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!

 
 
 
 

2018-04-01T17:00:17+00:00March 30th, 2018|Tags: |

87 Comments

  1. Jayne Hill March 30, 2018 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    Lovely to catch up with Duck Towers, you are right that Spring is so late but I suspect we will go out one weekend and come back to find everything has put on a fortnight’s growth in 48 hours.

    Interesting to read you are considering changing the balance from perennials to more shrubs – exctly the same thinking going on here, for much the same reasons.

    • Jessica March 31, 2018 at 12:18 pm - Reply

      It makes sense doesn’t it, in the long run. I end up replacing so many perennials year on year. If I bothered to keep records I would no doubt find that it would have been cheaper to invest in shrubs in the first place. Shrubs and really tough perennials. I have been here long enough now to know what works and what doesn’t.

  2. Pauline March 30, 2018 at 8:27 pm - Reply

    I spoke too soon when I wrote my last post, we had snow all afternoon today! Thank goodness it doesn’t seem to be sticking. I’m trying to simplify the garden as I get older and have decided that flowering shrubs and bulbs are the way to go, with lots of ground cover!
    I think I’ll start building an ark!

    • Jessica March 31, 2018 at 12:22 pm - Reply

      Keep a space for me on the ark!
      I was looking at the weather radar yesterday and East Devon did seem to be under a fair bit of bad weather. Didn’t realise it was snow though! Bit closer than I thought. Every time we get another taste of winter I think perhaps this will be the end of it. Surely, surely, we must be almost there.

  3. pollymacleod March 30, 2018 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    Your garden may be sulking Jessica but it still looks mighty fine to me. Spring is on it’s way, although I remember snow at Easter many years ago! We’ve had a lot of rain the last couple of days, and more forecast for next week. I know they eat stuff but the deer are lovely to look at. It’s so sad when bird’s nest get raided, I hope Mrs Blackbird is successful next time, they are one of my favourite birds. Hope you found a cloche. Look on the rain as good planning weather! Have a good weekend.

    • Jessica March 31, 2018 at 12:27 pm - Reply

      I do love having the deer. If only they would keep to their bit of the garden and leave me to mine! We would seem to have a family of four. Don’t see much of the male, most recently a few weeks ago when he turned up to do what males do. It may mean the female is pregnant again. The other two are her youngsters from last year.

  4. Vera Coe March 30, 2018 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    Sighing as I write this, Jessica, because my gardening efforts have been minimal since we came here ten years ago, and you have done so tremendously well. But I am determined to make a super duper effort this year, totally inspired by your loveliness of your space.

    • Jessica March 31, 2018 at 12:31 pm - Reply

      It’s far more of a struggle gardening here than I ever imagined. Sometimes it does take a super duper effort and there are days when I’ve had to dig deep, literally and metaphorically! I’m sure your climate will make it far easier. Good luck and looking forward to watching what you do.

  5. Diana Studer March 30, 2018 at 11:49 pm - Reply

    So much more rewarding to have a shrub full of flowers!

    • Jessica March 31, 2018 at 1:55 pm - Reply

      And if I choose carefully, something in bloom at any time of the year!

  6. Kris P March 31, 2018 at 12:11 am - Reply

    It’s almost impossible for me to get my head around the concept of saturated soil. Still, I sympathize with the general notion of working around challenges posed by weather. Your post has also prompted early stages of peony envy. Best wishes with removal (or management?) of the ground ivy and the relocation of the abutilon. Happy Easter too!

    • Jessica March 31, 2018 at 2:03 pm - Reply

      I always thought I’d prefer gardening in your climate, in spite of its challenges. I think that’s still the case. I’d worry about the long term implications of the drought, especially given Cape Town’s experience this year, but to live with almost constant grey skies and rain.. that is unthinkable, believe me. I’m still searching for the Goldilocks island. Along with six billion other people no doubt.

  7. Indie March 31, 2018 at 3:26 am - Reply

    You definitely have signs of spring! It is so hard to wait, though, when the weather is bad, I know! Most of our snow is finally melted, and even though there is a little more in the forecast, I think it has finally turned to spring here. The first daffodil just opened and declared it so! Happy Easter, and I hope you get some sun!

