Spring! Are you Sure?

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You would think booking the last week of March as annual leave would be a safe bet for some gardening time.  Not so.  Whilst officially we are in Spring the weather outside is still very wintery.  I awoke this morning to snow, not enough to snow us in but enough to make the journey to work unpleasant.  It has rained all day with the odd bout of sleet and the patio is now flooded (photo below taken at 3:30pm).  The forecast says we will have snow from around 4am tomorrow to 8am on Sunday.  So no sooner had I removed the fleece from the overwintering perennials waiting to be planted out than it was back on but it felt very strange standing on a flooded patio putting out fleece.

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I have to say though that sitting in the living room looking out at the garden I am starting to think that maybe Spring is trying to arrive.  There is a distinct greeness about the borders, with new shoots of daylilies, delphiniums, iris sibirica pushing through the soil and daffodils and snowdrops flowering away although it isn’t that obvious in the view above.  I’m sure the snowdrops have normally finished by now, it’s almost as if they are frozen in time.  All this time gazing at the garden waiting for the weather to improve is partly helping me recognise the areas I really like but also making me dither around on what to do with the back lawn.  The lawn IS going that is a given but the question remains about paths.  This is only because I particularly like the front of the woodland border and the shape of the lawn there!!  I want to be able to walk by the witch hazel so I am toying with a grass path here and of course my lack of design understanding doesn’t help so I am trying to think about how I traverse the space so any paths are at least practical. In the photograph the area seems so small but when I am in the garden it seems quite a large area.  I have though made progress with the back fence and the Pyracantha have arrived to be planted out as soon as it warms up and dries up a bit.

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It was quite heartening to come home to a box of summer bulbs from Avon Bulbs.  I was obviously feeling the need for some warmth when I ordered them and dreaming of warmer climes. So whilst the new steps that all the material has arrived for today won’t be going in this weekend at least I can pot up the bulbs: Agapanthus Alan Street, Agapanthus ardernei, Bessera elegans and Eucomis comosa.

One of the other jobs I am hoping to do this coming week is to convert an old butlers sink I have into a crevice bed for the alpines I have started to collect.  Many of them are flowering away in the cold frame and I want to find a way to enjoy their beautiful dainty flowers better.  I have done quite a bit of research so I just need my eldest to drag the sink round to the patio and to source some slate or similar and off I go.

Soldanella 'Spring Symphony'
Soldanella ‘Spring Symphony’
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25 Comments Add yours

  1. Ordinarily I have a week of in March just to get the garden sorted etc for the coming months. This year, i changed it to February and ended up with the best week of the last couple of months. I would be feeling rather frustrated too if this had been a normal year!
    I’m planning a similar project for alpines – I’m waiting for my only son to get it shifted for me, Seems we are in a similar situation 🙂
    Is that a Soldanella in your picture? It’s a lovely colour, I’d be interested in finding out it’s name. I only have purple ones. It’s such a delicate little flower, isn’t it.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Angie
      Its Soldanella ‘Spring Sensation’ – the label had fallen off the photo but I have re-instated it. Need to research it as dont know anything about Soldanellas

    2. Helen, Acidic to Neutral conditions. Part shade – I have attempted to grow in sun but they died! Don’t let the soil dry out. Prone to the usual slimy creatures. Depending on what pests you get – a few gardeners I know that grow them get bother with mice nibbling the flower buds. Hope this helps a wee bit 🙂

  2. Christina says:

    It is interesting Helen that your back garden looks amazingly different when photographed from an upstairs window. It doesn’t look so steep just as you told us all and I really like the way the steps go up through the trees on the left of the image. Here’s hoping that the forecast is wrong and that you’ll be able to do ‘things’ this weekend. Christina

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Christina
      I like the steps going up through the trees and the plan is to put a path to link the steps from the patio to these steps. I hope too that the forecast is wrong but my sons are hoping for snow especially my youngest who is back from Uni and hasnt seen any snow this year being by the sea in Plymouth

    2. Christina says:

      You can’t please everyone! C

  3. Cathy says:

    You seem to have the same snow situation as us Helen, although it has started snowing again here now (5.00ish), seemingly not wanting to wait till the early hours. How ironic to have plants arrive just when the weather has turned again – particularly when you have a week off work and plenty of time to sort them out. Perhaps you can spend the week continuing to gaze and come to a decision about your path and your grass!

