Kick Start

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A miracle has come to pass.

It seems barely credible but, aside from a predicted brief dalliance with the wet stuff between 3.00 and 6.00p.m. on Friday, there is no rain in the forecast for a week. It will be cold but I can cope better with that, especially if it is sunny and there is no wind. The birds were certainly giving it their all when I stepped outside this morning so maybe, at last, a line has been crossed. It is March next week after all.


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Burgeoning shoots


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Hemerocallis ‘Stella de Oro’


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I love how the campanula has bedded itself into the cracks in the wall


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Rhododendron buds a-plumpin’


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 Daffodils shaking off the last lot of rain.


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Hellebores still in possession of their glorious blooms..




… so far.


I’m wondering (hoping) if part of my problem with the deer has been the lack of our presence in the garden. So little opportunity over this miserably wet winter. Human scents long since washed away. No noise from work in progress. Perhaps they feel this is a place they can browse undisturbed.

It’ll be a couple of days ‘sans pluie’ before I can once again step out on the soil. It still bears all the characteristics of a bog. But I have made a start.


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Seeds have been sown

Chilli peppers, tomatoes and cucumber are nestling in the propagator too.


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Cuttings are sprouting. This is Gaura.


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Galanthus ‘Lady Elphinstone’. Softly softly.


The icicles have been banished from the home page slider.

Let’s get this show on the road.


2017-10-24T19:32:41+00:00February 23rd, 2016|Tags: , , |


  1. Mel February 23, 2016 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    I adore your gardens.

    • Jessica February 23, 2016 at 8:25 pm - Reply

      Thanks Mel and welcome!

  2. Sarah Shoesmith February 23, 2016 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    It will be interesting to see if your deer issues improve once you get outside and start spreading around your smells… not that I am suggesting you are anything other than marvellously fragrant, but you don’t smell of deer, if indeed deer smell….. I’ll move onto the weather – it’s safer. Thank goodness it has stopped raining at last!

    • Jessica February 23, 2016 at 8:27 pm - Reply

      This is why I used the word ‘scents’. Evocative of Chanel No5 and jasmine. Definitely safer!

  3. ontheedgegardening February 23, 2016 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    Isn’t just wonderful! Lovely pictures 🙂

    • Jessica February 23, 2016 at 8:30 pm - Reply

      It has been a marvellous day. Quite went to my head. Now all we need is the water table to drop a few feet.

  4. FlowerAlley February 23, 2016 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    You got my heart racing. I love to see little sprouts.
    We have two more days of rain coming.
    I am forcing myself to stay busy. Oh spring, hurry!

    • Jessica February 23, 2016 at 8:32 pm - Reply

      It can’t be long now. 🙂

  5. Marian St.Clair February 23, 2016 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    We must be trading clouds. My garden had 2.5 inches just yesterday and there’s more on the way this afternoon. Nonetheless, I love your exuberance. “Let’s get this show on the road” is the best idea I’ve heard lately.

    • Jessica February 23, 2016 at 8:34 pm - Reply

      It’s amazing what a bit of sunshine can do. Totally mood altering.

  6. Vera February 23, 2016 at 4:13 pm - Reply


    • Jessica February 23, 2016 at 8:34 pm - Reply

      Catching you up..

  7. Christina February 23, 2016 at 4:36 pm - Reply

    A lovely day again here too; I’ve been weeding one of the new evergreen beds which despite being heavily mulched still had quite a few unwanted weeds and some self seeders that are required here. I came in just a few minutes ago at about 17.20 and I was amazed it was so late as the sky was still full of LIGHT! I love how suddenly there are so many more hours of daylight – you exuberant post fitted my mood exactly.

    • Jessica February 23, 2016 at 8:37 pm - Reply

      It’s happened over the last week, suddenly the days feel so much longer. It’s a great feeling. Even though weeding will be one of my first tasks too!

