This is the third of the garden wandering posts already. Why is this year going so quickly? Could it be that we have had so many days when the weather has been amenable to gardening? So what is happening here in our garden? The bulbs are at last flowering well after such a slow start but in contrast the birds are responding quickly to warmer periods of weather. Robins are nesting in the box on my fishing tackle shed, House Sparrows are using three boxes around the garden, Great Tits are using the box on the summer-house and Blue Tits have started building in the box opposite the front door. They are so busy! Blackbirds are collecting moss from the lawns and dried grass stems from the borders so are nesting somewhere close by. The early morning bird song gets louder and more birds join in the chorus each day.
We have spent most sunny days continuing to clear borders, cutting down and adding new mulch. Clearing the “Beth Chatto Garden” is a hands and knees job. Jude the “Undergardener” pulls up weed seedlings by hand. Very tedious but made more enjoyable by the constant song of Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Robins. Calls of Buzzards high above us provide a good excuse to stop occasionally.
In the front garden Euphorbias are bursting into growth and some have already sent up their flower stalks curling over like shepherds’ crooks. New growth on the later ones is showing bright colours as they emerge from the bark mulch.
The flowering quince at the end of the drive is covered in bright red blooms scattered amongst its thorny angular network of stems – it will flower for months giving a warm welcome to visitors.
At last our first daffodils are fully in flower! We have waited so long. Muscari are also now bursting into bloom adding their own shade of blue all around the garden.
The Primroses we grew from seed a few years ago now give us big clumps of flower in their own special shade of yellow. They are self seeding and spreading around the garden, with an occasional plant producing flowers of an extraordinary shade of greyish pinky. Not sure I like them!
One of the delights of this time of year are the Pulmonarias with their flowers coloured pink and blue on the same plant and their beautifully marked hairy leaves.
Helleborus have featured in both the January and February garden wanderings and they are still going strong. Two of the last ones to come into flower are this red hybrid and the magnificent near black variety. It looks good in bud and full flower and has the added attraction of interesting foliage. The clump of mixed Hellebores in the “Chicken Garden” give us plenty to look at on coffee breaks when the March sun bursts through and its warmth feels so good on our backs.
The bees appreciate the early flowering bulbs especially purple crocuses but soon they will be flocking to feed on the Flowering Currant, the exceptionally large flowered variety Ribes sanguineum King Edward VII, which is on the point of bud burst. The buds on the Daphne bhulua “Jacqueline Postill” have opened to reveal highly scented flowers in several shades of pink.
March in the garden is full of promises with buds developing and preparations underway for the productive garden. The photos show buds of Clematis, both climbing and herbaceous, and Apples and Pears.
The Sempervivum in the alpine troughs and on the slate scree bed are all budding up nicely but one pure white-flowered one is out and glowing in the March sunlight. They are such precious little jewels of plants.
Our two newest areas of the garden, the Chicken Garden and the Secret Garden, are turning glaucous green with Allium leaves. One area is like a lawn of Allium. They seem to enjoy our soil too much and are spreading and self seeding madly!
The productive side of our gardening mostly happens on our allotment but we have a big greenhouse in the back garden where we start off many of the veggie plants. Some seedlings have germinated in the propagator and lots cells and 5 inch pots are full of compost ready for us to sow peas, broad beans and sweet peas.
In our raised wicker beds just outside the back door the cut-and-come-again salad leaves are almost ready for the first cutting – and of course the first eating. So many different textures, colours and tastes! Delicious! Much is still to happen in March and on into April.
Our Comfrey patch is showing strong growth. This is one of the most important areas of the garden for in this 2ft by 10ft bed we grow a comfrey variety called Bocking 14, which we can cut 4 or 5 times a year. The leaves can be put in the bottom of potato trenches before we plant the potatoes to feed them and prevent the disease “Scab”. We also put them as a mulch under fruit trees and bushes as a feed and as a weed suppressant, and use them to make a liquid feed mixed with nettles.
So much is still to happen in the March garden. It is a busy and exciting month. So much to look forward to.