Lovely morning here in Salisbury. A happy couple of hours pottering, literally: cleaning-up and tidying some of the over-wintered pots. Quite a few of last summer’s annuals had finally succumbed to the freezing weather of the past couple of weeks, and went in the compost. But elsewhere, more excitingly, green shoots start to appear. Several outdoor pots of chives are poking through and, when the dead leaves of last season are cleared away, cranesbills, Alchemilla mollis and others are showing signs of new life: all this together with some sunshine on your back, and vigorous robin’s song from the silver birch tree, makes for a real sense that spring is arriving.

Had a fairly robust go at the very rambly privet in the back garden, which – when I look closely – has shifted its centre of growth about a yard from the main stem. I think too severe a cut-back might be too risky so am bringing it back towards the vertical, and reducing its height by the recommended 1/3. We will see how it does. What it certainly has done is to open up the surrounding bed, so there is room for some more interesting planting. It is quite a dark, north-facing bed though, so options will be rather limited – the ‘far’ end away from the house is quite damp, and Angelica archangelica sets itself freely there every year. A lovely plant, angelica, which I first grew next to the pond in my parents’ garden thirty years ago, and of which I am very fond.The advice is always to stop it seeding if you want to keep the plant, but it seeds so well that I just let it get on with things, and there are always a good number of new plants to carry on the succession.

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