  8. jenhumm116 February 23, 2016 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    Such a cheering post!
    And what is it about those hemerocallis shoots in particular that has just put a silly grin on my face? Spring, hurrah!

    • Jessica February 23, 2016 at 8:38 pm - Reply

      It’s their colour. Just that beautiful fresh green says it all. I hope they look as good tomorrow after the overnight frost.

  9. Caro February 23, 2016 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    Nothing like a prolonged spell of blue sky to put a spring in a gardener’s step! Your spring shoots do look very tasty – I’d start doing a daily round of the gardens if I were you – that pheasant is already looking guilty, never mind the deer. (But what gorgeous feathers!) PS Thank you so much, Jessica, for commenting on my last post; it meant a lot. C xx

    • Jessica February 23, 2016 at 8:43 pm - Reply

      There are at least three pheasants (seen together as per Birdwatch rules) and possibly four or even more. Not good to have so many because they’ll squabble, quite apart from all the blooms they’ll nip off. Hope you’re OK Caro x

  10. Kris P February 23, 2016 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    Yep! Spring is on its way! Although here, it’s once again feeling more like summer.

    • Jessica February 23, 2016 at 8:44 pm - Reply

      No coat today.. that’s summer here!

  11. M. L. Kappa February 23, 2016 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    Go for it, Jessica! Get your wellies on!

    • Jessica February 23, 2016 at 8:45 pm - Reply

      I need new wellies. They leak. 🙂

  12. Sue C. February 23, 2016 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    Agree – what a brilliant day and another forecast for tomorrow. It’s 6pm here and there is a blackbird singing outside the door – a real taste of spring. I’ve spent the day pruning roses and cornus. Those new shoots in your photos look wonderful – this is such an exciting time in the garden. Plants seem to shoot up by the day and it’s only February.

    • Jessica February 23, 2016 at 8:48 pm - Reply

      It’s good to see so much starting to come back. It gives me confidence that all last year’s work was worthwhile. The blackbirds and the robins make such a difference don’t they. But I’m having to run round and close all the outhouse doors (after Mike leaves them open) for fear of a robin going in and starting a nest. It’s happened before.

  13. Sue Garrett February 23, 2016 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    I was tidying up a border today and there are plenty of green shoots. 🙂

    • Jessica February 23, 2016 at 8:50 pm - Reply

      I can’t wait to get in there and start cutting back, I’m sure I’ll find many more.

  14. Wendy February 23, 2016 at 6:50 pm - Reply

    The hellebores are lovely and it’s great to the seedlings underway. It’s also wonderful to see the first hints of spring and a few days of the sun – at last! I’m impatiently waiting for everything to dry up here too.

    • Jessica February 23, 2016 at 9:01 pm - Reply

      I shall be doing pitch inspections daily. The ideal is to catch our clay soil in that small window of opportunity between sodden and rock hard.

  15. frayed at the edge February 23, 2016 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    I wonder if Malcolm’s deterrent for the neighbours’ cats might work. It involves a watering can and a natural bodily product …….

    • Jessica February 23, 2016 at 9:02 pm - Reply

      It’s a well known deterrent for deer!

  16. Mark and Gaz February 23, 2016 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    So many lovely signs of spring! Hope your deer issues get resolved!

    • Jessica February 23, 2016 at 9:07 pm - Reply

      Thanks! Yes, they have become a bit of a pain. But encouragingly they weren’t around today so perhaps my theory will hold.

  17. Linda aka Crafty Gardener February 23, 2016 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    Your gardens are awakening, so many lovely signs of spring. Hope the rain stays away and you are able to get outside once again.

    • Jessica February 23, 2016 at 9:10 pm - Reply

      It was so nice to be out just for one day and tomorrow promises more of the same. I shall make the most of it.

