The spring equinox has brought a weekend of heavenly gardening weather. The sun has shone and there was a light breeze which wafted the big lumbering bumble bees around. The scent from the hyacinths which are planted just at the top of the first flight of steps is absolutely wonderful.
It is amazing how much the plants have come on in the last week. I have two camellias both of them bought from the bargain section of a garden centre. This one is stunning, covered in flowers and seems to be thriving since it was moved to the old Bog Border. The other camellia which is planted next to it has two flowers and the leaves are still sad and chloroitic in appearance. I think it is due to be removed as I have struggled with it for years.
The main area of my focus this weekend was at the top of the garden which has been sadly neglected. I have struggled with this area ever since it was created. The soil can get dry and it is quite a sunny site, probably more so now that the adjacent trees have been loped. I find that I need an idea/theme, call it what you will, to get my head around planting a border and this just hasn’t happened with the top of the garden. Last weekend I weeded the border and realised that it wasn’t actually too bad. The three bamboos are fairly well established now. There is also a fig tree which I had started to grow against a fence but decided to move up here and let it grow more naturally rather than train it. Today I added two evergreen shrubs which I hope will bulk up and add substance to the border as well as mask the fence when you look up the garden. The white flowered shrub that you can see (apologies for the quality of the photo but my camera has broken again and I was struggling with my son’s camera) is Vibrunum tinus ‘Eve Prince’ and right at the end is an Elaeagnus x ebbingei which I am hoping will cope well with the dryish conditions. I have also added a Lathyrus vernus and Nepeta ‘Giant Six Hills’ which should work well with the already established Geraniums palmatums. Less obvious from the above photo is the work I have done on the other side of the path. This is part of the slope that goes behind the workshop and was a mass of weeds last week. I have dug it over and added garden compost and green waste to break up the clay. Then I planted out a collection of plants which had been living on the patio for far too long. I think I might call this the waifs and strays border as they are all plants that I didn’t know where to plant for one reason or another. There are a couple of hydrangeas, a miscanthus, a mahonia, and an agapanthus as well as some small shrublets. Who knows they might all establish and gel together but at least they are in the ground and have a chance now rather than languishing in pots on the patio.
Elsewhere in the garden the first Epimediums are starting to flower. They really are impossibly difficult to photograph. This one is the first I acquired some years back, the label long lost. I now have 11 or 12 different ones and I was thrilled to see flower buds appearing on last year’s acquisitions including Egret which I had been warned could be hard to establish. I also spotted the fat snouts of hostas beginning to push through the soil, the first fern croziers and the fresh young foliage of geraniums.
Looking at the garden there is plenty of colour from the fresh green shoots and spring flowers but it is so hard to catch. I especially like the way the low spring sunshine lights up the garden. I did some weeding and sorting of the Big Border rescuing two geraniums and an aster which had been engulfed by the Euphorbia characias ‘White Swan’ which seems to want to grow a foot across from where I intended it to grow. Having replanted the rescued plants and moved a couple of grasses which were planted poorly last year this border has moved into the ‘watching brief’ category by which I mean that I have no plans to add to the planting, aside from some annuals, and I want to see how the plants develop and whether I have gaps or have planted too closely. I feel as though I have got the majority of the back garden to this point now which is very satisfying and allows me time to focus on propagation and day to day maintenance which will help me achieve the garden that lives in my head.