Sunday, 6 April 2014

End Of Month View ~ March 2014.

Crocus 'Yalta'
A combination of the dreaded lurgy and being occupied with family matters has delayed my EOMV post but here is a brief round up, before it all disappears from the recesses of my foggy mind. My March word is again a four lettered one - SLOW. It sums up the progress that I seem to be making with my garden plans.


In the garden the main task has been a major spring clean of the relatively new gabion border aka 'The Great Wall Of Cheshire'. Surprise, surprise - the top soil which was imported for the bed did not live up to its top quality label. There were all sorts of perennial weeds having a go at making a good take over bid, so it was a case of off with their heads and into the bucket. I then top dressed with leaf mould some of which was less decomposed than I would have preferred but needs must. The plan is is to cover it up again with wood bark when expenses permit. Already somewhat dishearteningly some of the weeds were already making a come back by the end of the month. If I keep an eagle eye open on them I will knock them into eventual submission.


The bed is mainly planted for late winter/early spring interest with hellebores, snowdrops, pulmonarias, cardamine pratensis, the little 'Elka' narcissus (more to be added this autumn) and bergenia purpurescens 'Helen Dillon' form. A couple of shrubs have now been added. The first is prunus incisa 'Kojo-no-mai' which had been lurking in a container for some time but a decision was made to take the plunge and get in the ground. Also planted was a rather tiddly bare - rooted amelanchier lamarckii which was reassuringly opening its leaves by the end of the month. For later interest there are a couple of astrantia 'Gill Richardson', an actaea and a couple of aster diveraticus.


There are still plenty of big gaps for further planting. I bought a few perennial plants to go in the other day but will mention them in April's EOMV post. The big brain teaser at the moment is that I need to plant a shrub or two to clothe the walls and am still mulling this over. The border faces north and I would prefer evergreens as the bare wall is still rather bleak.

I've noticed an unsightly nibbling problem in this border which is illustrated by the photo below. I have the same aster diveraticus in another part of the garden which are not affected and have not been before now. There are also some nibbles on hellebore leaves. Sadly I had to remove an emerging day lily the foliage of which has really suffered.  I don't think that molluscs are the sole culprits. Any suggestions would be more than welcome.


In the greenhouse the heated sand bench is up and running. Tomatoes 'Box Car Willy', 'Banana Leggs', 'Ananas Noire' and 'Cream Sausage' were sown with very poor germination. I don't usually have any problems germinating tomatoes so don't know whether to put it down to the seed supplier, the compost or whether it is down to human error. A second batch has gone in so I will report back in due course. March sweet pea sowings of 'Erewhon', 'Fire and Ice' and 'Cupani' are all coming along nicely. Veggie sowings included broad bean' Witkiem Manita' and 'Douce Provenance' peas. 'Red Sun', 'Golden Gourmet' and 'Jermor' shallots were planted in cells and are now more than ready to head to the allotment to get their feet in the ground along with 'Red Baron' onions.

Plant purchases in March included the perennial fuchsia 'Hawkshead' along with two more special snowdrops 'Three Ships' and 'Erway'. I also made an online order from Crocus for a  couple of hellebore plug plants - 'Double Ellen Red' and 'Double Ellen Picotee, a trio of dahlias and finally salvia 'Amistad'. which I'd been hankering for. I've bought bulbs and the odd present from Crocus before but have as far as I remember not ordered plants from them. I was most impressed with the packaging and the speed of delivery. These purchases were prompted by a phone call from a good friend, who had ordered hellebore plugs herself and mentioned not only their quality but the fact that the Gardeners World website is presently offering 20% discount off orders placed with Crocus. This offer is valid until the end of April so it could be worth having a peek.

Thanks as always to Helen over at 'The Patient Gardener Weblog' for hosting this most useful and inspirational meme.

23 comments:

  1. I love the gabion border Anna - I do like to see the stone and not sure I could bare to cover it up. That's only my opinion from looking at the picture and not having to live with it.
    I've heard great reviews of Crocus. I don't do plant shopping on line but from what I've read, they are one of the better ones. You chose a couple of gorgeous Hellebores. I grew some from plugs 3 years ago and this year they really did put on a great show as they are now a good size.
    I hope you are well over the dreaded lurgy! I hope you have had a good weekend and managed to get outdoors a bit.

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    1. Oops, meant to add, I don't have a clue what's causing the damage - I hope you find out and what ever it is doesn't cause too much damage.

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    2. Thanks for your comment and good wishes Angie. The photo does not show the full extent of the wall so believe me when I say it needs some cover up :)

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  2. What great names your tomatoes have, I wonder sometimes where these sort of names have come from. I used to have a Hawkshead fuchsia, such a pretty variety. The gardening season is at full pelt now, I've been sowing yet more seeds today. It's just a shame that the weather won't cooperate, I'd planned a trip to the allotment but that's had to be postponed due to the rain.

