High time to write an update I think. I realised that I have not added to the blog since last September which is far too long ago for me to remember all the details of how the garden fared during late Autumn and the Winter.
What I can remember, however, is how awful the weather has been through most of that time, so many grey days. I started putting the garden to bed in October and never finished due to the wet weather which seems to have been almost continuous since then, along with the cloudy skies, cold (days and nights) and snow. To have almost reached Easter with barely a glimmer (bar a few odd days) of sunshine is so unusual. Most of the good days that we have had seem to have coincided with days when I have been doing other things!
Well, now I have got the problems with the vagaries of the English weather off my chest I will see what I can say that is a little more positive.
...I’ll return to the subject of weather first though! The first snow of the winter was on Wednesday 5th December and the last (so far) was on Thursday 4th April, I have lost count of the snowy days in between. That’s not to say it always settled though, it was often wet snow.
However, we have just had a lovely weekend (6th/7th April), what a joy to be able to go out into the garden and work in the sunshine, in a sheltered spot and feel warm, the promise of the Spring weather to come perhaps?
Mike has now finished mulching the front and lower gardens with a mixture of manure and compost, the top garden still to be done with leaf-mould this year. The cutting back is almost finished – just some of the grasses left to do and a few perennials still to tidy up where I had left the seed heads for the birds. I have just pruned the dogwoods, including Cornus Midwinter Fire which I pruned back a bit harder than usual as they were getting very congested at the tops and a bit thin at the bottom. There seems to be divided opinion about pruning this variety as it is perhaps a little less easy going than the Sibirica’s. We will see!
Everything seems to be flowering very late – somebody told me that many plants are about 6 weeks behind, and indeed our large Camellia in the lower garden has been very reluctant to flower. It has had a few flowers on it for about 3 weeks and still has lots of buds to come, but would normally have odd flowers out from January.
Our snowdrops were lovely this year. They were only planted 2 and 3 years ago and are now making good clumps. The Tete a Tete daffs have been lovely too – little rays of sunshine brightening up the borders. We have some of the larger varieties which are yet to flower. The Hellebores have been very prolific; I just have to go round them raising their heads to see how beautiful they are. I don’t think I have a preference whether they are single or double, I love them all.
Many of you who have been to see the garden will know that Heuchera’s are one of my favourite plants. They are such good fillers for borders, come in wonderful colours and are also good in pots. I am sorry to say that I have lost a lot on the over the winter, a combination of the cold and wet I think. Consequently, I won’t have many for sale this year. I wonder how many people have had a problem with them. I have also had other casualties among my plants that I have been keeping for selling, but hope that I may be able to build up my stock before our first Open Day.
My first consignment of ‘ordered through catalogue’ plants arrived last week – very exciting – so have been busy getting them potted up. Not sure what the weather is going to do this week so, as I don’t have a greenhouse, they are being kept in the conservatory at the moment, and will be transferred to the log store for shelter once it is a degree or two warmer.
I can’t wait to see if our Davidia might actually have some ‘handkerchiefs’ this year, they can apparently take up to 20 years to ‘flower’, we’ve had ours for 11 years, but who knows?
So, the garden is gradually waking up, and we are working hard to get it ready for our summer visitors.