My Garden Journal 2022 – March

Back with another look at entries in my garden journal, this time for March 2022, when perhaps we may spot some signs of spring?

On the first page I welcomed in the new month by considering our flowering shrubs that gave us colour at the beginning of March, and wrote,“March certainly “came in like a lion” with storm after storm attacking the garden with gales and heavy rain, sleet, hail and snow. Nevertheless our winter-flowering shrubs shone through.”

On the opposite page I looked at the garden tasks were worked on early in March. I noted, “As the winds and rains abated we had a few days of bright, mild weather, so we enjoyed long days in the garden. We finished the ‘Shade Border’ revamp and added sculptures I had made from rusted whisky barrel hoops. We also finished gravel seat base and planted bulbs of small summer flowers in ‘Arabella’s Garden’. Jude sorted out the nursery shelves, sowed seeds of herbaceous perennials in the greenhouse and cleared the rill of dead leaves.”

Over onto the next double page I looked firstly at freshly emerged foliage and then at hellebore hybrids.

Concerning foliage I noted, “March is the month when buds of deciduous shrubs, climbers and perennials burst into life with fresh foliage.”

I then shared a set of ten fresh foliage photos.

We grow so many hellebores that it was hard to select just a handful to fill a page with their photos.

Over onto the next double page spread I shared gardening tasks and the bright colours of the March favourites, daffodils.

Concerning our tasks I wrote,“March weather settled down to give us bright sunny days and we gardened under clear blue skies, which Jude described as ‘wall to wall blue’. We replaced the trellis at the entrance to the garden, cut down grasses and perennials in the ‘Chatto Garden’ while Ian replaced our lavender hedge on the road edge as the plants had been destroyed by tractors that are far too big for our lane.”

Next I looked at daffodils and selected just nine to photograph and share just for a taster.

The final page for March was once again about yellow flowers where I chose a small selection of those found in our patch.

So there we have my garden journal entries for the month of March. We shall re-visit in April.


Return to Oakgate Nursery and Display Garden

We enjoy visiting Oakgate Nursery because of its wide choice of quality plants for sale which changes quite frequently meaning that there is always something new to see and be tempted by. Another advantage this nursery as over many others is its interesting enjoyable display gardens, which are in fact the garden of the owners’ own house which they encourage visitors to wander around.

I have already published a post about wander around the garden earlier in the year but thought I would share a second wander with you.

This latest visit to Oakgate was in early September, so it is good to look back at a season of more cheerful weather. We enter the garden by walking over a bridge over a pond which always has good plants to look at like this white waterlily.

I shall continue with a selection of clematis flowering in the garden.

No doubt we will be back one of these days for another visit to Oakgate Nursery, its cafe and its welcoming garden.


Fresh foliage – a border springs to life!

March is a great month for freshness in the garden, fresh bird song, fresh spring bulb flowers and fresh foliage, which is what i want to feature in a gallery of my photos of freshly emerged foliage of herbaceous perennials in triangular border beneath our bedroom window. I hope you enjoy my selection of photos.

Can you tell which plants they are?

I hope you enjoyed this little photo journey through a border.


My Aeoniums in Close-up

This is a look back to the early autumn!

As the time approached to move the tender plants to their winter quarters, I shot a gallery of close-up photos of some of my aeonium collection. They enjoyed the summer outside the sunshine and the occasional shower or drenching. Now they are snug in the greenhouse hiding from the weather.

I hope you enjoyed looking at some of our aeoniums that are now tucked up warm in the greenhouse for the next few months. We need to carefully nurture them till spring.


Ferns in the sky and in the garden

We were amazed by this pattern in the late afternoon sky as we drove home along the Shrewsbury bypass. The pattern looked so much like fern leaves.

Below are some photos of a few of our ferns planted throughout the garden wherever conditions allow. We now have a large collection.


My Garden Journal 2022 – February

As promised at the end of my January visit to my garden journal we are back looking at how our refurbishment of our Shade Border has come on.

I began by writing “As January finished and February began, a few dry days afforded us the opportunity to finish the fencing and replant our shade-loving plants.”

On the next page I looked at the foliage of some of our indoor begonias, where I wrote, “I rarely feature indoor plants so for a change I decided to photograph the foliage of our begonia collection. There is such a wide range of shapes, sizes, texture, colours and patterns.”

In complete comparison on the page opposite there is no colour, I simply shared a simple pencil sketch of, “Delicate seed heads although gently collapsing, retain simple beauty.”

Below is my pencil sketch of these delicate seed heads, about which I noted,“Delicate seed heads, although gently collapsing, retain simple beauty.”

Over the page on the next double page spread I considered how we replanted the shade garden and how wildlife was responding to improved daylight quality and quantity.

I wrote, “We have finished replanting our ‘Shade Garden’ and it is ready to burst into life in spring.”

I added, “We have also incorporated sculptures into the plantings, sculptures we created from rusted whisky barrel hoops.”

On the opposite page I noted, “As the daylight hours slowly increase we become aware of a gradual improvement in the quality of light as we garden. Wildlife responds to these changes. Bird calls are replaced by bird songs and blue tits, robins and great tits are taking possession of nest boxes. Buzzards and red kite dominate the skies.

The first two photos show our hedgehog gateway and a hedgehog hibernaculum.

The next page of my February journal entries was all about the effects of the low winter sun on dried seed head specimens I had lain out to sketch.

On the page opposite I shared photographs of a selection of the bark of a few of our many tree. I wrote, “When we choose trees for our garden we consider not just their foliage and flowers, but also the beauty of their bark. Bark can add colour, texture, pattern and shelter for wildlife.”

