Tuesday, 31 March 2015

End of Month View March 2015

February 2015
For once the End of Month seems to have come round rather slowly. I'm not sure if that's because February came and went in a flash or because the month of March continues to be a cold one and little time has been spend outdoors.  All day today we had sleet, hail and rain.  Interspersed with glorious bouts of sunshine.  On days like this, you can almost hear the garden grow.  I love it!  The lion that roared at the beginning of the month hasn't quite let up yet.      

I forked in a couple of bags of manure along the hedge line in an attempt to give the hedge a bit of a boost earlier this month.  It is not the best specimen and for reasons I've touched on in previous posts - it stays for now.  I'm hoping it will benefit from all that goodness I have added.  I know it would probably benefit from a good prune, possibly to within an inch of it's life but I feel that if I do that, then the whole garden will be open and what little shelter from the wind I currently provides would be lost.  I had 2 jobs marked down to get down since last post, one was to move the mat of Campanula persicifolia that seemed to have made it's way around the base of the hedge, that's now gone but I've still done nothing about moving the Podocarpus.  I did however move the small Taxus baccata x media a few feet towards the corner, it looks better there, I think.   It will get tall but as it is a narrow upright specimen, it should fill that corner just fine.  In the four years I've had this shrub it's been moved from pillar to post and I hope now I can be happy with it where it is.
Looking West - End of March 2015
after a hail storm
A neighbourhood cat or possibly one of my own, I've yet to catch the culprit, has taken to using the freshly forked over soil as a toilet.  I've positioned a few large stones in those spots in the hope to deter who ever it is.  I've made a small bird bath feature out of a couple of them.  Speaking of birds, the bird feeder has proved a great success this winter and I am attracting far more goldfinches into the garden than have ever been before.  This of course will also be a reflection on how cold our weather has been but it's been in constant use and I'd be loathe to withdraw it now.   I had originally put a feeder there to attract the bullfinches that perched on those nearby trees.  They did not come in their droves and a lone female has been seen in the garden only once - here she is foraging around.  A rather fuzzy picture taken through the living room window a couple of weeks back. 

Kindly posing for a few snaps are some of the now regular visitors to the front garden.  Thankfully, the squabbling starlings and sparrows tend to stay round the back and these little ones get their fill in peace!
Greenfinch, Great Tit, Goldfinch and Blue Tits
The whole area has been weeded and the lawn edged.  I had hoped to have given the grass it's first cut by now and got some grass seed down on the path leading out from under the arch but the weather has hampered my attempts.  Still, it looks far tidier just with the edges done. 

Most of the perennials are now raring to go and whilst it's been difficult not to focus on the lack of blooms throughout February and March, there is little I can do about that now.  It will be remedied come autumn and I will introduce some Hellebores and yet more early bulbs. 

Looking back toward the house, the bearded Iris, which are dotted around, came from round the back where they struggled for years, rarely blooming.  They seem to be enjoying the better drainage round here.  Many I have never seen flower as they were brought along from my brother's house when he moved in there 3 years ago.   It will be interesting too see just what turns up and whether or not they will be worth keeping.  Other Iris that should hopefully make a good show this year are the Juno Iris I previously grew in containers and the Dutch Iris Bronze Beauty that were planted last autumn.
End of Month View March 2015
towards the house

Mixed behaviour from the roses, some are really going strong, whilst others are still tight in bud.  Those that are tight in bud are the ones that chose to flower very late in the year.  I have no idea if this is the norm or just a coincidence.   Any ideas?

Apart from the Roses (which had time to settle in all summer) and one or two others, I am seeing how all these plants will look together for the first time this year.  Last year's End of Month View was one where I chose to fill the border as the seasons progressed, which to be honest is my usual method of gardening, I am very poor at planning.  Doing things this way is a whole new ball game for me and I am filled with both excitement and apprehension on how it will look come summer time.   

The End of Month View meme hosted by Helen over at The Patient Gardner's Weblog is an extremely useful one.  It helps to give me focus, it gives me something to work towards and also provides a means to get my thoughts down without the need for hand written notes.  A reference to look back on and to compare successes and failures, what works and what doesn't.  I can thoroughly recommend taking part.  If you haven't already done so that is.        

