I’ve been observing Spring sweep in from the sidelines.
I’ve kept a close eye on my Edgeworthia, as it became clear that this year, for the first time, it was going to flower.
It was worth waiting for too, the fragrance is lovely.
I’ve not been entirely housebound, though it feels as if I have spent months behind my desk, hunched over the keyboard.
I’ve been for walks, taken photos ready to blog about my tree, or the wonderful light on the foggy sea, or Bodnant. I watched the snowdrops in the valley give way to the daffodils, all with clean fingernails.
This is WRONG! I’ve had to admit defeat and will be buying tomato plug plants for the first time in 8 years. I’ve even bought some annual plug plants, because I couldn’t bear the thought of not having some colour in the wall border out front, and feared I would spend the entire year welded to my desk. With clean finger nails. And it is all in a good cause, I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to be able to work again, to – hopefully – be earning my way in the world again. After so many years of the economic sidelines some time away from my beloved garden seems an OK price to pay. But not to this degree!
So, today I took some time off to get down and dirty in my front garden. Way back when we first moved here I realised that I wanted to plant plenty of good high shrubs against the wall to give us a little privacy from the house across the road, which is a holiday let. I had inherited an Escallonia macrantha, and as I am a big fan of these lovely fragrant evergreens I decided to plump for a hedge of them. I duly ordered and planted some bare rooted specimens to accompany the inherited plant, cut them all back to encourage bushy growth, and sat back, anticipating a lovely dense hedge of evergreenshrubs with aromatic foliage and pretty flowers. Hah!
Despite regular pruning the wretched things insisted on rewarding me with lanky growth and very few flowers. They were planted with good compost – and RootGrow – and failed to thrive. Plus the vinca, crocosmia and various weeds colonized the base of them. The best looking specimen was this:
I was not impressed. The same thing happened to the Escallonia iveyei I planted in the back garden. Clearly escallonia, despite being famed for their excellent use as a hedging plant in coastal areas, is not for me.
Out with the old, and in with the new. In this case I was fortunate enough to have already rescued enough self-sown common myrtle plants to establish a short hedge. I have a large and wonderful myrtle in the front garden already, it is a beautiful plant, dense from ground up, smothered in white flowers in summer, and then covered in black fruit that the birds adore. Fragrant too. My only concern is that they tend to grow big here, and I will be pruning them for the rest of my life.
So, two hours, one hail storm and an aching back later, I have a new hedgelet. Hopefully this one will fare better. It will get a good feed and a thick mulch once my compost arrives, and I will turn my attention to the rest of the weeds, and to generally adding structure and colour to the border. I have made a start, I picked up a beautiful little pulmonaria with silvery leaves from Sue Beesley’s wonderful nursery called Pulmonaria ‘Diana Clare’, it has the most gorgeous deep blue flowers, and I must have more.
I also made a start on establishing a sweep of Russian Sage down the spine of the border last year, and I will be auditioning various salvias, adding more Penstemon ‘Blackbird’, and crossing my fingers that the wonderful deep purple poppy that gardening-sil gave me seed for last year returns in abundance. The Californian poppy ‘Ivory Castle’ is popping up new growth already.
And I appear to be growing purple brains…
Crambe maritima, an odd looking plant at this time of year.
Anyway, I am hoping that the End of Month View meme run by the Patient Gardener (thank you Helen) will work its usual magic and encourage me to get out and at least make sure that this border progresses this year. Apart from anything else, weeding and planting are wonderful ways to get the creative juices flowing, I have come up with solutions to apparently intractable problems whilst weeding. So I suppose it is a good thing that there is plenty of weeding to do?!
So, my focus for the EOMV is the wall border in my front garden. In need of editing, additions and lots of weeding. And if I manage to progress any of the rest of the front garden, so much the better!