Well It Could Have Been Worse..


The snow didn’t last long.

Fortunately the garage is at the top of the hill.




 Bunny tracks

By the following day it had already started to melt, taking with it the evidence of the very many creatures which roam through during the night. Up until now I’d assumed that the deer stayed mainly at the lower level of the garden, down by the river. Not so. There were slot marks all over the Precipitous Bank.



And whatever followed this route took its life in its hands.. The drop over the edge is at least four feet with solid concrete below.




But the snow has now gone and I can’t say I’m sorry. We recorded a low of -7C with a reported windchill of -12C. That is cold for this part of the UK. The tour of inspection was undertaken with some trepidation, not least for a gardener who pushes the boundaries of hardiness to the limit and most probably beyond. There is one known casualty. A cucumber seedling. It’s not too late to re-sow.



Phormium ‘Chocomint’

The most tender plants find themselves a place on the south facing terraces, sheltered from the worst of the weather and enjoying the benefit of any warmth retained in the stone walls. It seems to work although drainage could definitely be improved.


Cistus argenteus 'Silver Pink'


Cistus argenteus ‘Silver Pink’, against the winter bleached leaves of Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’

A little the worse for wear perhaps but it should survive.



Hellebore, random seedling


Having mentioned that it felt like Spring just a couple of posts ago I am keeping my mouth firmly shut this time. On Tuesday, buoyed by a Met Office forecast suggesting that temperatures were on the rise (no frost for at least a week), I planted out two hellebores, cut back several grasses and began the job of pruning the roses. The following morning we woke to a further dusting of snow and a temperature of -2C, five whole degrees below the advertised minimum. Oh well, hellebores and roses are tough old things.


Magnolia 'Leonard Messel'


Magnolia ‘Leonard Messel’

I’ve had this Magnolia about six years. At its most floriferous it has managed a sum total of three blooms. This year it is smothered in buds. Finally. I’ve been watching them gently swell all winter and so far it’s looking good.


Anemanthele lessoniana


Anemanthele lessoniana, backlit in the low afternoon sun


At last the days are noticeably lengthening. It is almost 6.30 p.m. as I write and there is still light left in the sky. All we need now is a bit of a dry spell and I can really get cracking. Near the top of the extensive to do list.. prune a honeysuckle that has vastly over extended its space and move an abutilon that I carelessly planted in too much shade. It’s the right time of year to do both. It’s also the right time of year for the blackbirds to start nesting.



See her? Upper centre of the shot.

She has the run of the garden. So where does she choose? The very spot on the tool shed wall where the aforementioned honeysuckle and the abutilon meet. I really do give up.