Just as I was about to come indoors, I spotted this wee beauty getting ready to bloom.  Primula Elizabeth Killelay is one of my favourites.  I've had it quite a few years now and last year was recovering in a pot after being divided to give away to a few friends.  She seems delighted to get her feet back in the ground and has put on quite a bit of growth.  She should, all things going well, look great come bloom day on the 15th of the month.   

Primula Elizabeth Killelay
just coming into bloom
  

33 comments:

  1. I do like your arch, it's a lovely shape. Everything looks so neat and tidy. It will be interesting to see how things develop. I'm glad you find the meme helpful

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    1. Thanks Helen, yes an extremely useful meme.

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  2. Your front garden is really nice and tidy, I'm looking forward with you to see the Irises in bloom. I love the bearded Irises but here they are rather difficult to grow, I always have to look for the most dry and sunny spot on the edge of a border. One year they show flowers the other year not and then I transplant them again. It keeps us busy, that's gardening.

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    1. I am hoping that the front garden is dry and sunny enough for the Iris Janneke. The first of them flowered last year, so fingers crossed.

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  3. I like when the spring clean is done and I can see all the plants coming through the ground, we have had snow, sleet and strong winds, warm weather seems a long way off again!

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    1. I don't know about you Rona but I am sick fed up of winter now!

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  4. Love the arch, and very pretty hanger for all those bird feeders.
    I am having trouble with my bearded iris not blooming, too. Maybe I should move them all to a different spot.
    Happy Gardening!
    Lea

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    1. Glad I'm not the only one with bearded Iris problems, here's hoping we can find the right spot for them for once and for all!

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  5. I am envious of you having Bullfinches in your area, we haven't seen them for years. Plenty of Gold finches though, which are a pleasure to see.

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    1. Don't you find those Goldfinches can get rather vicious? Still, no more than the starlings I suppose - it's lovely to see them. I hope I get the chance to see some young later in the year.

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  6. Looking forward to seeing pictures of your bearded irises in bloom. I didn't make much progress on my monthly project either, just did a lot of weeding and tidying.

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    1. I can well imagine that you've had your fair share of winter too Alison - roll on summer, eh?

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  7. All your hard work is really showing off by now, it is looking great Angie. I like your birdbath, it is a great feature in the garden, my birdbath is visited almost daily and I have to re-fill it often because the birds splash out all the water. Your Primula ‘Elizabeth Killelay’ is lovely, one for my wish-list I think – well, if I didn’t have so many plants to move right now, but I hope to get space for even more plants soon :-)

    Hope the weather has been kinder at your end than down here, the storm today was ferocious and it feels like we have had windy weather for weeks by now. I am ready for warm, nice spring weather!

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    1. Did I not send you some P. EK Helene? I know I gave a few away, if I didn't let me know and I can send you some for your, hopefully, new garden.
      I doubt the weather up here could ever be kinder than yours Helene - it's bitterly cold here today again.

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    2. No, you did send me a few other primulas but not this one. I planted all the ones you sent me in the garden but some did not come back in the autumn, might have been too shady for them down at the bottom where I put them. I will dig up all I can find and take with me, but I think a few are gone. I can’t find ‘Apple Blossom’ which I have waited for and the seeds didn’t sprout, did yours?

      I would love to have one of your P. EK, maybe you could just stick a label with my name on one for now? And then I could get back to you later when I have moved and got sorted in my new house. I might have something to send you back too if you want – my garden looks like a mid-size garden centre at the moment!

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  8. Dear Angie, I love to see all the little plants emerging in your garden. They are really brave, considering the weather that you were having, aren't they? The newly edged lawn has quite an impact, maybe I am bourgeois, but I can't help but liking tidy gardens with clear lines.
    If I were you I would also be quivering with excitement in anticipation to see for the first time how all the plants that you put into the ground last year will look together this spring and summer. I am most curious about the irises and the roses.
    The primula that you are showing at the end of this post is a particular pretty one which also carries a beautiful name, rightly so!
    Wishing you that the weather becomes more springish and you can spent be outside and enjoy your garden!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. The rains, which are truly welcome now, are helping all those pretties on Christina. There is just something about a tidy garden isn't there?
      I knew you'd be curious about the roses and I hope they meet with your approval when they bloom :)

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  9. Chissà che bello quando tutte le perenni saranno fiorite ! Mi sono sempre piaciuti questi angoli di giardino tutti da scoprire ! Complimenti per la struttura all'entrata ! Sembra davvero robusta !

