My Garden This Weekend – 16/2/14


Sunday was one of the nicest gardening days I can remember for months.  After weeks if not months of rain and rain the sun shone and you could see the positive effects on everyone.  Apparently this caused many people to have an overwhelming urge to visit the hills we are on the side of and the roads, so I am told, have been very busy. I was meant to go to an HPS snowdrop day over at Ragley Hall but due to various personal things that I won’t bore you with and also the prospect of negotiating more floods I decided not to go.  I am so glad I made this decision; spending a number of hours outside has been so good for my mental wellbeing and I am told the route I would have taken was almost stationary in places.


Colour is beginning to appear in the garden especially on the patio staging where I was greeted with these three pots – I want to call them The Three Little Maids but they are all Iris histriodies ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’ so that seems a little disrespectful.

2014_02150005I was also thrilled to see Iris reticulata ‘Cantab’ which I had concluded weren’t going to flower but I was wrong.  I can also see now the difference between reticulata and histriodies – the recticulata have longer more grass like foliage before the flowers appear.  I understand that if you struggle with reticulata then it might be worth trying histriodies but I have not idea why!


Spring has definitely arrived in the garden and I am rather chuffed at the snowdrops on the lower slope.  I worked on this area in Autumn planting bulbs, ferns and epimediums with the intention that this was a spring border with the ferns and epimediums giving some foliage interest in the summer and autumn.  There are small narcissus pushing their foliage up through the soil so hopefully they will follow on nicely from the snowdrops.


As the ground is still very wet I decided that working in the garden was a little foolhardy and would do more damage than good.  Instead, I repotted all my pelargoniums.  My resolution this year is to be a better gardener and to focus on plant care rather than big projects so this was a good start to the year.  Some of the pelargoniums haven’t been properly repotted for a number of years.  I have also repotted them into plastic pots really to liberate my pot collection for other things and also because I haven’t decided how I will display the pelargoniums this summer – they are also a lot lighter to move.


I had a moment of panic when I turned out the  Pelargonium worcesterea. I initially thought the roots were covered in some sort of larvae or eggs but these are the roots.  None of my other pelargoniums have roots like these but I understand from Fibrex Nurseries, via Twitter, that this is right and some pelargoniums have even weirder ones.  One of my ivy leaved trailing pelargoniums had ridiculously long roots given the size of the plant and I wonder if this is because they might grow in crevices in their native environment so  I think this plant needs a long root run so I might get a long tom pot for it.


I spent the rest of the day tidying the hanging baskets and the border along the front driveway.  I pricked out some trays of seedlings which had been sown in the autumn and finally I raked the front ‘lawn’ to lift some of the moss that has got completely out of control.  I’m not someone who fusses about the quality of my lawn and I quite like moss but with all the rain it has gone mad and also seems to have gone somewhat yellow probably due to the low light levels and the state of the ground.  Having raked up some of the moss I then aerated the lawn with a fork to try to get some air into the soil and improve it.  You could hear it unsticking in some places!

All in all a wonderful day – fresh air, exercise, a sense of achievement and promise of more gardening days ahead.



Author: Helen Johnstone

I live in Malvern, Worcestershire and am a very keen gardener. I started the Patient Gardener Blog in January 2008 as a way of recording what was happening in my garden and connecting with other like-minded people. I started a second blog PatientGardener 365 January 2013 in order to try and post a photo a day to capture what is growing in my garden or places I have visited

17 thoughts on “My Garden This Weekend – 16/2/14”

  1. What a difference a day makes, it was fantastic yesterday wasn’t it, wonderful to see the sun again and feel it’s warmth! Your spring border is looking very pretty with its snowdrops, they would lift anybody’s spirits. Soon we will be able to get onto our gardens once more, then it will be all systems go!

  2. Spring has definitely sprung! We too had a fantastic day yesterday, and it was so cleansing to get out and do ‘proper’ gardening! I love your Irises and ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’ is a beauty. I have really got into Histrioides this year, and you have whetted my appetite for Reticulatas. They sound as if they might be harder to grow though, from your comments ! The detail in the flowers is so intricate that I can’t stop using the Macro lens on them !!

  3. I love your Three Little Maids. You are right Iris histrioides is much easier to keep going than the reticulate irises unless they get inkspot. I think it is because they don’t have the same tendency to split up into tiny bubils. I love the plump little flowers and what gorgeous jewel colours.

  4. So glad you filled up your tank by having such a good day in the garden, Helen – your lower slope border is coming along nicely and your bulbs in the pots look delightful now they are in flower.

  5. I bought ‘Cantab’ this year for the flower colour, but wasn’t sure about the grassy growth. The reticulata look much neater. Thanks for explaining the difference Helen!

  6. Helen glad you had a day in the garden in the sun, I love your irises and they do look like 3 little maids,thanks for the info of the differences I have not had much luck and wasn’t going to bother any more though I love all irises, now I think I will try histrioides (I previously had reticulate) and keep them in pots, love your spring bank of snowdrops and your first photo of what looks like a crocus coming through a conifer, Frances

    1. Hi Frances
      I can’t remember where I heard that histriodies are easier if you can’t grow reticulata or why but it’s worth a go. Yes it’s a unknown crocus peeking through the conifer

  7. I have really enjoyed looking at your lovely photos of early spring bulbs and reading about your day in the garden. Thank you for sharing it.

  8. You had a busy Sunday outdoors too – isn’t it wonderful when the sun lifts our spirits.
    Thanks ever so much for clarifying the difference between Reticulata and Histriodes – it seems so obvious now that you’ve mention it.
    I don’t usually plug my blogs Helen but my latest is from the SRGC early bulb show in Dunblane and thought you might be interest.

    1. Hi Angie
      I wouldn’t depend on my interpretation of the difference but it’s what seems to be the difference to me. Will check out your blog post

    1. Hi Hillwards
      Thank you the snowdrops are indeed looking happy, hopefully we will have more sun and the other bulbs will start to open

  9. You enjoying a day of sun in the midst of so much rain – in California we have enjoyed a day or two of rain in the midst of too much sun. We are in a drought, and I’m afraid of wildfire season to be sure. Your English garden is so comforting – and moist – to drop in on!

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