The final pair of pages are all about early flowering bulbs and the garden jobs we tackled when weather allowed.

I wrote, “By the middle of the month early flowering spring bulbs add splashes of colour whatever the weather, although some open more fully only on sunny days.”

On the final page for February we return to see how we managed to carry on with garden tasks whenever the weather allowed, and I wrote, “Whatever wintery weather was thrown at us we continue with garden tasks.”

That is it for my February journal entries. When we return in March perhaps we will see a few signs of spring!


A Garden in the Hills

We often visit our gardening friends, William and Linda and their garden up in the hills where it is often colder and windier than here lower down in our garden. In between our visits William and Linda visit us and our garden, so we share each other’s gardens.

In late February we made our first visit of the year and there was plenty of interest for us to look at beneath the gloomy winter skies. The narcissus and cyclamen below certainly attracted our attention. Narcissus Rijnvelds Early Sensation and Cyclamen mirabile.

I chose these three cyclamen plants for their different foliage markings. Cyclamen foliage is so intricate and each leaf is different and equally fascinating.

Carrying on wandering along a meandering pathway we found more little cameos to photograph along the way -foliage, flowers and dried stalks and seed heads.

Surprises wait for us around every corner, the yellow of a Witch Hazel, the tiny fuschia flowers and at the other end of the scale the colourful bark of an old eucalyptus.

Beauty can also be surprising, an orange-red cowslip, a rare scilla and a yellow-edged deep mauve primula flower.

We were delighted to find more cyclamen, a white flowered one and another with long slender foliage.

A great way to finish off is with a photograph of a newly constructed dead hedge, a fine example of recycling green and brown materials.

We will return again soon and find even more delights and surprises.


A January Walk Around Attingham Park

We hadn’t gone far into the new year when we decided to take the short drive to Attingham Park our local National Trust property. We certainly were not the only ones to think the same as it was the busiest we had ever seen it!

I want to share a selection of my photos taken of details and patterns that appealed to me. Enjoy!

We will be returning in a few weeks to follow the snowdrop walk which we enjoy every February.


My Garden Journal 2022 – January

So we move into another year, 2022, and we are still stuck with the pandemic which has gone on now for far too long. Thank goodness for our lovely garden which keeps us both busy and sane.

Here are my pages of my garden journal for January 2022.

On the first page for the new year I wrote, “The new year, 2022, began as 2021 left off, cold biting strong winds and some days of continuous rain. Not an easy month for gardeners but with appropriate clothing we carried on. We have been re-vamping some of our garden sculptures, tidying and top-dressing borders. Ian helped by planting new plants including new rose bushes. We have started clearing our fern garden in readiness for replacing the fence panels that back it”.

Below I shared photos of us getting on with some of these tasks.

The two pictures below show our resin and fabric sculpture called ‘Amber’ after I had revamped her somewhat and given her fresh paint.

Turning over to the next double page spread I featured our pittosporum and opposite ferns.

Concerning pittosporums I noted, “Early in the year, late on in the winter, foliage takes on a much more important, central role in our garden with such wide variety of shape, texture, colour and variegation. Shrubs such as those in the pittosporum family look beautiful all the rest of the year too. They present as such elegantly shaped shrubs.”

Below I shared photos of some of our pittosporums.

When discussing ferns I noted, “We grow dozens of different ferns throughout our garden and they provide huge variety in foliage, shape, size, structure and texture. Here are a few of our evergreen ones which add so much to several of our borders, a few in sun, some in part shade and others in full shade.”

Then I showed a selection of my photos of just a few of our many ferns.

Onto the next double page spread I looked at an achillea called ‘Paprika’ and wrote, “Some summer-flowering herbaceous perennials continue to give patches of colour well into the winter months. our Achillea milliflora ‘Paprika’, rich red in the late summer months, mostly turn to a deep ginger and dark sienna browns with highlights of magenta, blues and reddish-brown.” I then shared a a sketch I did using inks and a glass pen.

On the page opposite I spoke of the way or occasional frosts caught the evergreen foliage and dried seed heads and a grass.

I noted, ” The middle of the month brought clear night-time skies and early morning frosts. Days such as these are special in our garden as we leave dried grasses and perennials to catch the frost. These plants are also used by insects which overwinter within them too.” I added a selection of my frosty morning photos.

On the next double page spread I considered winter flowering shrubs and the effect of the low rays of winter light. Concerning winter flowering shrubs I wrote, “Most winter flowering shrubs are scented, and their scent tends to be stronger than scented shrubs from any other season. There are far fewer pollinators around in winter so shrubs need to work harder to attract them. We love these flowering shrubs too! Daphne, viburnum, sarcococca, cornus, hamamelis, clematis, mahonia, salix, ………”

On the opposite page I noted, “The rays of the winter sun cross our garden from a low angle so are effective spotlights, highlighting foliage and flowers.”

I then shared photos of the light catching our plants.

My last page for January concerned us working hard replacing six broken fence panels and I shared photos of our endeavours. I wrote, “We continued clearing our Shade Border and potted on all of the plants we had to remove temporarily. We received a delivery of fence panels, gravel boards and bags of ‘post fix’. We could then begin removing our old wattle fence panels and replace them with new wooden fences.” After the photos I noted, “Almost there!”

When we next visit my garden journal we will be in February and we will see how the shade border refurbishment develops.


Begonia Foliage in Winter

We grew a collection of begonias from plug plants a few years back to display and enjoy in the greenhouse during the warmer months but a few are grow outside in areas of shade specially for their foliage. The more delicate plants come into the house during the winter where we can enjoy them every day.

Here is a short gallery of photos of their foliage.