Monthly Archives: January 2012

Spring springing

Forsythia, aconites, snowdrops, daffodils…all spotted in the past 24 hours. The new Helleborus niger in our shade garden have just started to flower too, and all manner of bulbs are poking through the accumulated fallen leaves.
Instead of bringing flowers, our kind lunch guests last Sunday brought a couple of dozen Acidanthera bicolor corms – what a lovely idea: so much more welcome than cut flowers, especially at this time of year. I have not  grown these Peacock Orchids before, and they will make a nice addition to the planting in what I plan to do with the main back garden flower beds. Future guests please note!

Stuck indoors a bit these past few days, following an accidental collision between my head and the car door when loading supplies for work. Excellently dealt with by A&E at Salisbury District Hospital, and nothing to be done beyond painkillers and rest. Two days later I am still sore-headed but otherwise fine. Have busied myself  with re-configuring DD’s bedroom and building some new storage units (I know, not exactly restful in itself – but I have been able to have a few naps in amongst…).
Took delivery of three Clematis plants on Friday which will need potting-up as soon as possible: probably tomorrow. Seed potatoes also need putting in trays for chitting – these will go in planters so I can get them going sooner, and will get more for the outdoor plot at the allotment in due course.

Dreary and wet again today, no inspiration to get out in the garden – other than to move the wheelie bin back into position after the collectors left it on the pavement. What a curse wheelie bins are…yes, they are bigger and maybe the green bins for garden refuse are a plus (though never big enough for any household with a regular gardening habit): but overall they’re an eyesore. We are lucky in having space to put our three wheelies, although the newly-replanted front garden could do without them, however discreetly they’re positioned to one side in the shade of a large apple tree. I have considered constructing a screen or shelter, but tend to think that would actually just draw attention to them, and prove cumbersome with the filling, moving, emptying cycle.
But the poor households who have a small old-fashioned terraced front garden, maybe only a couple of yards square, end up with wheelie-bins and nothing else more or less. And this goes on for house after house after house, yet another nail in the coffin of the integrity of classic late-Victorian terraced housing (along with the delights of UPVC double-glazing, the odd outbreak of cladding, and hard standing for off-street car parking).
All that said, I do not have a sensible alternative in my head, other than massive reduction in the use of packaging. I remember seeing, not that long ago, on television a family who filled only one bin’s worth of non-recyclable rubbish each year – I find that utterly incredible.

It’s a damp and dreary day today, after the couple of dry, sunny, properly cold days we have just had. I hope that this isn’t going to end up as a non-existent winter, following on from 2011’s peculiar spring/summer/autumn sequence. The garden does not know which way to turn. There were some daffodils out last week near Romsey Abbey, and I have seen a Forsythia in flower already – as well as snowdrops and crocuses.
I did have that wonderful ‘sense’ of spring on 3rd January, and a couple of times since (like Mole in ‘Wind in the Willows’): the slightest bit of additional tea-time light in the sky on a clear day, the hint of extra vigour and volume in the birds’ songs. Let’s hope too that the winter doesn’t come some time in March and set everything back at the start of the season…
Birds have definitely reacted to the past couple of cold days, and numbers in the garden have increased significantly: blue tits, great tits, robins, dunnocks, long-tailed tits, blackbirds – all present and much more active and visible than throughout the latter part of last year. Still no redwings though, in spite of the ample supply of apples – some still on the tree, and lots on the ground.