Monday, 1 April 2013

A look back at March

Snowdrops or  Snowdroops   
Glad to see the back of March? - I know I am!  The month began the exact same as November, December, January and February - Cold and Frosty!  It's been a very long winter - even by Scottish standards!
Sedum telephium 'Purple Emperor' 

Much to my relief the snow didn't last long but it did not take the bitter cold easterly wind with it. Even now at the end of the month the frosty mornings are a constant.  Up here in Scotland we can suffer frosts right up until May but I can't ever remember it being frosty every day!

I took a risk a bit of a risk earlier in the month - too much time on my hands!  Idle hands and all that! Most of the containers had their winter protection removed, namely the layers of bubble wrap I use to give extra insulation for the roots. I mostly grow Sedums and Bulbs in containers as I find my soil a bit too moist for them to survive more than a season otherwise.  Other pots (non decorative) with various bits and bobs growing were left tucked up against the house walls.  So far so good - especially the sedums  - all seemed to have survived!

Here in the UK we celebrate Mother's Day in March.  As usual my preferred gift of a voucher for my favourite nursery was waiting for me on Mothering Sunday!  My purchases were a single bulb of Trillium kurabayashi, 3 Primula aurantiaca, pots of Crocus Jeanne D'arc and 3 bargain pots of Cyclamen Coum.  All except the Crocus are now planted in the borders.  The Trillium however does not look great.  At the cost of £13 for 1 bulb, I'm glad I didn't buy more!  As you can see from the picture - the flowers on the Cyclamen were finished but a friend told me to leave the flowers in the hope they will seed.  The fact that is now throwing up more flowers is pleasing.  Looking a bit messy but you can see the new flowers.


It was also time to give my Xmas gifts a little belated attention - I had been waiting until the weather gets a bit better but was fed up waiting.  I planted up one of my recycled polystyrene troughs with Saxifraga.  It has been hold up in the cold frame ever since but they seemed to have settled in.
Recycling old fish/meat boxes to make them look like stone troughs is a trick many alpine growers do.  For tips on how I make these - please take a look at this old post.  You can generally pick up these boxes in fishmongers or butchery departments in supermarkets.  A very cost effective way to grow alpines - especially if you don't have an alpine bed!


A friend was down visiting family on the south coast and was popping in to meet up with a virtual gardening friend.  During a conversation last autumn, we spoke about his love of alpines and his alpine houses - which are stunning BTW!  I mentioned that I had already made an effort in starting off my Sempervivum collection - he said that he would have a couple he could share with me.  I had completely forgotten about the conversation until Sheila phone to say she had a wee box for me.  She agreed to keep them tucked up in her greenhouse for a few weeks for me.  We finally managed to co-ordinate last week for a get together.  I was utterly delighted with the selection he sent up for me.  Along with the semps is a rather lovely Sedum Chocolate Ball and a very special little mound forming clematis Clematis 'Filigree'.

Don't you just love garden gifts, she says with a big grin on her face!

Most of the plants that are flowering were on display for  GBBD on the 15th - the only difference is that a couple of more Hellebores have picked up.  Crocus are 'springing' up in more places than I remember planting them - but that's good thing, isn't it?

Corydalis Malkensis and Crocus

Galanthus nivalis and Fritillaria meleagris

A Crocus Smile!
I am very sad to say that I have yet to see a single bee but am tremendously pleased to say that I have yet to see any signs of slugs.  I have found a few empty snail shells but nothing more.  I wonder if it's just too cold or all those birds that are visiting the garden have developed a taste for them!

Are there any Solomon Seal (Polygonatum) growers out there?  I am wondering when I should expect to see growth?  They were new last year and I expected to see the new growth the same time as the Dicentra and Hostas - but so far nothing!!

This weekend will see my first ever visit to a SRGC show here in Edinburgh - if you are interested in growing bulbs of any sort you could do worse than visit the SRGC Bulb Log.  It's full of useful hints, tips and advice - as well as gorgeous pictures!

Thank you for joining me at my look back at March.    
          

46 comments:

  1. You have a lot of interesting things going on right now. I like the sempervivums. Have a few choices myself and love them, especially being evergreen. Haven't heard of the Sedum you mention though.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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  2. Just getting into Semps Cher - I'm looking foward to organising my display! Evergreen is always a bonus :)

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  3. Great signs of spring in your garden! Your alpine trough looks wonderful, such a great use for the boxes. I have some in a wooden planter, but they've suffered a bit over this harsh winter. Hopefully they can be rescued!

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    1. Paula - thank you for visiting my blog.
      I'm sure your alpines will be fine. After all they can suffer severely in their natural habitat. They are tougher than we think!

