A strange couple of weeks it has been. Yesterday (17th March) we had the most spectacular snowfall – literally, the fall. Huge flakes, an inch or more across, drifting down in slow motion throughout the morning. Nothing stuck, as the previous day had seen torrential rain (the wettest day of 2013 – so far) and the ground was soaked and warm-ish. But beautiful, storybook snow. It reminded me of another St Patrick’s Day, when I was in New York, watching endless marching bands and majorettes shivering up 5th Avenue in a blizzard.
Work, in spite of the topsy-turvy weather, has been picking up steadily. I had a large ‘backlog’ of summer-flowering bulbs, so I have been slipping them into empty borders in all my clients’ gardens: nature abhors a vacuum and all that. With luck they will be a nice surprise for folk in a couple of months.
Lawns are still a no-go area though. It has been far too wet and/or frosty to deal with them as yet. I don’t want to leave it too long, or they will start to get too long even for a ‘high bladed’ first cut. Maybe it’s time to get the scythe out!
In the greenhouse I’ve been sowing seeds, but in moderation. Last year I planted lots early, and regretted it. We’re on our second lot of micro-greens already, and I have some tomatoes, chillies, lots of sweet peas, and sunflowers already underway. Some Blue Beans from the Heritage Seed Library are doing well, but my first sowing of Lab Lab (also from HSL) has failed. I’ll try another sowing when it is more consistently warmer.
My daughter Molly (3) helped to plant a batch of sunflowers and sweet peas which came from the marvellous Higgledy Garden. Their ‘Seeds for Syria’ mixed bag is well worth a look, and raises money for a very good cause. It’s sobering to think what some of the refugee children Molly’s age are going through, while she happily helps sow flower seeds…
I moved out a number of perennials which had been sheltering in the (unheated) greenhouse over winter, and they seem to be doing alright, in spite of some mean-spirited frosts.
Up at the allotment, the main task has been giving the fruit cage a really thorough weed. It has been largely empty, save for a few raspberries, and is full of moss and weeds, including the ubiquitous couch grass. But careful hands-and-knees weeding is getting there, ready for a whole batch of soft fruit to go in – gooseberries, red and white currants, blackberries, strawberries and more raspberries. Once the weeding is done, it is on with as much mulch as I can muster, and then planting. There are some top fruit trees to go in at the allotment too in due course, probably in a row to create a bit of light shade/screening on the downhill side of the plot, which can be very exposed in summer.
I’ve taken on a new client who lives in the lovely-named Dorset village of Sixpenny Handley. Initially it’s a one-off ‘spring tidy’ job: but there is a detailed planting scheme which was done a while ago, and which I’ve been asked to look at with a view to implementing it. Should be an enjoyable bit of research, and – if it works out well – some useful work doing the planting-up.The garden is not large, but is very windy – sitting at the top of the village which in turn sits on a hillside – so that needs to be taken into consideration.
Oh, and I won a Twitter competition the other day: prize – a collection of Pumpkin Seeds, courtesy of Michael Perry at Thompson & Morgan. Guess what Molly and I will be sowing next…