Heavy Lifting

Tulipa 'Peppermint Stick'
 

Tulipa ‘Peppermint Stick’

 

What about this weather eh? It’s been more like summer here in England this week.

To be honest I could have done with more than the dribble of rain received over the weekend but I’m not going to complain. Not when you think what April is normally like in good old Blighty. And it can’t be bad to find yourself delving into the far reaches of the wardrobe for a pair of shorts this early in the year.

 
 

Magnolia laevifolia

 

Magnolia laevifolia

 

But lest you were thinking that my absence (again) was down to a further (successful) search for the Pimms bottle, no, it’s been a couple of weeks of decidedly hard graft. I’m determined that, with little else in the diary to distract, this year the garden will be dragged back into shape. No excuses. And April is the perfect time to shift stuff around. I love doing this. Well, perhaps not so much the doing. It’s bloomin’ heavy work. But it is so very satisfying to see plants revelling in perhaps a more favourable position than was chosen for them the first time around, mingling seductively with a more companionable set of neighbours, all the while reducing the very large gap between the grandiose vision in the gardener’s mind and the hard reality as it exists on the ground.

 
 

Agapanthus 'Zachary'

 

Agapanthus ‘Zachary’

And of course if I’d done it last year it wouldn’t have been half so bad. Some perennial rootballs can grow to frightening proportions. Agapanthus, in particular, has big fleshy roots. Dividing it is a job and a half. So is hauling it from the bottom of the hill to the top and the wheelbarrow had to be deployed. It would also have been better done earlier in the month when the new growth wasn’t quite so lush. But it looks OK so far. Perhaps I got away with it.

 
 

Lysimachia clethroides

 

Lysimachia clethroides

This was given to me as a gift by a very kind friend two or three years ago and by the time I came to dig it up the clump had spread to one and a half metres wide. I kid you not. Relocated and with extra space to allow for further growth it’s now given me two drifts each covering at least a metre square. So it’s a bit of a thug and does need a large border but as it’s all about covering earth here at the moment it fits the bill perfectly.

 
 

 

Lysimachia clethroides, the goose neck loosestrife. An archive shot.

And yes, the picture is the right way up!

 

Of course excavating on such a major scale is not without its attendant dangers, quite apart from the damage inflicted to the poor gardener’s back. I also had to call for reinforcements and a pipe rejoining kit when I came across a hole in the large bore (main) irrigation pipe. Two holes actually. As it happens, the exact same distance apart as two tines of a garden fork. Is it stretching credibility too far to blame the mice again?

 
 

Olearia x scilloniensis

 

Olearia x scilloniensis

A half price bargain from an autumn plant sale finds a home in a newly vacated patch of earth.

 
 

Acer palmatum dissectum 'Garnet'

 

Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Garnet’

 

Late afternoon, as the sun drops behind the trees, is a wonderful time to be in the woodland. The acers, planted at various times over the last few years, are coming into their own now. The Spring display with its fresh new foliage is easily as delightful as the autumn flush of colour.

 
 

Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Emerald Lace'

 

Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Emerald Lace’

 
 
 
Acer shirasawanum 'Moonrise'
 

Acer shirasawanum ‘Moonrise’

 
 

Arisaema sikokianum

 

Arisaema sikokianum

I have to admit this one was something of an indulgence. A not insignificant outlay last Spring of £15 for just one small tuber (let’s whisper it). But the way I look at it is this. As it has successfully bloomed for a second year in a row the pleasure it has brought has cost me just £7.50 on a per annum basis. And next year, assuming an equally dramatic resurgence, it will be cheaper still.

 
 

Polygonatum multiflorum

 

Polygonatum multiflorum

At the other end of the budget spectrum, I inherited Soloman’s Seal. Therefore it’s cost me nothing for the last ten years. Does that mean I enjoy it any less?

 
 

Euphorbia 'Black Pearl'

 

Euphorbia ‘Black Pearl’

‘Tis the season for euphorbia, plants that I’ve come to love for their wonderful structural quality. And the fact that nothing eats them! This one has the same glorious punch of acid lime green as all the rest, but with a difference. I’m a total sucker for anything black.

 
 

Cornus canadensis

 

Cornus canadensis

Reliable ground cover for moist dappled shade. Better in soil on the acidic side.

 
 

Rhododendron luteum

 

Rhododendron luteum

 
 

Tulipa acuminata

 

Tulipa acuminata

My favourite tulip. Mike prefers the one at the top of the post. But then, when did we ever agree. Both are species tulips so will happily return next year. Less work.. I can vote for that.

 

And finally..

 
 

 

Marching down the lawn in the soft evening light, fresh from their over wintering grounds in the shed. Second from the right, Snooty Duck, head held permanently high after that very unfortunate incident with the mower..

 

Onwards.