  18. sustainablemum February 23, 2016 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    You might be right about the deer. I haven’t been in my garden since November I dread to think what I might find when I really look. It’s great this forecast isn’t it lets hope it comes book, so far so good………

    • Jessica February 23, 2016 at 9:15 pm - Reply

      What I did notice about the deer is they aren’t as skittish as I expected them to be. Banging on the window didn’t bother them initially. I hope they’re not going to turn out to be like squirrels or we’re really up for a run in.

  19. Amy at love made my home February 23, 2016 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    Oh how I am longing for drier weather! I so need to get in the garden, but it is like a bog here too – we are on top of a hill! – so I daren’t do too much. I hope that Lady E keeps going well and all of your other lovely plants too, you have a lot of great things coming! xx

    • Jessica February 23, 2016 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      It’s a great time of year isn’t it. Everything in the goodie basket still to come.

  20. Sarah February 23, 2016 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    It must been wonderful to get out in the garden again and sow some seeds too! Sarah x

    • Jessica February 23, 2016 at 9:21 pm - Reply

      It won’t be long before we’re inundated with jobs and wondering where to find the time. Already I can see greenhouse space at a premium.

  21. CJ February 23, 2016 at 10:07 pm - Reply

    Ooh, you’ve got your tomatoes in, now I’m panicking. Absolutely gorgeous shot of the pheasant. Those feathers! Stunning. Dry here too, astonishing isn’t it. I mowed the grass earlier! Time to get our scent back out in the garden. CJ xx

    • Jessica February 24, 2016 at 8:54 pm - Reply

      We’re a bit away from mowing the lawn, it’s still too boggy. But I was out for a couple of hours weeding the terraces this afternoon, balancing on the wall. I pruned the Lark Ascending, spreading my scent all over it.. I hope!

  22. wherefivevalleysmeet February 23, 2016 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    I am loving these bright days with blue skies – its beginning to feel a lot like spring, and it makes me happy

    • Jessica February 24, 2016 at 8:55 pm - Reply

      Fabulous isn’t it. Cloudier tomorrow apparently, but still dry!

  23. CherryPie February 23, 2016 at 11:45 pm - Reply

    Lovely pre spring flowers. I wish I had a garden big enough to enjoy the sight of deer 🙂

    • Jessica February 24, 2016 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      It’s a mixed blessing, honestly Cherie. Gardens and deer may be incompatible.

  24. Suzanne February 24, 2016 at 3:02 am - Reply

    Looking so lovely and lush. Happy gardening season! I am a month or more away from that! Four inches of snow on the ground here.
    In the meantime I will continue to enjoy your lovely photos. It is an exciting year coming at your place all the open and lighter spaces.
    Looking forward to see where you take it.

    • Jessica February 24, 2016 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      Hi Suzanne! It is exciting and I’m very much looking forward to this season. The light has changed so much and I hope the plants will respond positively, but we will see. And it’s always interesting to see what has become of last year’s plantings. Some you win, some you lose.

  25. Pauline February 24, 2016 at 6:56 am - Reply

    Lovely to see your garden waking up, hasn’t it been wonderful, just knowing that we can get out gardening once more! I’m making the most of every opportunity, but there is so much tidying to do.
    I think a water pistol is the answer for your deer.

    • Jessica February 24, 2016 at 9:02 pm - Reply

      There is a huge amount to do. But being out there this afternoon was such a pleasure. If only we could get more days like this. I hadn’t thought of the water pistol. The squirrels might have to share it.

  26. Marianne February 24, 2016 at 8:28 am - Reply

    There always seems to exist a special muscle ache connected with gardening and boy does it feel good to have that back again for the first time this year, better dig out those back exercises! Gorgeous photos, love the rained on daffy buds in the sun. Your ptolomy is so gorgeous and doesn’t he know it. I’m waiting for my resident pheasant to bring his ladies into the garden, but no sign yet.. That hellebore in your photo show at the top is a beauty. Enjoy the next few sunny days but watch those sharpish nightfrosts.

