Notes from the Garden – 13th March 2016

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Finally a glorious spring weekend which has seen me bumbling around the garden just like the big lumbering bumble bees that have been visiting the hellebores and primulas.  My head has been spinning with ideas and plans over the last few weeks so it was a real relief to start putting some of them into action.  I have one of those long mental lists with one thing dependent on another and I am sure I will forget the sequence so I must write it all down when I write up my garden journal later.

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My first task was to round up the various coloured primulas from around the garden.  I love coloured primulas.  I know a lot of people can be quite snobby about them but I think they have a lovely old fashioned charm to them.  I had been using them along the paths but they were dotted around, one here and one there, and really made no impact whatsoever.  So I collected all the pink ones up and have planted them in the shade of an Abelia by some deep pink/mauve hellabores.  The hellebores leaves will eventually cover this area so will mask the primulas’ leaves when they are looking tatty during the summer.  I see this view from my living room window and I am amazed how much just planting a handful of same  primulas has lifted this area with the pink of the hellebores intensified.  I have done the same with the purples which are planted with the Crocus ‘Pickwick’ and the yellow/orange primulas which are under the Hammelias.

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Next on the list was the Big Border.  I have decided to move the asters and some of the grasses to the new borders in the front garden – yet to be dug.  I want to use this space for sweet peas and dahlias this year so I wanted to clear everything that needed moving so I could see the space left and to start thinking about the layout and how I can fit in the plants I want to include.  The asters have been divided and potted up and are now cluttering up the patio so hopefully they will start to irritate me which will push me onwards with the front garden.  The bright fresh green leaves you can see are Camassias which should look great in about a month.  I like the little Narciussus Tete a Tete as well and I think I will add to these for next year.  I am also thinking that I might risk tulips again and hope the badger doesn’t appear and dig them all up.  I would love to fill the gaps between the plants in this border with bright tulips in the Venetian colours I love at the moment.

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The other job crossed off the list was the replacement of the shambolic bamboo supports for the step over apples with a more organised pots and wire system.  I painted the posts the same colour as the highlight on the shed to give a more cohesive look and my eldest son wired them up.  It was amazing how much difference it has made, without the bamboo canes with the branches tied to them you can actually see the structure of the step-overs.  Whilst we haven’t had a lot of apples off the trees I am hugely proud of the apple step-overs as I know little about pruning fruit trees and started with 3 apple whips and some limited instructions from the nursery.

The sweet peas sown last week are starting to germinate in the garden and today I sowed a batch of Cerinthe retorta which I prefer to Cerinthe major. Cannas and Agapanthus are also showing signs of life in the greenhouse and the Dahlias have been potted up with hugh expectations.

Wherever my gardening mojo has been lurking for the last few years it seems it has decided to come home – thank  goodness.

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16 Comments Add yours

  1. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Hi Helen – Welcome back MoJo! Not that I think he/she has been absent! You are truly a wheelbarrow gardener! Giving your plants lots of wheelbarrow walks from here to there – oh no should be over there! Enjoy your spring flowers! We are still having 25 degree days so still swimming. Had a run in John’s XK150 1959 sport Jag over weekend and weather lovely for top down!! Never too old to ride in a testeserone red sports car. And I am blond (well with some real silver in it also)!!!

  2. Diana Studer says:

    musical chairs here too. Next are two huge pelargoniums to become cuttings and make space.

  3. Renee Pasman says:

    Wonderful that your mojo is back. I can’t wait to see all your plans unfold.

  4. rusty duck says:

    It’s wonderful that first inkling of Spring and how it makes you yearn to be out in the garden again. I love Tete a Tete too, I prefer them to the taller daffs. Gorgeous golden evening light in your photos!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Jessica
      Photos taken mid afternoon, hazy here all day but wonderful diffused light.

  5. Anna says:

    Glorious weather here too Helen especially today and several tasks accomplished. Your post is full of enthusiasm and energy. Those pink primulas look as if they have been there forever and are most pleasing to the eye companions for the hellebore.

  6. owenldn says:

    Very happy to see you happily pottering about your lovely garden! And completely agree the moving of your primulas not only is a stroke of genius to get some colour impact but also am very glad you didnt listen to any snobby people as anyone who cant help but smile when looking at cheerful primulas isnt worth knowing! 🙂
    Love your apple stepovers! Im getting really into my fruit trees- as my allotment is really my only gardening release at the moment as have no garden of my own- got a lovely little book called the fruit tree handbook recently which really was helpful in pruning as its something i was a little concerned about how to do correctly!
    PS Loving that yellow hellebore! Gorgeous!

  7. Good to know the mojo is back. I just hope it helps you write down that list of tasks before they all run away from you (I know exactly what that’s like, it’s been happening with my embroidery!)

  8. As we say, you’ve got your Mojo working’!! Your garden looks wonderful and you sound energized and ready for Spring. I am only mentally moving things in my garden as it is still too early to do much in my zone. So I am making lots of notes — all on one paper in one place as I often lose my bits and pieces and can’t remember my brilliant plan when it comes time to put it into action!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Linda
      I write my brilliant plans in a journal, well normally I still need to write down this weekends. It is always interesting to read back a year and see what I actually did

  9. Ellie Holmes says:

    Thanks for sharing your garden with us – love the photos showing the spring sunshine. I think everyone is always keen to get back at it this time of year and the garden gives us such a boost when you see the spring flowers in all their glory. I always shy away from moving plants too much, partly because of the work and partly because of the fear that my lack of knowledge will damage the plant but hey you have inspired me! I might just give it a go. Thanks for a lovely post.

  10. Cathy says:

    A warmer spring day can make all the difference – pleased to hear your enthusiasm creeping back The step over apples look a real success story – well done (even if the apples are still minimal!). Hmm, I must try again with camassia – where am I going wrong, I wonder…?

  11. Linnae says:

    Hello!
    I started a gardening blog for the same reason you did–I had all these notes and plans in my mind that needed a place to be. Also, I think my family was tired of hearing every detail about my garden on my family blog. 🙂 I really like the primroses next to the pink hellebores–that echo of color is just lovely.
    Happy Bloom Day!

  12. I also love primroses – Your idea of planting them with he Hellebores is something I will also try, so thank you. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to seeing how it all develops.

  13. Fay says:

    Thank you so much for th idea about grouping the primula so by colour. I did this yesterday and it makes such a difference. I haven’t actually got anything currently in flower around them (another thing to plan) but grouping them makes so much more impact. It also reduces the slightly garish nature I felt mine had when a mix of lemon, pink and purple. They are now in different areas, split and grouped by colour. Superb. I am also going to steal the hellebore tip for with them…many, many thanks.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Fay
      I am so glad you found it helpful, it was just an idea I had which I thought worked well so I thought I would share it. I was thrilled with how good mine looked, very simply and obvious so why we havent thought of it before I dont know!

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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