My Garden This Weekend – 3rd March 2013


This weekend saw a slight increase in temperature and on Saturday the sun was shining.  There was still a nip in the air so I decided that if I was going to spend some time out side I would need to do a strenuous job to keep myself warm.

As I have intimated before since the New Year I have a whole host of projects set up for the house and garden this year.  This is part of what has been christened ‘Operation Sort it Out’ (you have to say this in an East London accent like Terry from Minder if you know who I mean).  I have said before that the last three and half years I have been in a sort of fog and functioning just enough to get through work etc.  Now that I am learning to accept the loss of my sister better its as though my eyes have been opened and I have new energy to get on top of the garden and house. – there is 3 years of neglect to deal with.  Both the bathroom and dining room have been redecorated, cupboards and a bookcase sorted and clutter removed.  With the weather warming up I can now move my energies to the garden.  First up is sorting out the patio.  Our patio is quite narrow and has my small greenhouse off it.  There have also been two tall cold frames and these have made the patio feel more like a corridor with no real space to sit and enjoy the patio (as you can see below which was taken last September).


I also wanted to get to grips with composting instead of continuing in my usual chaotic manner.  A third wooden bin has been ordered and yesterday I made myself empty out the plastic compost bin by the garage.  This is generally used for kitchen waste with the odd bit of garden rubbish.  I was pleased to discover that over two-thirds of the contents had decomposed into good compost albeit with lots of egg shells in it.  This has been wheel barrowed onto the front garden to improve the soil by the birch.  The old bin has been cleaned and is going to the my Mum’s allotment site so someone else can use it.  Hopefully in a couple of weeks time my eldest will have time to help me level the ground by the two wooden bins and put in the new bin.  I will then have a bank of three bins so no excuses for not doing it properly.


With the plastic bin gome it meant that we could  re-jig the space by the back of the garage and move the two cold frames here.  It is quite compact but I think it will work well and the patio without the frames looks vast and quite bare.


Today, feeling a little weary of all the work yesterday afternoon and recovering from an excessive dinner the night before due to my eldest taking me out for my birthday, I decided that something more gentle was in order.  I potted up all my dahlia tubers.  I have invested in six tubers from Sarah Raven.  This is a bit of a leap of faith for me as my dahlias were rubbish last year due to slug, rain and cold.  However not one to be detered, as part of the changes to the back garden, I am putting in a new border with the intention of using it for dahlias and other late summer plants.  I have chosen the following dahlias which I hope will provide  lots of sumptuous colour: Juliet, Bishop of Auckland, Classic Rosamunda, Sam Hopkins, Jowey  Mirella and Con Amore.  I also have some Castor Oil seedlings coming on in the greenhouse which should add to the effect – I hope.  Some Hymenocallis festalis  were also potted up which I am hoping will add a glorious scent to th greenhouse.

Finally, I started tidying the borders.  I  have been waiting what seems like ages to get into the garden and the list of jobs I want to do has grown and grown to the point where I just didn’t know where to start.  So I started at the top of the steps from the patio, weeding and tidying.  I had already pruned the roses during the week and also dug up the three cornus from the front garden so all in all good progress has been made with the projects – oh and the front grass got its first cut of the year.

While I pottered in the garden I discovered hyacinth beginning to form buds and daffodils flushed with yellow which I think will be in flower within the week.  Spring is definitely creeping up on us.


20 Comments on “My Garden This Weekend – 3rd March 2013

  1. First of all a very happy belated birthday to you Helen. Your patio looks wonderful and exciting, packed full of goodies. It has made me realise I need to get my socks pulled up and start ordering things.

    • Thanks Ronnie – I actually need to stop ordering things!!!!

  2. Making space to sit and enjoy the garden is a very positive thing to do. I furmly believe that we should sit sometimes and just look! Christina

    • Hi Christina
      I am rubbish at sitting in the garden but I think if I have more seats (as opposed to none) I might sit and look more

    • I sit in the garden with my breakfast, we lunch on the verandah, and dinner too. My mind ticks over, I’ve got a little list – but we make progress. And it looks so different after a few hours work.
      Do get a nice bench to put under those trees and look across your newly loved garden.

    • Hi Jason
      I am not sorry to wave goodbye to our snow – the monochrome landscape really gets me down. Hope it warm up soon for you

  3. Dahlias are such splendid flowers. I am lazy, I leave them in the ground. I am careful though to put out slug stuff before they come up as I have read the slugs will go down in the ground to get the dahlias, they love them so much.

