At one point today I was sat down, in short sleeves, my face to the sun, listening to the bees buzzing hither and thither, and thinking to myself ‘it could be summer’. But my day was not entirely spent sitting and soaking up the sun; I was up and about early and tackling the garden on various fronts: rotavating the new raised bed; planting delphiniums, oriental poppies, alcea, salvia, veronica, scabious, roses, clematis (to climb up the rose) … a seemingly endless round of planting which resulted in one section of our circular bed looking pretty good (I’ll try and get some pictures up tomorrow – won’t be as sunny so hope it still looks good – as I just didn’t have time today); sowing leeks and more cosmos (necessary as the mice nibbled the first lot just as they were emerging); weeding; dividing and moving plants … a truly productive day after which I feel satsifyingly tired and ready for a good, long sleep!
The need to divide and move plants sprang to mind as a consequence of Monty doing so at Long Meadow during last nights episode of Gardeners’ World. I am still frustrated by the seemingly short amount of the programme that is actually given over to Monty doing things in his garden. For me they are trying to squeeze too much into the allotted time. But this is the last I shall mention of it.
A very mixed day so far. I woke early to the sound of rain on the skylight which didn’t bode well for the plans I had for getting into the garden. However, by the time I’d filled up with breakfast the rain had eased so I was able to venture out. The morning has been spent mainly turning over the earth in the front garden; I have a very handy long handled fork for this sort of work which lets me get around the plants without disrupting them, whilst also allowing me good leverage to really get into the soil and give it a good airing. There’s nothing like newly dug earth.
Weeds, which are already suprisingly big, have been removed and I also dug out some small, self sown Digitalis and Pulmonaria. These will be nurtured and planted out later in the year. Having done this, and with a break in the cloud, I grabbed the camera and took a few pictures of plants that are starting to sprout and bud. Below are a few of the things I found:
The following shot is of an Allium, of which I’ve planted three varieties this year: Allium hollandicum ‘Purple Sensation’, Allium Cristophii and Allium giganteum.
It may not look much at the moment, but I do admire the strenght of the shoots and the coloured tips; in a few weeks the Alliums, poppies, and Delphiniums will form a wonderful display.
I can’t finish without showing a bud from my favourite rose, ‘Munstead Wood’. The flowers are of course amazing but I also love the rich colour and complexity of the shoot and to know that it holds so much potential!
Now I have a soft spot for Roses, a very soft spot, whether they be Floribundas, Hybrid Teas, or English Roses, climbers, ramblers or bush; I have numerous in the garden either planted or in pots. They occupy a great deal of my time during the growing season (especially the potted ones), feeding, watering, deadheading, pruning and picking off nasty little pests. But what, I hear you ask, has this to do with the vagaries of time?
I was looking back through photographs I had taken of last year’s Roses and in that single act I was transported; both backwards to what was and forwards to what will by (hopefully, assuming no disease or infestation of bugs). And so I thought I would share these pictures with you all and, in so doing, transport you all through time with me. So there you have it, the blog as time machine! … oh, and here are the pictures:
This year I intend to propagate as much as possible. I have dabbled with propagation in previous years but only ever on a minor scale. Three years ago I took a cutting from one of my favourite roses, Geoff Hamilton, and this has since grown into a sturdy little bush. This year I’m hoping that it will really take off and be another lovely addition to a garden in which there will always be room for another rose.
Last autumn I collected seeds from a variety of Delphinium and from Digitalis purpurea ‘Camelot Cream’. I sowed the seeds immediately and then placed them in a cold frame. The result is a good number of small plants that are growing well. I’ll probably pot these on and then plant them out later in the year once they are better established.
These few small experiments in propagation have really given my the desire to do more (there have been failures, such as a honeysuckle cutting I took last year that didn’t survive the winter, but these only spur me on to make sure I get it right next time). It is so satisfying to see the seeds or cuttings that you’ve tended to coming on and bringing new life into the garden. It is also great to be able to share plants with other people where you have an excess (and hopefully get something new back in return!).
So this year (I hope) is the year that I really get to grips with propagation. Wish me luck!