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.
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 café 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.