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  4. Gifting and swapping are such great ways to expand the plant palette. I just got my first Cyclamen coum, and what I love about it is the way the new shoots start out as curliques...plus that silvery foliage, of course.

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    1. Ricki - swapping is great, especially when you are not sure what you are getting - much better than plant shopping!
      I wish your Cyclamen well!

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  5. Many things are growing here already - the roses are starting to leaf out - but there's still no sign of solomon's seal or hostas. So yours will probably sleep for a while yet, too.

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    1. VW - looking at your blog today, our garden situation seems very similar, mines minus the daffs flowering yet!!
      Thanks re Solomans Seal. A couple of the Hostas in a sunnier spot are showing now though!

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  6. I agree; I gave up on March. I like your alpine beds; that's such a great idea. And the crocuses are lovely. My bees have hardly flown this year, and I've only seen a couple of bumblebees. I look forward to seeing them about, too.

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    1. Wendy - March 2013, did not exist!! I hope our gardens are full of bees pretty soon!

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  7. Those crocuses are really smiling :-), and that artificial alpine bed really looks nice. But 13 pound for a bulb..yeeeee..too costly! I hope it starts behaving nicely soon.

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    1. KL - yes, £13 for a bulb - it's got me worried now!! Why didn't I start with a cheap one!!

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  8. How fun to get a gardening gift! Love the photo of the Corydalis with the blue crocus. Just beautiful. My Solomon's Seal is just now barely beginning to peek out of the soil. I just planted it last year, promptly forgot about it, so I was surprised to see it.

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    1. Holley - gifts are great :) You are obviously a wee bit ahead of me here, so I will patiently await my Solomons Seal reappearance! It's nice when plants surprise us!

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  9. I also have a bunch of bulbs in containers. I should have followed your lead by providing extra insulation, but it looks like they made it through the winter anyways. I planted Solomon Seal last year, so I am wondering the same thing about when I should expect growth.

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    1. I remember your Tulip blogs Jason - bubble wrap is great. I always use it. I store it was each year, so you only need to outlay once!

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  10. Hi Angie, I really like your alpine trough and just had to look up Trillium kurabayashi,, very special! Finally a pleasant day here and got a good few jobs done in the morning. I have always had my eye on Solomons Seal, I suppose its still early enough yet, hope it comes through.

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    1. Thanks Alistair. Yes, its a beauty isn't it! It's got me worried though. It's been lovely down here today too!

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  11. Hi Angie. I wandered into here from Liz's blog - Gwirrel's Garden, and I've had a lovely time reading your posts. Lucky you getting gardening gifts!
    I don't do planters or baskets as my garden is plenty big enough without adding them into the equation, but I do love to see them in other peoples' gardens and your alpine trough is lovely.

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    1. Nutty Gnome, thank you for popping over. I'll be over to take a look at your blog in a mo!
      How I wish I could say my garden is plenty big enough!! If they survived in the ground I would not need to have them in pots.

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  12. I love your alpine garden. I too collect the Sempervivums but they live indoors in winter. I like how you have them arranged. I must do something like that to mine. Our weather here is similar. We get frost in May and plant shopping does not start really until May 30th.

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    1. I don't mind what month of the year I do plant shopping GWGT :) I will look out for your Semps in your posts!

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  13. I keep meaning to try turning polystyrene boxes into nice stone troughs but have not got round to it yet. Maybe this year....

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    1. You should have a go Bridget - they are very easy to do!

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  14. Thanks for leaving a message on my blog Angie, its lovely to meet new people! Your troughs sound such a good idea when you have moist soil, I have a couple because we are on very heavy clay and they are the only place I can grow a few plants that need good drainage.
    I have just been to have a look at my solomon's seal, no sign of them yet, even here in the south!
    I noticed your flower of snakeshead fritillary, lucky you, I should have lots but the local pheasant has eaten most of the flowers!

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    1. You are welcome Pauline. What a shame the pheasant eats your flowers - can't you deter them?

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  15. Things are slow here, too. Not terribly unusual for us here in the Upper Midwest US, but a complete change from last year. Hellebores are still under the snow, although the spot where I have Crocuses and Daffodils is warmer, and they're about to bloom. Hopefully, I'll have something to show for GBBD. I'm in a different climate from you, but my Solomon's Seal probably won't make an appearance until May. They are nifty plants, aren't they?!

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    1. I hope your snow is finally clearing - I'm thinking that if this cold here continues it will be May before mine make an appearance too!