    • Jessica March 31, 2018 at 2:08 pm - Reply

      Oh Vive La Spring! It is very hard to wait. There is rain every day in the next week’s forecast. The trouble is the ground is so sodden now it needs a week to dry out and that’s just not happening. And then, with clay soil, there’s a window of just days before it bakes so hard it’s solid!

  8. Ali March 31, 2018 at 6:58 am - Reply

    Beautiful photos! I especially love your muscari and maple photos! I am actually resorting to reading a book, as I can’t garden! I would normally be far too busy this weekend! Hopefully next weekend will be drier.

    • Jessica March 31, 2018 at 2:13 pm - Reply

      Enjoy a quiet weekend! I’ve decided to do some repotting. The greenhouse leaks so I get dripped on but it’s better than nothing. 🙁

  9. germac4 March 31, 2018 at 7:46 am - Reply

    Lovely photos, and everything is growing beautifully, I hope you take photos of the herbaceous peony as it grows, it is looking very promising, and as for spotty dotty, I don’t know that one, but would love to see the summer version. The deer look worryingly close to the garden! Happy gardening in your gumboots!

    • Jessica March 31, 2018 at 4:37 pm - Reply

      The deer are in the lower part of the garden, the picture was taken from inside the house! It was through a window and the light levels were abysmal so not a bad photo considering. I can see them now as I sit at my desk. But the river that was bubbling along quite nicely yesterday has been a white water torrent today.

  10. Sam March 31, 2018 at 9:29 am - Reply

    It’s incredibly frustrating, isn’t it! All this cold and rain… I love your muscari – ours are the bog-standard all-blue ones but they’re cheering me up massively at the moment. My husband and I were talking about shrubs the other day – they could be the way to go! The sun is actually out right now, so I must get going and try to do something outside before it rains again. Happy Easter, Jessica.

    • Jessica March 31, 2018 at 4:40 pm - Reply

      I reckon I have a window of opportunity tomorrow morning before the next weather warning kicks in. But it changes so quickly, who knows. Shrubs should work well for you too. There must be quite a few that can tolerate coastal conditions.

  11. derrickjknight March 31, 2018 at 10:50 am - Reply

    How Jackie identified, as she read this out before I got to it. Excellent photos nevertheless

    • Jessica March 31, 2018 at 4:42 pm - Reply

      It can’t go on forever, can it? Jackie must be as frustrated as I am, it’s been no better in your neck of the woods I know.

  12. Anna March 31, 2018 at 11:46 am - Reply

    I hope that your weather forecast for the Eastertide isn’t as damp and dismal as predicted Jessica. Fabulous photos as usual. The emerging ‘Spotty Dotty’ could be an umbrella for little folk. Enjoy the weekend and I hope that you manage to grab some time out in the garden.

    • Jessica March 31, 2018 at 4:46 pm - Reply

      Spotty Dotty does come up looking like an umbrella and how appropriate. If there are any little folk in the garden I hope they are finding a bit of shelter there. They will probably need to turf the slugs out first.

  13. Mary March 31, 2018 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    Sorry for the continuing wetness and delay in spring. Our March was colder than a normal January up until a day or two ago when the temps hit 26c. This just a week after we had 20cm of snow. No wonder spring is confused. It seems overnight that things are budding and blooming in less subtle ways than all your lovely discoveries. Hope for a bit of drying out for you so that you can move out into the garden without fear of slippage. Happy Easter weekend.

    • Jessica March 31, 2018 at 4:55 pm - Reply

      Thanks Mary. Gosh, 26c, I’ve almost forgotten how good that feels! It had certainly been a mild winter here up until the beginning of March. It’s hard to know how it’s going to go these days, the climate changes so much. But in the brief moments when the sun is out I can feel there is more warmth in it now. It won’t be long!

