda" are about to flower.

Viburnum fragrans "nanum" (right) is also growing well and, at 3 feet tall, should be full-grown, but Betula "Trost's dwarf" died over the Winter - both the one in this bed and the one in a pot.

bed 5
bed 4I have weeded and tidied Bed 4, stood the rustic obelisk up again and pruned Clematis viticella "alba luxurians" which was smothering everything as usual.

The original two Helleborus orientalis have covered their corner of the bed with seedlings, but as one has turned out to be rather a nice strong pink I am reluctant to weed out too many in case I destroy something really nice.

Further down Bed 5, Primula vulgaris grows like a weed. Most are pale yellow, creamy or white, with a few pink, plus Primula crosses in stronger yellow and almost purple.

Through them the various Irises, Hemerocallis and Digitalis are sprouting well, as are the self-seeded Bluebells.

bed 4
tufa bedThe small raised tufa bed is also tidy but fairly boring at present. I am waiting for Oxalis obtusa to produce its salmon-pink flowers before disappearing for the rest of the year.

Behind the bed, the Wistaria is still bare - it usually produces large flower buds just in time to get caught by one of the last frosts of the year!

To the left of the bed, Cordyline australis and Phormium cookianum "tricolor" are growing well, but I lost Cordyline australis "Red Star" this Winter. (I'm not very upset about it - I didn't find it very attractive when it grew up)

... and here is the present dividing line between garden and wilderness.

To the left is Bed 4, tidy and weeded, with yet another Helleborus orientalis, Viburnum plicatum "Snowflake" and, far left, assorted Californian irises.

Then there is the path which, until today, was totally covered in Vinca with the occasional bramble just to try to trick me.

... to the right is Bed 3...

beds 3 and 4
bed 3... and here it is, seen from the opposite direction. The Vinca has taken over this half of the bed, almost burying Rhododendron yakushimanum "Silver Sixpence", but the daffodils seem happy growing through it. I'm hoping to find other things in there as well.
Cotinus coggygria "Flame", bare at present but with healthy buds, is not bothered by the Vinca to its left or by the brambles to the right (below). Luckily, at this time of year, the brambles do not smother completely and I can see smaller things growing beneath them.

This is the bed I have to tackle next - below right is a close-up of the prickly problem where the brambles grow through the lower branches of the Cotinus.

bed 3
bed 3bed 3
jungleThis is as near as I can get to the rest of the garden. Magnolia x soulangeana and a small Prunus (seedling from one I was given as "dwarf white") are visible in the foreground and Clematis armandii in the background, but in between.....

In the background behind the Magnolia, looking suspiciously brown, is Eucryphia x nymansensis; a closer view through the binoculars was just as depressing, so I think I will find it is dead when I eventually fight my way through the brambles. However, Magnolia stellata is flowering happily in the distance so it is not all doom down there.

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