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    1. They are fun names Jo and all sound quite tasty apart from 'Box Car Willy'. It would be fascinating to find out where the names come from. I spotted the same fuchsia at a show a couple of years ago but did not want to have to carry the pot home by train so was most pleased to find a plant locally at our Country Market. Hope that you can get to the plot this weekend.

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  3. The gabion border looks good and very tidy! Hope you have fully recovered from the lurgy and hopefully from this month onwards you'll be full steam ahead with your plans :)

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    1. Not sure whether it will look tidy for much longer :) I'm feeling much better thanks - not quite full steam yet but getting there.

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  4. Like the gabion border and what you are doing with it. I toyed with something like this to terrace bits of my steeply sloping plot - may show your pics to my husband to encourage him! I've no idea what is causing the foliage holes, unfortunately. 'Crocus' looks very good - tried to order from them but unfortunately they don't deliver out of the UK. Hope you are feeling better and well into your stride now!

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    1. Welcome Cathy and thanks so much for your comment. The gabion wall has certainly created a structure where before there was a sloping wilderness. What a shame that Crocus do not deliver outside the UK. I'm definitely on the mend now.

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  5. I love this time of year when there is so much going on in the garden - despite all the nibblings yours seems to be coming along nicely - shame about the tomato germination I have never heard of any of these varieties you mention be interesting to see what the toms are like later on.

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    1. It's a great time of the year isn't it Elaine :) The second batch of tomatoes have done better but still not brilliant germination with a couple of the varieties. Will do an update on them later in the year.

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  6. Your wall is higher than I imagined! I think the Amelancier and Prunus will look fab against it especially in a couple of years when they have put on some height. I have both and they are wonderful shrubs. Hope you are feel better now

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    1. The wall is higher than I imagined it would be too Helen hence the need for cover. Will have to wait for both the shrubs to fill out but I think that they will look good there. I'm much better than I was thanks.

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  7. Sorry to hear that you have been unwell Anna. What a waste when the weather has been so wonderful. The weather's a bit grim today though. Your bed is looking great. How nice to have space to fit in a few more perennials. How high is the wall? Schizophragma hydrangeoides is not evergreen but its lovely white flowers would brighten up a north facing wall. There is a pink form too. Have you ever seen it? It is gorgeous.

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    1. I've know the plant you refer to Chloris and it could be a possibility. My neighbour has an evergreen hydrangea the name of which I can't recall at present but I'm giving it serious consideration as a well clother.

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  8. Delighted to see Yalta in your garden as I love it so much! tell me about topsoil...I got some and spend ages getting rid of weeds! I'm sure you'll find something suitable for your wall, there are so many plants to choose from :)

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    1. 'Yalta' is a gem isn't Annette? I ordered it last year but there was a problem when the bulbs supplied turned out to be something else. The company concerned though sent me another lot last autumn and they are great. We have the same problems with top soil before and it's so frustrating to unknowingly bring all those weeds in to the garden!

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  9. Your border is looking so fresh and tidy. The hellebores look so healthy! And the pulmonarias are lovely too. I have the same cherry - I do love it. Afraid I can't help with the leaf damage culprit. Maybe some kind of beetle? Hope it moves on soon!

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    1. Oh thanks for your comment Cathy - not sure how long the tidy bit will last. Thanks for the beetle suggestion - something to investigate :)

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  10. Don't seem to have seen anything of your borders for ages, so thank you for sharing this - in a year or two's time they will be brimming, I expect. And more snowdrop purchases - I feel I have been quite restrained in comparison! Hope you sort out your nibblers - there are definitely an abundance of snails around from what people are saying. Interesting to read about your greenhouse sowings - hard to know whether to blame ourselves or compost/seeds for failures, isn't it? My biggest failure was an early sowing of La Diva, a mini cucumber, but i have just sown a second batch so I am hoping for success this time round. Hope you and your family issues are OK now - do take care, Anna

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    1. I think that that the gabion border will take a couple of years to fill out Cathy - it's still very much in its infancy. I don't think that the nibbles are mollusc inflicted but can't be certain. The second batch of tomatoes have fared better than the first although a couple of the varieties could be better. Maybe 'La Diva' who I will be sowing in a couple of days threw a diva like fit at being sown so early. Thanks for your thoughtful wishes.

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  11. Sorry about your lurgy Anna, and how dispiriting to have perennial weeds popping up in the supposedly excellent topsoil. Your plans for the border sound mouthwatering, and it already looks very promising, sadly I have no help to offer in identifying the muncher(s). Thank you for the crocus prompt, I had been wondering about ordering some plants, their packaging is always good, the plants variable and often expensive, but I do want more hellebores...

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    1. The appearance of weeds in so called quality top soil is enough to make me growl Janet! The l hellebore plugs were certainly happy,healthy and more substantial than I thought they would be. I agree that some of Crocus's plants are expensive but these plugs were already reduced and then on top of that there was the additional 20% off so I was delighted with them :)

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All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at : thegreentapestry@gmail.com

Namasté

- Anna.