  14. Rosie March 31, 2018 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    Spring is a long time coming this year and our garden is looking drab and uncared for, the lawns sopping with water and the pond almost overflowing. yes, come on Spring:)

    • Jessica March 31, 2018 at 4:58 pm - Reply

      It is certainly very, very wet. But how good is it going to feel when it does finally warm up.. so looking forward to that first cup of coffee outdoors!

  15. Freda March 31, 2018 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    If it is any comfort you have a lot more growing than we have here! Patience is the name of the game – and fleece on and fleece off – me and the plants!

    • Jessica March 31, 2018 at 5:06 pm - Reply

      The fleece for me hasn’t come off this year yet. And sometimes I’ve had two layers of fleece..

  16. Torrington Tina March 31, 2018 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    Mt TT and I have a feeling that spring will appear at the start of summer and optimistically it will all run in to one glorious season lasting for AGES this year. I love the Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’, I bought one recently and have kept it in its pot on the steps outside the back door where I can look at it frequently. A reminder it is trying to be spring!

    • Jessica March 31, 2018 at 5:10 pm - Reply

      One thing I have noticed since moving down here.. if we have a very warm March the summer which follows it is usually awful. I’m hoping the reverse is true.

  17. bittster March 31, 2018 at 4:06 pm - Reply

    I hope you are able to move on from this wet and cold weather. April is no time to be complaining about snow!
    Your plans will come together I’m sure. I was just admiring how nice the lonicera hedge looks now that it’s grown in and it gives me hope for my own tiny plantings. Have a happy Easter!

    • Jessica March 31, 2018 at 5:14 pm - Reply

      Thanks Frank. The lonicera hedge has grown quite well. There are still some gaps at the bottom which I’ll fill in with cuttings if it doesn’t do it itself this year. The main problem is the rapid growth, particularly as I want to keep it low. I’m forever trimming it in the summer!

  18. Susan Garrett March 31, 2018 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    The cold wet weather doesn’t let up does it? We seem to be grabbing bits of gardening time in between the miserable weather. Unfortunately we may suffer more snow which won’t impress the frogs that have just arrived.

    • Jessica March 31, 2018 at 5:42 pm - Reply

      No, it won’t. I’ve noticed the seed in the bird feeder doesn’t go down nearly as quickly on the cold and wet days, especially wet. They just hunker down where they can find some shelter I suppose. And who can blame them.

  19. Jenni Dennis March 31, 2018 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    You’ve had a tough winter! Potentially more sub-zero weather this weekend? I hope it ends soon. It’s been quite mild by comparison in my neck of the woods and yet…..spring is slow. (or I am impatient..maybe? 🙂 I have been reducing my perennial beds as well. I’ve been fighting a few spots for years…determinded to make perennials stick. How much $ have I wasted on replacing plants year over year? Unknown. I’m throwing in the towel and have been planting collector conifers and shrubs. Hoping a warmer spring comes your way soon!

    • Jessica April 1, 2018 at 7:06 pm - Reply

      I’ve tried the perennials I love so many times, echinacea, helenium for example and have finally had to admit they just aren’t going to work for me here. I shall stick to those that do, like persicaria and grasses, to give me movement and colour. It will make life so much easier. We’re always impatient for Spring, we wouldn’t be gardeners otherwise!

  20. offtheedgegardening March 31, 2018 at 9:58 pm - Reply

    You have an enkianthus? More reasons than before to visit. The photo of the emerging peony is wonderful. Keep warm, keep hopeful x

    • Jessica April 1, 2018 at 7:09 pm - Reply

      I have a small and rather wonky enkianthus. Not a patch on the elegant specimen I saw at Wisley many years ago which instantly propelled it to the top of the want list. I think I probably need to research how to prune it properly, if indeed at all. I’m glad you like the peony shot, I had to hunker down in a puddle to get it!

  21. Beth @ PlantPostings March 31, 2018 at 11:01 pm - Reply

    Ha! I enjoyed your header. My garden is in much the same state–waiting, waiting, and more waiting. You are a little ahead of me, actually, because my Podophyllums haven’t broken through the soil yet. Usually, I think, you would be way ahead of me this time of year. As you say, spring will happen…eventually. 🙂

    • Jessica April 1, 2018 at 7:13 pm - Reply

      Our winter hasn’t been nearly as harsh as you routinely endure, we’re just not used to it so it hits hard. One inch of snow and the country grinds to a halt. Pathetic really. But I would normally expect to be in the garden up and running again by March so this year is quite exceptional. Very frustrating.

