It Never Rains But It Pours

Omphalodes cappadocica ‘Starry Eyes’


Isn’t it fortuitous that at the end of the last End of Month Review I declared progress would be made.. weather permitting. Perhaps, on this occasion, I had better not make the same mistake.  This month has been a washout. True, there have been occasional pleasant days. Last weekend being a case in point. But I dread to think how many inches of precipitation fell over the preceding days. And, sure enough, the wet stuff is falling once again. Mike blames himself. Justifiably I have to say. Can you think of anything more reckless than ordering ice cream with the grocery delivery, on the basis of three sunny days in March?

And so, I fear, little gardening has been done. There really isn’t much choice when a wellie placed upon the soil results in a foot shaped hole which instantly fills up with water.







If anything it looks even more bare now because I’ve trimmed back the old fern leaves to allow the new ones to grow unhindered. Please avert your eyes from the growing carpet of weeds at the top of the bank. The rain has much to answer for, does it not. I’ve also gone another round with the Enchanter’s Nightshade, a battle I suspect I will be fighting every month for as long as I continue to garden here.


Itoh Peony 'Pastel Splendour'


Itoh Peony ‘Pastel Splendour’

There’s even been some planting. Four new grasses have found a home on this bit of the hill, they’re a struggle to spot I know, plus this little beauty. Purchased last year and looking satisfyingly healthy I am expecting great things. Or at least living in hope.







I made a start on the bank which runs alongside the 84 Steps. Not as much as I’d have liked but enough to prove that the effort will be worthwhile. The oil pipe stays unburied for now. Best to have it where I, and the tines of the garden fork, can see it loud and clear. In due course the planting will serve to cover it up. Even Mike has bought into that argument, knowing as he does the consequences of a misplaced prong. Just a pity the wretched thing has to be brilliant white..



Ferns have taken over this border.

I want to retain a few nicely positioned clumps, others will go to allow for more varied planting.



And this is my nemesis. Worse even than the common montbretia. Possibly. The emerging foliage of the Spanish bluebell. There are hundreds of them all over the garden. I can’t imagine what possessed anyone to plant this stuff, not when the woods are teeming with the native English variety. For the sake of preserving the latter I’m afraid the European invaders are coming out. Easier said than done. It will be down to a war of attrition, as with so many things. Haul out the leaves every time they appear and surely, eventually, the bulb will give up?

If life was fair the voles would find them good to eat. Sadly their tastes are far more expensive.


Epimedium x cantabrigense


Epimedium x cantabrigense

Further up the 84 Steps epimediums are starting to appear. I do so love these diminutive little woodlanders. So hard to photograph though on a wet and windy day.



Epimedium ‘Amber Queen’


In other news..



Oh deer. Oh deer.

“But don’t you love my new furry antlers?”



So pleased with the zoom on the bridge camera I took with me to Australia. These shots taken from my desk, through a not so brilliantly clean window, focused way down at the bottom of the garden where the river is a raging torrent thanks to all the rain.



Ivy Stripping

Ahhh.. I’ll have them on the payroll yet.


In better news..


This month I’ve been totally surprised, but delighted, to be voted Best Gardener Blog by Waltons. If you voted for me, thank you so much! rusty duck also features on the list of 13 Top Gardening Blogs You Need To Check Out at WhatShed.


And finally..



Last week we stopped off at facebook buddy Helen Brown’s garden, Little Ash Farm, to pick up a couple of Phlomis she had going spare. As you can see, she was far more generous than that..



Here they all are, planted temporarily in the veg garden and looking perky in the rain.

Helen opens her garden, near Honiton, for the NGS twice this year: Sunday 4 June, Sunday 20 August (12 – 5pm). It is a stunning garden developed by that rare beast, a plantswoman with an eye for design. With the glorious backdrop of Devon hills what more could you possibly want? Here’s a shot from my visit last summer..



I do hope when we go back this time around I won’t find too many gaps..


Linking to Helen Johnstone at The Patient Gardener for the End of Month View (here).

and Sarah at Down By The Sea for Through The Garden Gate (here).

Click through to see what other gardeners are up to this month. Or why not join in? Helen and Sarah would both love to see you.


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