Tuesday 13 March 2012

Fabulous friends and spring renewal

I think the past month has been the busiest time in ages as everything is now full steam ahead. The corpses of last year’s luxuriance have been tidied up, the compost heap is the biggest beast imaginable and new life pushes through everywhere. There is something about natural rhythms and the 1000’s of sycamore seedlings pushing through every corner are saying that it’s time to plant seeds!
I can feel the excitement again, and it’s actually been great to clear everything back and see what big open borders I have. So much of the bulk of the garden is either annual, under the ground or waiting to be replanted and the change can be remarkable.

Garden today, all cut back and ready to go

Same view but the height of summer!
At the weekend I was also very happy to have help from 7 friends as part of my new ‘horticultural rehab for city people’ program. I marvelled at Sue’s staying power as she re-potted mall the mail order plants, bulbs and bare rooted things. I swooned at the testosterone coming from Richard, Phil and Laurence as they hurled logs and bricks around the garden and did other butch manly things. I gasped at how Charlie and Hannah spent the whole day making frames and putting together bee hives from a seemingly nightmare flat pack arrangement.
So I am lucky to have very nice friends, and parents who oiled the wheels with good food and endless tea and cake.

After all the help it finally feels like I’ve broken the spine of the land clearance as I was waiting for a huge log to be moved as once that had gone I could use it to line the edge of the bed which gave a place to pile soil and raise the levels which meant rubble could be moved and plants planted. More importantly it means that the huge old rediscovered pond has now been properly cleared and filled in and is looking very nice. Hurrah!

1 hive down, 1 to go
So lots still to do as my big order from Constantine is all potted and ready to be planted, I’ve done my first 8 pots of seeds and sorted the greenhouse for more, and a big order of Cannas is imminent (I had an obsessive Canna moment at work last week). My neighbour has also just offered 15 railway sleepers and paving slabs which whilst being a very generous offer is provoking some difficult logistical challenges!  But with the joys of spring this is all feeling ok, and it was so nice just to be in the garden with the birds singing planting onion sets and eyeing the last bits of Cavalo Nero which I need to pick to eat this week.
My army of plants waiting to go in
Rather busy greenhouse...must plant more seeds...
However the big news is that there is to be an imminent hosepipe ban....it has been very dry, but having a summer without a hose will be difficult. Im not a fan of excessively irrigated gardens, preferring the majority of my plants to fend for themselves, but you do need to water plants when they are new to help them establish, and I have a lot of new plants! Perhaps this will make for some uber selective watering, investment in lots of mulch and big arm muscels from carrying watering cans!


  1. You got a lot done and can't believe what all you still have to plant out. It's going to be wonderful when you are done though.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  2. Thanks! thats the dream! who needs a gym membership/life when you have a a garden!

  3. The garden's looking very tidy now and good to see you had several friends able to help out too which makes the workload so much lighter and very pleasant too. It's nice to be surrounded by good company :)

    So many new plants there, looking forward to seeing how they get on this coming growing season. The hosepipe ban is going to be an extra challenge for us all.

    Overall it's just nice to be able to get fully stuck in in the garden now after the winter. Exciting times ahead!

  4. It is so much fun at this time of year. Your winter and summer photos are amazing and show what a fantastic difference your planting makes. The pond will look great once planted up and will soon be home to frogs or newts. I shall look forward to following your blog x

  5. Hey, Clive, we're going on an outing to Crews Hill on Sunday 1 April. Me, Rob Stacewicz, Mark and Gaz, Julia & a few more, I think. Do you guys fancy coming? Leave me a comment on my blog if you're interested.