  22. Heyjude April 1, 2018 at 1:05 am - Reply

    Despite the weather you do seem to have some lovelies in your garden Jessica. I have also managed to pop out between showers to remove some of the blackened foliage, though the wind is still frigid here. I have noticed that my lawn (what’s left of it as I removed some last year to create more room for flowers) is quite waterlogged. Perhaps I need to change tack and create a bog garden! Only been here two years and already I am confused as to what to do with this garden. My desire was for a southern hemisphere style, but most of the tender plantings have not survived the snow and freezing temperatures. So maybe I need to rethink the design. Hopefully though the S&S have suffered from the cold (slugs and snails). Hardy shrubs and perennials may well be the way to go.

    • Jessica April 1, 2018 at 7:20 pm - Reply

      I did exactly the same when we moved down here. Even though we are some distance from the coast I did expect it to be a lot milder than it is. But we’re also in a valley and a natural frost pocket which doesn’t help. Wet and cold are not a good combination. I’m going fully hardy now, with a few little tasty things under cover to keep me challenged! S&S were doing very well for themselves up until the beginning of March. It’s about time the population was balanced a bit.

  23. Cathy April 1, 2018 at 8:36 am - Reply

    And there are so many different shrubs to consider, with foliage and blooms as well as shape and form to add interest…

    • Jessica April 1, 2018 at 7:25 pm - Reply

      Indeed there are. And I won’t give up with perennials entirely. The trouble is so many these days are short lived and need perfect conditions in which to thrive. I’m slowly getting to know which work and which don’t. It’s an expensive learning curve.

  24. Christina April 1, 2018 at 8:45 am - Reply

    Sorry it is so wet for you. I hope you did escape the snow, I read that Pauline had more snow and I know you’re not so far from her. Here it is the wind that is the enemy of this gardener. But as you say spring pushes determinedly on regardless.

    • Jessica April 1, 2018 at 7:28 pm - Reply

      It’s been a strange month all over Europe. Hopefully April will bring us all better weather. I’m so looking forward to feeling the sun on my back again!

  25. Brian Skeys April 1, 2018 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    I hope you have some sunshine today Jessica. Happy Easter.

    • Jessica April 1, 2018 at 7:30 pm - Reply

      No sun but I did get the morning outside in relatively dry weather. But gosh it was cold, that easterly wind goes right through you. Thanks Brian.

  26. London Cottage Garden April 2, 2018 at 9:27 am - Reply

    Your photos are stunning – really beautiful. I’m off to get the Leycesteria as your pic reminds me how great that are and I had to take one out as it had got too big but they really are so useful and graceful. thanks for a lovely to read blog and very thought provoking.

    • Jessica April 2, 2018 at 5:29 pm - Reply

      Thanks Julie. I cut my Leycesteria down to almost half at this time of year which keeps it compact. Also I think the gold leaf one is shorter than the species. I grew them from seed and got a green leaf rogue.. it is enormous!

  27. Linda P April 2, 2018 at 10:26 am - Reply

    An interesting post, Jessica. Your photos of leaves and shoots are beautiful. It’s amazing what you can see and capture on a photo when you look closely at nature. Here the ground is waterlogged too with spongy, squelchy grass that’s unpleasant to walk on to look at the flower beds. I know there’s a lot going on though as plants begin to shoot up through the soil. I don’t know what the weather is like for you today, but here we’ve had snow again in the night. It’s raining now so I hope that it melts quickly. Apparently the weather is wet and cold in Lazio so it’s just as well we couldn’t get out there as little work would have got done in the garden. Happy Easter Monday and all the best during April days.

    • Jessica April 2, 2018 at 5:33 pm - Reply

      We escaped the snow but still have the bitter wind, it makes doing anything outside an exercise in endurance. I’m just really hoping that April will bring an upturn. For Lazio too! Have a great time Linda.

