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.



My Garden This Weekend – 9th February 2014

Galanthus nivalis f. pleniflorus 'Flore Pleno'
Galanthus nivalis f. pleniflorus ‘Flore Pleno’

There has been a preponderance of pondering going on over recent weeks and not much activity in the garden due primarily to the interminable wet weather which we won’t dwell on as everyone is weary of it now.  Even I, the inveterate optimistic, find my patience wearying out. Saturday was a complete waste of time garden wise – wind and rain, however Sunday saw a rare blue sky and the sun attempting to shine through; so a chance to spend some time outside.

Iris histriodies 'Lady Beatrix Stanley'
Iris histriodies ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’
Bulbicodium vernum
Bulbicodium vernum

The patio staging is beginning to have some floral gems showing.  All the pots have shoots showing but I am particularly thrilled by the Bulbicodium vernum.  I have never grown this before and bought it on a whim when ordering other miniature narcissus bulbs.  I am completely entranced by the plant: the deep maroon of the shoots and the almost silk like petals.  I hope that when it opens fully it will continue to be marvellous.


The outstanding stars of the garden at the moment are the Hellebores which are just opening their flowers.  I am thrilled that the two I bought from Ashwood Nurseries last year have not only reappeared but are flowering profusely especially as I lost the Hamamelis I bought at the same time. There are some other hellebores which grow on the top of the wall along the patio and the lighter coloured flowers are opening whilst the dark purples are still tight buds.  I am thinking that I should add some more hellebores to this border possibly following the line of the path and maybe interplanted with some small ferns.  I have yet to really come up with a plan for the whole border so this might be a good starting point.


As you can see in these photographs there are snowdrops opening and around the hellebores it is Galanthus nivalis f.pleniflorus ‘Flore Pleno’. My friend Victoria gave me several pots of these from her new garden last year and I am really pleased that they are flowering since they were neglected for a while on the patio.

I spent an hour or so today in the sun picking up twigs and branches that had been blown down.  It never ceases to surprise me how many branches and twigs can come off two trees and there still be an extensive canopy overhead. I then finished off cutting back the grasses including giving the Stipa gigantea a real haircut which I may or may not regret later in the year.  Sadly the sun disappeared and a cold wind appeared forcing me into the garage and to pot up some Jasione laevis which I grew from seed in 2012, hopefully this year they will flower.

Crocus sieberi tricolor
Crocus sieberi tricolor

As I have said before one of the things I like about Spring, which surely is only around the corner, is that you  really focus on the individual flowers unlike Summer when you tend to notice the overall impact rather than the individuals.

Hopefully soon we will all be able to start really enjoying our gardens.