Oh, Come On Spring!


The garden is sulking. It would be fair to say the gardener likewise.

But Spring will come. Eventually. In the meantime it seems everything is on hold. In the precious few dry interludes I’ve made a start at clearing up the borders. There’s a limit to how far I can wander as for the most part the soil is still saturated. On the terraces the retaining walls allow for one foot at least to rest on something solid. Until, that is, they too acquire a coating of wet and slippery mud. The gardener, tottering on the edge but persistent in her struggle against the resident ground ivy, hauls out deeply rooted stems almost in defiance of the four foot drop to the level below.

Yesterday I clipped back the withered stems of an agapanthus only to instantly regret it in the face of tender young shoots now exposed to the full impact of the threatened sub-zero nights. Cue much scrambling about in the potting shed in search of a cloche.


Enkianthus campanulatus


Enkianthus campanulatus


Leycesteria formosa aurea 'Goldleaf'


The pink tinged emerging leaves of Leycesteria formosa aurea ‘Goldleaf’. The whole shrub now boasts a glorious rosy glow especially, as here, in the early morning light. The drops of moisture from thawing frost an added bonus. It’s not all doom and gloom.


If the forecast is to be believed we should escape the worst of ‘Beast From The East 3’ which could bring yet more snow to northern areas of the UK. But there is still no sign of warmer Spring weather on the immediate horizon. And of course if it doesn’t fall as snow it surely will as rain. Indeed, Devon now has a severe weather warning in place for all four days of the Easter weekend.


Petasites palmatus 'Golden Palms'


Petasites palmatus ‘Golden Palms’

It’s not only the weather that should carry a health warning. Petasites is a thug. I bought it, oh goodness, at least a couple of years ago and heeled it into the veg plot for temporary safe keeping. Where it has promptly taken over. It needs to go somewhere with plenty of space, a bit of afternoon shade and moist soil. Down by the river would be ideal. Except that means a fair bit of new ground preparation. There are a number of plants languishing in that same ‘Too Hard’ box. While it waits, in full sun which clearly restricts its ambition not a jot, the Petasites festoons the raised bed with these other-worldly dumbbells each Spring. I know, the longer I leave it the harder will be the job of relocating it. But it should do well by the river..



Local residents permitting. Enjoying their lunch earlier today.


Podophyllum versipelle 'Spotty Dotty'


Podophyllum versipelle ‘Spotty Dotty’

Talking of other-worldly.. so pleased to see that Dotty has made it through the winter.


Peony shoots


The bizarre new shoots of herbaceous peony.


Muscari latifolium


Muscari latifolium

And another curiosity. Deep purple, almost black, blooms sporting a bright blue topknot. The molluscs clearly don’t know what to make of it either. Been, seen, but not conquered. Good.


Acer palmatum 'Dissectum Garnet'


Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum Garnet’

A winter sale purchase stuffed into the greenhouse pro tem, it has come into leaf much earlier than any of its brethren already in the ground. I’m in the process of hardening it off (days outside, nights back in the frost free greenhouse) so that hopefully it won’t be too long before it can enjoy the benefit of the prime spot I have lined up for it. Planting on clay in this weather is hopeless. Just how do you nestle soil lightly around the roots when what you have comes out of the ground in thick sticky clods?


Prunus incisa 'Kojo-no-mai'


Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’

It’s also still a young plant.. I hope in future years the Fuji cherry will be covered in these dainty pale pink bells come early Spring.


Perhaps I should be planting more small trees and shrubs. Too many perennials have fallen victim to either the excessive wet or those who munch. And yet I can’t remember having ever lost a shrub. An unsuccessful move or an overly enthusiastic pruning yes maybe, but not a new planting. While trees and shrubs are initially more expensive they do at least seem to last the distance. Investment in deer guards might nevertheless be prudent. And besides, I’m getting no younger. Establishing shrubs now will mean less need for maintenance later on. Well that’s the theory.


And finally..



Sadly Mrs Blackbird’s nest was raided when it contained two eggs.

I feared for the worst having seen the number of black feathers scattered on the ground beneath it. But there is still a female blackbird hopping around the immediate vicinity and we now hope she escaped the attack and has started up again some place new, possibly in the lonicera hedge behind the dustbins. Which means I can now move the abutilon. Especially as in a light bulb moment on opening the bedroom blind the other morning I alighted on The Most Perfect Spot.

Plans, plans, plans. Plenty of things to add to a list. Now all it needs is for the rain to stop and the sun to come out. If only.


Whatever the weather, have a lovely Easter weekend.


Linking to Sarah’s Through The Garden Gate (here) and Helen’s End of Month View (here) where Spring is busting out all over!