  28. Caro April 2, 2018 at 10:48 am - Reply

    With the amount of weeds coming up in my garden, I’d say spring is definitely on the way. Your peonies are ahead of mine – I noticed a couple of buds yesterday when poking around. What is the plant growing around it? We escaped further snow in London this weekend but the temps were noticeably chillier. They now seem to be climbing very slowly again – fingers crossed because buds on my fruit trees are opening and I’d like to be rewarded with some quince this year! Btw, get that Petasites moved; we have it here, contained in a walled border but it’s rampant. I could forgive that but the flowers last for a few days, then turn all mushy and are gone. Not a top performer but perhaps yours is different.

    • Jessica April 2, 2018 at 5:40 pm - Reply

      The plant growing around the peony is the ubiquitous Devon moss! It is everywhere this year. I’m pulling out great chunks of it as I progress through the borders. But it’s so wet, the reason it’s there, that a whole load of earth comes up with it which is hard to separate out. Over the summer it’s much easier to eradicate but it is always back again the following winter. The petasites flowers don’t last long, I grow it mainly for the golden leaves and the fact it makes good ground cover. If the deer turn their noses up then it will help cover a lot of ground in what will one day be a bog garden.

  29. Alistair April 2, 2018 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    Even less sign of Spring further North. Have a great gardening season, I look forward to sharing the goings on at rusty duck.

    • Jessica April 2, 2018 at 5:43 pm - Reply

      Thanks Alistair. We can only hope for a good summer. I had so many great plans, now I just need the time and the weather to get started. It’s very frustrating.

  30. welshhillsagain April 2, 2018 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    So ready for spring now and there are primroses and daffodils and crocus and things sprouting but this morning’s snow was the end. I need sunshine and a warm breeze. please

    • Jessica April 2, 2018 at 5:48 pm - Reply

      I second that! It’s the cold breeze that is the worst I think. I have kind of got used to the overcast skies in the west and even a bit of drizzle. But I can’t be doing with being freezing cold despite enough layers to take on the Michelin Man.

  31. snowbird April 2, 2018 at 10:21 pm - Reply

    Some stunning pics here, despite the dismal start to spring. I loved spotty dotty and the deer. Poor Mrs blackbird, nature takes no prisoners, it’s the same around here. Here’s to better weather.xxx

    • Jessica April 5, 2018 at 10:15 pm - Reply

      I did see a female blackbird carrying nest material around this week so I’m hoping that it is indeed the same one and that she has started again. Where, I now don’t know. Let’s hope she can keep the location secret for longer this time.

  32. Linda from Each Little World April 3, 2018 at 4:11 am - Reply

    Your garden is going full throttle compared to mine. Very little showing here and still the cold weather continues.

    • Jessica April 5, 2018 at 10:17 pm - Reply

      At last it seems we may be faring better. A whole day outside today. Without a coat. We even sat out for lunch. I hope that wasn’t tempting fate..

  33. Jacqueline Mumford April 3, 2018 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    Let’s hope that we have now seen the end of the wet weather and that it’s full speed ahead to Spring !!! Since we split our hostas a couple of weeks ago it’s been raining ever since and we haven’t been beyond the back door !! XXXX

    • Jessica April 5, 2018 at 10:21 pm - Reply

      Well the hostas will have enjoyed the wet stuff. So will the slugs. It’s amazing how quickly it can turn though, especially if like us you garden on clay. Give it a week and I’ll be begging for rain!

  34. Sue C. April 3, 2018 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    Well – that was a wet Easter! Hope you managed to keep dry. Plenty of flooded fields here in Somerset. Interesting comments about shrubs – I planted a new border with a backbone of shrubs last year – and am pleased with the effect. I’m a perennial girl really – even a Prairie planting and grasses girl – but shrubs have a lot going for them – especially in a large garden. Wonderful close-up photos on this posting – can i be bold and ask what camera? Enjoy the brighter weather.