  4. VP says:

    What a coincidence! I was talking only this afternoon that we’ve had snowdrops in bloom for 3 months. It’s certainly the longest period we’ve had them here. You’re right – one hint of warmth and they go over – it shows how long the below average temperatures have been this year 😦

    And to think we were in summer clothes this time last year!

  5. Rob says:

    Much the same here so much to plant, but it’s just too damn soggy!

  6. Pauline says:

    The calender might say it’s spring but the weather has other ideas, we are back to floods everywhere down here, hope you don’t get more snow, but it is forecast unfortunately. Your slope seems much more gentle from this view, as you said, and must be a lovely place for woodland plants, my favourite sort of planting!

  7. Hi Helen,
    May I ask where you will be planting your new agapanthus..? I want to get one this year, I was waiting till Malvern or Gardeners World before I bought one. I’m hoping to grow it in a big pot.
    Also I have a little Soldanella in flower in my cold greenhouse, I also need to read up on it.

    Horrible weather here, however I’ve never had such a long flowering time with my Hellebores.
    Would rather have sunshine though.

    Keep warm & happy gardening.!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi CG
      I am planning on growing these agapanthus in large pots as I want them to brighten up the patio
      See comment from Angie about where to grow Soldanella

      Helen

  8. djdfr says:

    It seems like spring is taking its time this year.

  9. janelouise3 says:

    Interesting comments about the snowdrops ! I was thinking exactly the same , that I have never seen them in bloom for so long !

  10. Christie says:

    Hi Helen, the seasons don’t seem to want to change anywhere. It’s Autumn here in SE Qld and while there is a little nip in the air in the mornings now we are still having high temperatures – up to at least 31 or 32 degrees forecast here for today. This morning is gloomy as there is a fog, which is more usual for June and July. When it lifts it will be bright and hot, probably too hot for the fence painting I need to do.
    Your agapanthus should look lovely. I have a few here at my place and they always bloom well.
    I hope there is a lift in the weather soon for all you keen gardeners over there.

  11. Oooh, agapanthus, what a lovely thought. Hope the week off isn’t a complete bust, hard to believe we are about to shift to BST isn’t it. I’m on your side, please no more snow, enough is enough.

  12. We are covered in snow and the garden is buried…cold and more snow still falling…no spring here

  13. I have a grass path and really love it. I highly recommend incorporating them into your garden.

  14. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Forever patient and optimistic! Still a drought and hot here. There only a few live nz hebes alive in Omaha – they are comparitively short lived BUT don’t bother to plant in this part of Auckland!

  15. All is not lost, I love your photo of your Soldanella ‘Spring Symphony’. It seems to be a sign of hope.

  16. I love the Soldanella must seek that one out. I am champing at the bit to get out and do some gardening but the soil is so very wet and cold – roll on sunshine and warm weather.

  17. Hannah says:

    Good luck with the sink conversion, I’m sure it’ll look lovely when it’s done!

  18. CathyT says:

    I love the Soldanella picture too, Helen. You take good pictures! And I am looking at the picture of your garden and thinking how delightful it looks for woodlanders (and also quite well-designed, thinking of your previous, very good, post).
    Did anyone see the report in the paper, seen in a shop in Berlin, something like: OK winter, put down your arms, we give up!. That about sums it up for this year!
    Happy week off, Helen, no matter what the weather brings. With your seed love affair and such a nice greenhouse, sure you’ll have no problem finding something to do ‘indoors’, even if the weather is bad!

  19. Anna says:

    I remember all too well booking leave in March when I was still working and the weather not obliging. Here I laughed hysterically last night when Monty Don seemed to suggest that this weekend was the last chance to mulch. Somehow I don’t think that a blanket of snow fits into the equation. Have a great week Helen whatever the weather.

  20. Holleygarden says:

    Oh, you would think that late March would be warmer than that! It’s been an odd year, with winter not wanting to leave. I suppose you can spend the week ordering more plants! 😉

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