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!