    • Jessica April 5, 2018 at 10:32 pm - Reply

      I’m also a perennial girl and definitely prairie and grasses. I have given up on some of the daisy flowered perennials, echinacea and helenium, they just don’t survive. Grasses do. And I’ve split and replanted persicaria and astrantia on the bank today so I’m not giving up entirely. I mostly use a Nikon Coolpix bridge camera, B700. The zoom on it is great and the macro facility. Landscapes Mike’s DSLR is better because it picks up more detail.

  35. Mark and Gaz April 4, 2018 at 11:27 am - Reply

    Quite frustrating with all this wet weather we’re having but great to see all those signs of spring in your garden!

    • Jessica April 5, 2018 at 10:34 pm - Reply

      It’ll just need a few days of warmer weather and things will really get going. There’s even some of that in the forecast.. this time next week it could really feel like Spring!

  36. woolythymes April 4, 2018 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    we’ve been having a few ‘teasers’….but snow is once again predicted for this weekend. Why? I’m so ready to start complaining about weeding!!!

    • Jessica April 5, 2018 at 10:37 pm - Reply

      You will be able to complain about the weeding soon enough. I reckon today was the first day of our Spring this year. And I’m already getting overwhelmed.

  37. Benjamin April 4, 2018 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the lovely trip through your garden! That Fuji cherry will be spectacular when it comes into its own. Cheers to spring!

    • Jessica April 5, 2018 at 10:39 pm - Reply

      Hi Benjamin! Cheers indeed. Yes I have great hopes for the Fuji cherry. I’ve seen several in gardens and it really is a cracker.

  38. Charles April 4, 2018 at 10:10 pm - Reply

    You are on Dartmoor probably 60 miles away. You are higher up, exposed and weather beaten and yet you are at least two weeks ahead of me! My acers are still refusing to break into leaf, even the one facing south with a snug wall behind it, my winston Churchill daffodils are still not out and the plants in the greenhouse have barricaded themselves in and are not coming out until the rain stops. This causes problems as in the greenhouse it is spring and so they are growing out of control. This is beginning to look like a time management problem, maybe I need to outsource it….

    • Jessica April 5, 2018 at 10:50 pm - Reply

      This was the problem with my acer. I put it in the greenhouse temporarily and it has responded to the untypical microclimate by coming out in full leaf. Time management is always the problem at this time of year. Hope you had a better day today. My first full day in the garden and don’t I now feel it. Muscles hurt just lifting a wine glass.
      We’re a bit off the moor. Probably similar to you climate wise. The valley offers some protection though.. for those plants in the Goldilocks zone. Below the wind but above the frost pocket.

  39. hb April 5, 2018 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    I think Spring is spending some extra time in California this year. Sorry. May your Spring, when it arrives, never ends, and my Summer, when it looms, never actually arrive.

    Munchers–do they have an appetite for Petasites? Surely that would bring balance.

    I hope Mrs. Blackbird is ultimately successful.

    • Jessica April 5, 2018 at 10:56 pm - Reply

      It might bring some balance, you’re right. If it’s given long enough to establish in the first place. The munchers have big appetites. I came across another rabbit burrow today, right in the middle of one of my borders. And this evening Ptolemy pheasant and his new love have been trampling through looking for a nest site. Sometimes I wonder who owns this place. Actually I do know. They do.

  40. Charles April 5, 2018 at 11:31 pm - Reply

    All broad beans in today, 30 out of 32 came up, I think 93%. Very boring I know but last year I think germination was less than 50% for all beans, broad and French, I had to go out and buy more. I have abandoned the French beans and their limited space has been given over to asparagus, I have ideas above my station. I bought 18 three year old crowns and shoe horned them into much too small a space. I know we will not live here for ever, it’s too big to manage, so I thought I would go in for a dense array, if the plants are exhausted after five years, well it won’t be my problem.