    A risentirci e buon mese di aprile :D

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    1. Yes, it is nice to see them Pontos. Wishing you a good April too :)

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  10. The arch is an excellent feature, and I think your lawn looks immaculate, which probably tells you everything you need to know about the state if my "lawns"!! This meme is brilliant for charting progress of new areas, I look forward to watching your front garden develop. I love the care you are showing it, rather than the standard neglected look of most front gardens.

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    1. I am rather liking the arch now Janet - at first I thought it was perhaps too big but I just think that it was because it was new and I hadn't got used to it.
      Nice to see you back commenting :)

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  11. We have found that when bullfinches feed in the garden they seem to prefer the flat surface if the bird tables rather than perching in feeders and they also seem to like being close to cover of shrubs etc.

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    1. I discovered that same when I was reading up on them Sue and have been using those large stones to put down some seed and throwing a handful under the hedge for them. They could well be coming in the morning but since I am sound asleep, I may never know.

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    2. They are only occasional visitors to our garden.

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  12. There seems to be a lot of new growth since last month and you can start to see the structure more. As someone who also suffers from the buffering winds, mine come up the driveway that creates a wind tunnel, I understand the desire to keep the hedge even if you would like to change it. It does an important job even if it's not quite what you like.

    I don't know if this helps, but my climbing rose, which gets full sun, has also been slow to take off. I can see the buds, but I'm wondering if the aforementioned wind tunnel is impacting on it holding back. Certainly the constant winds through March meant that the temperature stayed low. Let's hope April is calmer and we see our roses and everything else really spring into growth, full force.

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    1. I was thinking just the same Julieanne. The roses furthest from the hedge are the ones that are slow. I think you've hit the nail on the head, so to speak.

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  13. I always think of you a very well organised planner in the garden Angie, as you choose plants so carefully and position them so well! The front garden is looking well, and I bet you are longing to get climbers twirling up the arch!
    Lovely little primula, which is recovering well from its exertions!

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  14. I'm sure it will be a joy when the weather stays warm and the garden wakes up, angie. Your front garden looks very tidy and with the work you've already done to improve the soil, I'm sure your spring blooms will be glorious. I'll leave your question about the roses to those who are more knowledgeable than I am - my own roses seem slow to get going this year despite our very warm spring but I think that may be due to my failure to feed them.

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  15. I think your garden is showing all that joyful promise of early Spring that a short warm spell will unlock. And how tidy you are! I'm looking forward to seeing if your irises bloom, especially if there is a mystery to what they are. There are a couple like that here too. Perhaps this year will be Iris Surprise time.
    I really like the arch too. It adds a exciting element as well as more planting space ��

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  16. Lovely primula EK, Angie. I have one very similar but it's blue with white edges, don't know the specie name. I'd like one as yours too. Your garden is weeded so clean, good job!

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  17. Angie it all looks so neat and tidy, I was thinking about cutting your privet hedge back as I read and then you mentioned it, as you have a fence there could you put a bit of windproofing plastic up for a year or two, I know it doesn't look so nice especially on a front garden but on the garden side of the fence it might not show so much and then you could cut the hedge down, privet does respond well to cutting, I know this from experience with the one I inherited here, also the wind proofing would give both the hedge and garden protection and with the manure you have dug in the hedge would have a really good new start, just my thoughts,

    I like all your birds and your cat deterrent, I had a problem quite a few years ago now, too many places for stones, I found a 'cats off' jelly stuff in a shop in town, it was like blue jelly with strong smell, the first time I sprayed the area the cat made even more mess, but after the second spray it did the trick, cat stopped, apparently it is the smell, if you can put down something that out smells their smell they don't like it and move on,

    your primula is nice, the Drumcliff I recently bought and planted is flowering nicely too, I had planned joining you in your purchased plants post but BT had other ideas, I am moving to the post office so hopefully will have a broadband connection in a few weeks, it has been nice to read a blog, Frances

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  18. You look so tidy an organised and how exciting with so much coming on.I love your little Primula, I have this one and it is a great favourite, but mine gets smaller each year. Do you split yours annually to keep it growing well?
    And you have bullfinches! How lovely, I haven' t seen any for years.

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  19. Oh your 'Elizabeth Killelay' such a pretty primula. I think all the bullfinches must have migrated north of the border. I've not seen one in the garden here for years now Angie :(

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