My garden this weekend – 2nd March 2014


This has been a weekend of extremes of weather.  Today, my birthday, has been a non-event in the garden due to the drizzle and cold wind but this is fine as I wore myself out yesterday in the garden taking advantage of the sunshine.

I love this time of year there is so much promise and every time I am in the garden I do much peering to see what bulbs and perennials are appearing.  To be honest it was a relief to have a nice day to garden as my mental list of plants to move and plans for borders had got to such a length that I was in danger of remembering where the great plant move was to start.  Of course, it goes without saying that I could write it all down in a notebook but I kept telling myself it would be fine, I would remember.


First up was the left hand front corner of the garden (above) which I can see from the living room windows.  It has been a sad area ever since we have lived here.  Some weeks ago I moved a Spirea Bridal Wreath which was planted right up against the top of the wall.  As you can see moving back some 4ft has opened up this area and I prefer it but what to plant?  I knew I wanted some perennials in here but I wanted them to be something that didn’t need a lot maintenance as to access this corner means walking on the border.  I bought a Euphorbia pasteurii ‘Phrampton  Patty’ last month at my local HPS group and this was earmarked for the corner.


As you can see it was quickly followed by some additional hellebores, also bought from my local HPS group meeting. To add a bit of summer colour I divided up a clump of Geranium phaeum and scattered it amongst the hellebores.  My thinking is that the purple markings on the leaves will pick up on the hellebore flowers in a year or so when the clumps bulk up and there will be nice deep purple flowers in the summer when the hellebores are resting.  I also relocated a Melianthus major to the border where hopefully it will provide some evergreen interest for most of the year.  As this is a view I have from the house during the grey days of winter and spring I want to add some more spring interest here so I think maybe some crocus, Snow Bunting, or possibily snowdrops but I seem to have quite a few of those now so a change might be good.


I am starting to work along this fence line tidying up and sorting out – it’s an area that’s been neglected for some years.  I was thrilled to discover the Mahonia had started to re-shoot.  I had taken a gamble last April and lopped the shrub to within 10cm of the ground; at the time it had a single stem heading upwards and I wanted a more shrubby plant.  It was a bit of a leap of faith but all my research told me that this was what was needed and it turned out to be correct.


I also moved some an old cornus into the Camellia border since its previous location was too dry, even with all the rain we have had, and it has sulked for years.  Hopefully it will be happier in the damper environment.  Also relocated were some Siberian irises.  I have some candelabra primulas and meconopsis poppy seedlings I want to plant here although I think I may be optimistic about the space available.

Having wrecked my back again with all the lifting and digging I spent more time picking up sticks and twigs which had blown down in the recent high winds.  A tedious task but it does mean you notice things in the borders and I was pleased to see the Polyanthus Stella Champagne that I reviewed from Plant Me Now back in August were flowering, such a pretty pink (see top photo).


Finally, and in my usual ambitious and over optimistic way, I decided to start on the fence staining that needs to be done.  Long term readers will know that I have neglected fence care since I have lived here, ten years, and last year I spent many evenings staining the back fence.  It was a lovely dark brown but has already faded so it shows how dry the fence was gobbling up two coats of stain.  My aim this year is to do all the fences at least twice; I said I was ambitious. I do like the dark stain as it really shows the plants up and I feel it brings the boundaries in making the garden feel more enclosed in a strange way.

Needless to say today I ache all over but I am thrilled with how much I achieved especially as the weather is so rubbish today. I shall have to console myself with my new greenhouse shelves that my sons bought me!


10 Comments Add yours

  1. Many happy returns from AoF!

  2. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Happy birthday and hope you at least had a glass of lovely NZ wine!

  3. rusty duck says:

    The mahonia was a good call, it’s looking so healthy. I wish I had your energy, Happy Birthday!

  4. Happy birthday, Helen! It looks as if you’ve had a very productive weekend. I’m aiming to have a gardening day on Tuesday – I can feel ideas beginning to germinate in my head. I was going to suggest putting a couple of ferns with the hellebores on that front left-hand corner, but I don’t want to lead you astray. A couple of aspleniums with some really scented snowdrops, such as ‘Arnott’? No, forget I mentioned it.

  5. KL says:

    Belated but a very Happy Birthday to you :-). Where is your garden located that it has so much green? This winter has been so harsh that I have forgotten that gardens are supposed to look green! You seem to be doing lots of rearrangement 🙂 — have fun.

  6. Donna says:

    Many happy returns of the day Helen!
    Best wishes,

  7. Cathy says:

    What a productive day you had, Helen, with all the rearrranging and discovering and plotting and planning – very rewarding, and hopefully worth the aches and pains you were left with on your birthday….. Hope that was a good day too 🙂

  8. Anna says:

    Sorry to read that the weather didn’t oblige for your birthday Helen but the present from your sons must have made up for it. It sounds as if you achieved much on Saturday. I was sitting on a train looking at the sunshine wishing I was outside.

  9. jagodas says:

    Happy belated birthday Helen! Oh how much I envy you the warmer weather, but at least I can look at your lovely garden coming back to life. It will be months for mine…

  10. hillwards says:

    Happy belated birthday, and what a lot you achieved in a day of sunshine! Shame that Sunday was so much less promising – hope that you enjoyed your day nonetheless. Sara.

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