    Dense array is how you arrange your nuclear missiles so that if someone tries to blow them up the debris thrown into the sky by the first missile strike will destroy the subsequent incoming missiles. I am hopeful that my dense array will confuse my airborne foes, pidgeons and their vindictive side kicks the sparrows. Onions sets pulled up and left, beetroot eaten alive as you watch, salads murdered in cold blood. Surely a little nuclear strike technology is needed to balance up the odds. I have not gone down the chemical warfare route against the slugs as I do not need Porton Down on my Christmas card list. In theory the slugs are food for the birds, but mine appear to be vegetarian, never mind this is what I retired to do, grow a few veg and sneak off fishing now and again.

    • Jessica April 6, 2018 at 7:54 am - Reply

      You have described, perfectly, why I have pretty much given up growing veg. Asparagus though, now I would be very tempted to try that. What eats it? Other than you of course but I gather it’s limited in supply for the first couple of years. I know what would happen. I would restrict my harvest for the sake of the plants and the slugs, not known for strategic foresight, would scoff the lot.
      I would suggest you try nematodes. Except that I know, like most other so called slug deterrents, they don’t work. The nuclear option is probably the only way. If we found a way to come back and visit in 2 million years we would probably find slugs, by virtue of their sheer numbers, had taken over the world. What a gruesome thought.

  41. Charles April 6, 2018 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    Asparagus is pretty much grass so it’s quite tough…oh no, what’s this? The asparagus beetle. I am replacing ghastly suburban rolls of vertical little logs with lavender to make mini hedges. It worked in the veg patch, that was two years ago and my back is two years older. I like broad beans, they get black fly, I spray with fairy liquid in a bottle, we share the beans. Last year the black fly won. Like a good First World War general I am still fighting last years battles….

    • Jessica April 7, 2018 at 7:14 pm - Reply

      At least you are still fighting.
      Last year I bought six lavender on an autumn half price deal to put a border across the ugly frontage of the greenhouse. They’ve done brilliantly in the cold frame over winter so I’m encouraged by your two years longevity. I shall still be planting them with a lorry load of grit. It’s a risk in this oh-so-wet climate. We had to have the car towed out of a field today.. it really is getting ridiculous.

  42. Charles April 9, 2018 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    There is another weather warning over this region for rain overnight. My lavender is on clay but it is 2 feet up from the lowest level of lawn, which the builder told me he had made into a soak away. Therefore the private little lawn, facing south and sheltered is a swamp for 4 months of the year. That is what you get for house hunting in the summer. However it does mean that the lavender does ok, there is an awful lot of lavender around here, some huge monsters that have been allowed to get well out of control, they are all on slopes. I think lavender is pretty tough, the south of France does get very wet and cold in the winter after all, but the drainage is good.

    Per adua ad aster, as the RAF did not say, or “Weed it and weep” the unauthorised biography of Gertrude Jekyll and my dwarf mulberry has succumbed, even in a sheltered south facing pot.

    • Jessica April 9, 2018 at 10:26 pm - Reply

      I remember reading, albeit a few years ago, that in view of climate change the West Country (Somerset in particular actually) would be the best place to live. Whoever wrote that must have liked rain. A lot.
      We found this place in winter. In the snow. All the ground elder and enchanter’s nightshade was cunningly concealed underground.

    • Jessica April 9, 2018 at 10:44 pm - Reply

      Have you found this: https://www.netweather.tv/live-weather/radar ? It’s far more accurate than any forecast because it’s real time. Very handy for gardeners because you can see it coming.. it was spot on today (no pun). What always puzzles me is why they don’t seem to look at it in Exeter.

  43. Charles April 10, 2018 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    I do use the rainfall radar from the met office, the trouble is that it just tells me bad news….however another 9 lavender bushes went in today, the French beans were recalled from disgrace and another potential plot has been started in the greenhouse. It’s a good job I have time for despair, when I was working I just had time to swear, now I can really revel in it. Possibly a Flanders and Swam, mud glorious mud moment, however one must recall Singing in the Rain, which was a very good film, still makes me laugh. The good news is that Sutton’s are going to replace my dead mulberry tree, I would not have thought of complaining but my mother showed me the way. So there is karma in everything!

    • Jessica April 14, 2018 at 8:04 am - Reply

      And now the sun is coming out and the forecast is for 20C. Think of all the watering!

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