    • Jessica February 24, 2016 at 9:13 pm - Reply

      Yes, Ptolemy definitely knows it. I have to confess this photo is an old one. While we were out photographing the hellebores Mr P was sunbathing in a bunch of daffs and I asked Mike to get a photo. But the camera jammed at the crucial moment! For some reason we seem to have a lot of males and only the occasional female. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way round?

  27. derrickjknight February 24, 2016 at 9:35 am - Reply

    Lovely pictures. We called last year’s visiting pheasant ‘Eric’ – don’t know why

    • Jessica February 24, 2016 at 9:13 pm - Reply

      Eric is a good name for a pheasant.

  28. homeslip February 24, 2016 at 9:41 am - Reply

    Perhaps you should get Mike to sport “Lynx” when he’s down in the woodland. Oh Jessica I do hope you have a good growing year. Gardening is and always will be the triumph of hope over experience but that is what keeps us going. Ptolemy doesn’t look real. In fact the first time I saw a photo of him on your blog I thought he was knitted, that’s what blog reading has done for me!

    • Jessica February 24, 2016 at 9:19 pm - Reply

      Isn’t Lynx the stuff that’s supposed to attract women from miles around, or am I getting my ads mixed up? Pheasants are magnificent birds. Why anyone would want to shoot them out of the sky I cannot fathom.

  29. Cathy February 24, 2016 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    ‘Already I can see greenhouse space at a premium’…. didn’t take long, did it Jessica?!

    • Jessica February 24, 2016 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      It never does.

  30. Donna@Gardens Eye View February 24, 2016 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    I need a week of warmer, sunny weather…3 ft of snow melting fast and then 3 inches of rain makes for a flooded garden…..your spring growth is what I needed to see! 🙂

    • Jessica February 24, 2016 at 9:23 pm - Reply

      Well if it’s melting at least winter is coming to an end. But a waterlogged garden is not a good thing. I think I lose more plants to that than I do to the cold.

  31. woolythymess February 24, 2016 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    i just picked a little bouquet of hellebores to take to a hort meeting this morning. Surprisingly, the flowers haven’t totally drooped. I love them so much this time of year and was so glad they weren’t victim to the renovators spade. Lost lots of things…(including my favorite tomato cage…go figure!), but the hellebores survived!!!

    • Jessica February 26, 2016 at 6:47 pm - Reply

      I hope this year your garden will be left in peace Steph and you’ll be able to spend some time in it!

  32. Alain February 25, 2016 at 1:24 am - Reply

    It is encouraging to look at your picture. If spring is slowly coming to your part of the world, it cannot be too long before it gets here too.

    • Jessica February 26, 2016 at 6:49 pm - Reply

      It seems to be coming in fits and starts. It’s still dry but cold again now. But it will happen eventually I’m sure. At least we have it to look forward to.

  33. Beth @ PlantPostings February 25, 2016 at 2:56 am - Reply

    Your Snowdrops are about to bloom. Yay! I can’t believe how far along your plants are. After all that rain, with a little sunshine they’ll go crazy with growth, right? I’m seeing little sprouts here and there, but it will still be a while before things get blooming around here. But there are definite signs of spring in the air!

    • Jessica February 26, 2016 at 6:51 pm - Reply

      The birds certainly think it’s Spring, the nest boxes are getting viewings! It won’t be long.

  34. Island Threads February 25, 2016 at 9:00 am - Reply

    now I understand your comment on my blog, I took my photo in a brief window of sunshine, earlier yesterday we had blizzard conditions, more snow over night, Jessica you would never have survived living in Scotland, the mainland has more snow than the islands and it’s cold with frozen ground, you have so much to be thankful for in your garden, Frances

    • Jessica February 26, 2016 at 6:54 pm - Reply

      I think I would have struggled with Scotland. But I’m cold sitting here tonight, the wind has returned and the balmy days already a distant memory. Wish I’d been born somewhere warm.

  35. pagedogs February 25, 2016 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    Oh my, you have my hands itching to get in some soil. Patience is the word here. Although I will be starting seeds next week.