    • Hi djdfr
      My soil has heavy clay running through it so I don’t tend to leave the dahlia tubers in over winter. However, I start putting down slug pellets in early february to protect delphiniums and ligularias for exactly the reason you say. Someone said the other day that you should start protecting from slugs on Valentines Day!!

  4. I do love that moment in the spring when the temperature rises and you can start to work outside. You tidy the garden and move things around thinking that when you finish you will have that first cup of hot herbal tea. I really enjoyed your patio. It has a great feal to it…Enjoy

  5. I think a lot of people had the same experiences this past weekend, I mowed my lawn, potted up some new Dahlias and tried to sort out the patio.

    Happy Birthday for yesterday. 🙂

  6. Happy Birthday. I love the name “Operation Sort it Out”! Sounds like a great mission! And I, too, need to get more serious about my composting. I throw everything out there, but don’t tend to it as I should, then I always regret it. How fun to find a hyacinth just beginning to bloom. Nothing like a little bloom to give us spring fever!

  7. Hi from drought stricken Omaha – a small seaside town north of Auckland. Basically a sand peninsula with lots of nice big beach houses on it and a magnificent white beach and estuary. My no 1 daughter bought here after they moved out from the city Mt Eden, where we had the granny flat under. I am still being a gypsy as you might remember we moved to Titirangi (rain forest) with daughter no 5 to house and dog sit Jan when my husband was diagnosed with incurable bowel/liver cancer. Was a tranquil place to be sick – pungas, nikau plams, lots of wood pigeons (kereru) etc. He was hospitilized 5 times and I drove thousands of klms over the two months. We then (or rather I as Jim then in Hospice) to Whangaparoa – a peninsula – again with lovely beaches to no 3 daughters home with the most amazing sea views back to Auckland. My 300 plants are happy there and doing well despite NO RAIN as she is on town supply. Water trucks are so busy as a lot not connected to town supply and only tanks. Up here in Omaha SOOO dry as sand and lots of plants that I thought would stand dry and appropriate for the conditions have died or very sick. The home is a big open plan with views to sea (small) and hills to east and to the west No5 tee for men and fabulous west view of bush hills and fab sunsets. I am semi’independant here and trying to swim every day. The surf has been quite big so takes quite an effort to get past it. I love swimming way out. Not as fit as last year, because of Jim’s illness. It is 4 weeks tomorrow that he died and I am still getting used to not having him around. At least I am now only vitred and not exhausted. Succulents and bromilliards and geraniums from my plants will do ok but even then need to have a built up area with soil and lots of mulch! Suzette likes straight lines and I like curved and they want lots of native grasses out the back to wave in the wind. I try to have a walk or swim when ‘down’ the water especially is theriputic for me! If it stays warm enough, tho’ the water is still lovely!

  8. Based on my own experience, Helen, having more benches doesn’t always mean you sit down on them more! At least you sat down for a birthday meal -Happy Birthday! By physically clearing and sorting you are also doing some spiritual clearing and sorting, probably a necessary stage in where you are just now, so well done for getting there.

  9. “Operation Patio” looks like a great success, after all, the cold frames don’t really need much room and you will certainly need somewhere to sit and rest in between your “sort it out” episodes. It is wonderful to hear you coming alive again, after such a hard time, I really look forward to seeing the results as expressed in your garden.

  10. You have been so busy, I felt exhausted just reading what you had done! Spring makes us all want to clear everything and get going in the garden once more. Sitting in the garden doesn’t last long here, you can always see something that has escaped attention, but we keep trying!!

  11. A belated Happy Birthday to you Helen – a nice treat to go out for dinner, albeit excessive 🙂
    You’ve certainly made a good start for Operation Sort if out – an east london accent doesn’t sound that good with a Scots twang flung in there…lol!
    I’m hoping too that I can get to sit down and enjoy the garden for a change. The wet last year just wouldn’t allow us to use the garden as we normally would.
    Get yourself a wee seat and call it your contemplation chair – I make all my decisions for the garden sitting on the back step.
    I usually start my slug control on Valentine’s Day – but this year there are very little signs of the blighters. Will be looking foward to seeing your new border later on in the year.

  12. Wishing you many happy returns! It sounds as though you enjoyed a happy birthday! Congratulations on “Operation: Sort It Out”! It’s seems you have a fine headstart.

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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