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  16. Very slow here too as we just had more cold and snow...but I hope we warm up and then it will bloom all at once. I am dying to get out and work in the garden.

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    1. Donna - we are all hoping for a bit for warmth! I hope you get out soon!

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  17. Hi Angie, I grow Solomon Seal. I think my climate (Southeast US) quite a bit warmer than yours, and my Solomon's Seal just came up last week. Our spring has been slow to arrive also, especially compared to last year when things started to really warm up by February. It seems this year we may go directly from winter to summer!

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    1. Deb - yes, lucky you a bit warmer than us here! I think spring will be missing too!

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  18. Angie your alpine trough looks nice, you on the east of Scotland have had a worse winter than us here in the west, though it's usually colder in the east but windier in the west, the east wind has calmed over here for the last few days I hope it has for you too, almost everything in my garden is later this year, here's to warmer weather, Frances

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    1. Frances - the weather here in Edinburgh has been relatively good compared to the rest of the east coast. That wind is biting - and hasn't gone yet!

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  19. Hi Angie, love the sempervivum collection. They are such resilient, modest and hardy creatures.
    I wouldn't worry too much about the dicentras and hostas.
    In my garden most of thse are very settled, but I have yet to see a sign of them. Let's be patient and hope for a lovely April.

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    1. Linda - I am really looking foward to getting into growing semps and the other alpines. Thanks for advice re not to worry - it's most welcome :)

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  20. Hi Angie you and be both wishing now it would turn warmer.It really has been a very long cold winter.

    I have a few trilliums but not this one Trillium Kurabayashi Angie its beauitful .

    I bought trillium seeds from Cluny Gardens 3yrs ago I dont know what happened but somehow never germinated.

    So now if I see a trillium if only if I buy one in bloom prefer that than wait to germinate.

    But if you ever get the chance to visit Cluny Gardens its worth it .

    http://www.clunyhousegardens.com/

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    1. Kath - it is beautiful isn't it! Yes, Cluny is a place I'd like to visit. As I'm not going away this year - I just mike make it!

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  21. Thank you for visiting my blog- lovey to meet you. Very cold here-still-and hoping for warmth soon.The crocus are opening, as are the daffodils and my fritillaries are about the same stage as yours.Everything is very late this season.
    I love your sepervivum collection too. I have a few in pots by the back door but the birds keep pulling out the little offsets in their hunt for food!

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    1. I've heard that blackbirds don't leave the semps alone - I'll have to do something about that I think!

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  22. Hi Angie!

    Thanks for your message on my blog! Hope the weather is warming up for you and that you get some bees buzzing around soon! A neighbour has a pussy willow tree in her garden and that is the only place I have seen bees so far - not much going on in my garden apart from the odd crocus and late daffodil so looking forward to hearing thar buzz of spring when it finally arrives! Best Wishes.

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    1. Muddy Boots - you are welcome. Bees are very scarce this year - sad really. I've plenty on offer - I hope they return to your garden soon!

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  23. Congratulations on your Trillium kurabayashii, don’t give it up just yet, give it a dappled shady place and enough water but not too much, it should come up, but don’t expect too much the first year, unless you have a huge bulb. They do take time to establish. Yours is similar to one of my trilliums, my Trillium cuneatum. Did you plant it in the ground or in a pot? You might get better success if you plant it in a pot for now and wait till next spring to put it in the ground. Make sure it doesn’t get baked in the sun during the summer (ha ha, if we get any sun that is!), put it somewhere shady but not completely shady.

    I used to grow Polygonatum curvistylum, it came up for years, usually rather late, sometime in early May usually, but suddenly disappeared, haven’t seen it the last 4 years so I assume it died. Perhaps it is rather short lived? I tell you a great plant to grow if you want to have a Solomon’s Seal, Disporopsis pernyi, often called evergreen Solomon’s Seal. Google it and you’ll see, the slugs don’t like it!! The only thing so far that has damaged mine has been vine weevil, I am going to war against them this year, I am buying nematodes as soon as the weather is warm enough! My Disporopsis pernyi has clumped up and is huge now, after 8 years, so much that I probably should have dug it up and divided a long time ago, I started with just one small pot.

    Let’s put March behind us and think positive thoughts about the rest of April!

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    1. Helene - Disporopsis is very nice!! Sold by my local nursery too. I've added to my wish list!
      Yes - hopefully April will prove to be a turning point.

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  24. Ooh I love your dish garden and pots! I have absolutely no luck (or perhaps talent) with potted plants for some reason.

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    1. Spurge - thank you for visiting. Shame you have no luck with container grown plants. There are some very easy ones - perhaps you should look into those!

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