    • Jessica February 26, 2016 at 6:55 pm - Reply

      The first seeds are starting to poke up in the propagator… basil. Not sure how they will feel when they come out of there, but it is progress in the right direction!

  36. Brian Skeys February 25, 2016 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    We have just had three days of sunshine and frost, wonderful. Your posting must of kick started it Jessica.

    • Jessica February 26, 2016 at 6:56 pm - Reply

      I may have spoken too soon..

  37. Janet/Plantaliscious February 25, 2016 at 9:16 pm - Reply

    Exciting, isn’t it. Sun and green shoots and seeds in the propagator. Hard not to get excited. Love the campanula nestled in the wall.

    • Jessica February 26, 2016 at 7:00 pm - Reply

      I thought the campanula looked especially good with the first of the new leaves poking out. They’re tiny, perfectly formed and hugging the contours of the wall. Once the plants start to fill out the delicate look will soon go.

  38. germac4 February 26, 2016 at 12:14 am - Reply

    Lovely to see your spring garden coming along and watery things are looking good to me as it is very dry here at the moment. Enjoy your planting..

    • Jessica February 26, 2016 at 7:02 pm - Reply

      I hope you get some rain soon. Wish I could send you some!

  39. Angie February 27, 2016 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    It’s all go there at Chez Rusty Duck now Jessica. Loved the glimpse of your favourite garden buddy 😉

    • Jessica February 28, 2016 at 10:07 am - Reply

      He is becoming something of a buddy. He was up on the bank with me yesterday. A couple of years ago I had two which would follow me around like a robin does. That was nice 🙂

  40. sweetbriardreams February 28, 2016 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    You’ve probably hit the nail on the head here, the deer probably smell no threat and with you not in the garden they think it’s a free restaurant! I’m itching to get out into the greenhouse to get started but I have a problem… not deer… men who think it is a shed for paint pots and tools!

    • Jessica February 28, 2016 at 10:32 pm - Reply

      Maybe speaking too soon, but I haven’t seen the deer the last couple of days.. not since we started work outside again. Fingers crossed!

  41. willisjw February 29, 2016 at 2:14 am - Reply

    I thought you were going to end with ‘Let’s get this snow on the road.’ We too are interested in moving on to Spring. I was trying to think of how to describe your blog to a friend who is a writer, homesteader, gardener, etc. and I ended up saying that it’s wonderful ‘She does everything you do, except she gets to do it in England’…

    • Jessica February 29, 2016 at 11:16 am - Reply

      Maybe it’s a case of the grass always being greener, but I’m not sure it’s such an advantage anymore getting to be in England. The west side of it at any rate. The climate is getting so wet it’s becoming a struggle to get things to grow. Perhaps I should just turn the whole thing into a bog garden!

  42. Peter/Outlaw March 1, 2016 at 5:38 am - Reply

    The return of spring birdsong and spring flowers are very welcome. A week without rain? How lucky are you?

    • Jessica March 1, 2016 at 7:29 pm - Reply

      Amazing, but true. I’m surprised the Met Office weren’t issuing drought warnings. Can you believe last week we had a severe weather warning for ice.. when it was just -1C?

  43. sarah March 8, 2016 at 7:32 pm - Reply

    Please may I know the name of the daffodil with a very frilly trumpet amongst the first photographs? I have just this minute discovered your lovely blog, after wanting that daffodil for years and years.

    • Jessica March 8, 2016 at 8:36 pm - Reply

      Hi Sarah and welcome!
      I wish I could tell you but I’m afraid I don’t know for sure. They were planted here when we bought the house. I have had a quick search online and the closest I can find is Narcissus ‘Telamonius Plenus’ which also appears to go under the name of ‘Van Sion’. Sorry I can’t be of more help, but hope this is a start. Otherwise trying searching under ‘double daffodil’, there are a few to choose from.

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