The vaguely green-fingered thoughts of a rambling rose.

March winds....

...and April showers bring forth May flowers.

Of course May seems so far away when the chilly winds of March are blowing off hats and turning umbrellas inside out. 

March is known as daffodil month, but despite being my favourite flower I don't have all that many.  When I was small, my gran had a garden filled with naturalised daffodils that filled the whole area with sunshine on even the most drab days.  

It's about time I did something about increasing my own daffodils.  Of course autumn is the time to plant spring flowering bulbs, but if you're canny at this time of year you can cheat.  As the bulbs are going over the stores are discounting them.   For the price of one pot of daffodils, I managed to get 5 pots, each containing around 5 bulbs.

Other than a bowl of n. Minnow, All of these daffodils are the standard height.  I generally prefer the dwarf narcissus, but to get the pool effects I'm after, I shall need some of the taller varieties at the back of the border.  They are also paler colours with contrasting trumpets.

Above N. Rip van Winkle in the long border. 

This little pot crammed with spring colour and scent was hiding out behind the wall of the terrace.  Now it's in full fettle, I have brought it up onto the terrace to shine.

It's too windy to appreciate the scents on the terrace at the moment, but the hyacinths are opening...

...along with the clematis Armandii (which now it's flowered I realise lacks the baby pink hue of "apple blossom". Nevertheless it still smells of almonds.

The primulae are flowering their hearts out all around the garden.  We have blues in Bumblebee's pot

Lemon in the long border, 

White, pink and cream in the Pink Garden.   There are also a food few apricot shades in the front garden.   Once flowered, many of them will be divided this year.

In the Pink Garden the hellebores are still going strong and the Bergenia is also in bloom.

Today is glorious sunshine, but that wind is sharp.  Having just spent 5 or 10 minutes outside with my camera, my ears are so cold they feel brittle. 

Mother's Day weekend approaches and with it some dryer, milder conditions.  Time for another Ramble methinks! 

Feathered Friend

Look at this handsome chap.  A reminder of just how close to the countryside we live.  We're not sure how long he'd been in the garden before we spotted him, but he had a good look around, affording us ample opportunity to snap some shots before taking off on what is presumably his search for a partner. 

March on

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.
Charles Dickens. 

The first opportunity to really venture out in the garden with purpose was Saturday 11th.  Most of the week has been fine and dry with increasing temperatures, but of course the garden has to take a ticket and wait in line when you're stuck in an office all week.

There were a few errands that required attention before we could actually tackle our outside space,  but happily one of those errands involved visiting one or two garden centres.  The first garden centre (after enjoying lunch in its cafĂ© of course) revealed a new delivery of a hebe I have been after, along with a couple of pots of pinks.  The second we almost came away empty-handed (unheard of) but for the fact Bumblebee spotted something I would find useful for Mother's Day which here in the UK is the last Sunday of the month. 

So to the tasks of the weekend, most of which were completed on Saturday since the weather forecast didn't look at all promising for Sunday. 

TMTC planted hebe Rhubarb and Custard opposite it's twin in the front garden.  These and the matching Osmanthus burkii form the pivot of the mirror-flipped design I've chosen to create.

Meanwhile I pruned and tied in r. Maigold along with the two clematis either side (c. Warsaw Nike and c. Niobe).  It then took quite some time to tackle the hydrangea.  I've thinned it out a little again this year, cutting back harder on some of the oldest stems. I'll continue in this manner next year too as it will still ensure a decent display of flowers later in the year.  It was difficult to reach some of the dead flowers, but now they've all been removed the plant looks tidier.  There are plenty of fat leaf buds opening so it'll bush out very nicely in a few weeks. 

"Black Jack" seems impressed.

TMTC and Bumblebee busied themselves with the brazier and the waste that couldn't be composted whilst I turned my attention to the pruning of the roses in the back garden: r. New Dawn and r. Mum in a Million. New Dawn was cut back quite hard to a strong frame this year as it covers the width of both the Pink Garden and the Yen Garden. It looks quite bare at the moment,  but I generally prune my roses in March before the new growth really kicks in.

Clematis Armandii apple blossom beside the terrace seat has survived the move.  It's been tied in and the small flower buds are forming.  It doesn't have many, but they will smell amazing. Now it seems happy it will stay here, so hopefully next year it will perform even better with many more flowers.

Another clematis, this is I believe is alpine Blue Dancer.  Last year I cut her back hard to endeavour to restrict her to just one or two fence panels, at the expense of flowers. This year I expect her to shine in April-May. 

In the beds either side of the patio arch, I'm beginning to create mirrored beds.  The Japanese anemone has become a thug and so had been removed last year.  More has grown and TMTC has again removed what he can.  He dug up the strappy green leaved plant which his mum gave to us, and split it in two.  He replanted one clump at this edge and the other half planted beside the Weigela on the opposite bed.  The plan is to pop another Weigela at this side when a suitable candidate is found.

He then planted the pots of pinks in both beds.  We'll keep a close eye on this area to see if any further anemone pops up before we plant anything else. It would be harder to eradicate it once the other plants go in.

Dicentra Spectabilis is apparently now called Lamprocapnos Spectabilis.  In any event, the pink variety needed division this year.  It had happily divided itself and so one of the clumps was lifted, split and replanted in the Pink Garden.

And the original clump lives on in the long border, in semi shade.

Buds are breaking all along the Wisteria on the Yen arch. 

There are still a few jobs to do during March.  The firey stems of cornus are to be cut back hard, the ferns in the long border need splitting, along with the astrantias.

A little teaser

Back in the summer I was sitting in the newly created Yen Garden watching a bird drink from the pond-in-a-pot, being driven insane by the aphids dropping from a neighbour's lime tree (who refused our offer of paying for it to be tidied up).  A tiny idea began to form in my noggin.

I initially played with some ideas from the net and put pen to paper (any of my readers who has had a look at my Musings and Scribbles page may have seen this over the last few months).  TMTC created a 3D model from paper.  At the end of last year a CAD was commissioned and the materials sourced and purchased. 

I can now update this process as the hard graft has commenced. 

Lengths being cut to size.

Part of my design from which the creation surrounds.   This is 90cm in diameter. 

Watch this space....

February chill

While we were in Cambodia, the UK apparently enjoyed a heat wave and Storm Doris. 

On our return I was itching to get outside to look for any changes; I was not disappointed. 

All the snowdrops are flowering. I'm embarrassed to admit I do not recall any of the variety names, nor those of my earliest narcissi below.

There are plenty of hellebores still in flower, even those which were divided last month!

Despite it being so cold this week (2-7c average), so much colour is appearing in the garden.

And there are hints of what is to come:

Sambuccus nigra 




Rosettes of sedum

Yet more tulips.

And a clump of white astrantia.  These need splitting along with the neighbouring pink clump next month.

I won a dibber that arrived the day we flew out so was unable to share the photo until now.  I had it personalised for my lovely husband.