Saturday, 28 February 2015

End Of Month View ~ February 2015


The word for this month is 'ANTICIPATION'. It's one that I think that should be sung loudly from the roof tops as we reach the end of February. It's that magical time before spring really takes off in giant irreversible strides, were there is still time to simply stand and stare. The days are getting longer, the birds are chirping away, the green bin awaits the first emptying of the year this week and all around the garden and in the cold frame there are signs of new growth.
Galanthus 'Blonde Inge'
February here has been hard to gauge but I think that it has been definitely colder and drier than it was in 2014. There has not been much in the way of wintry precipitation other than the odd bit of fleeting snow, sleet and hail but nothing that has caused serious problems. The most distracting feature of the weather has been cold winds from a northerly direction. I'm convinced that the older I become the more of a fair weather gardener I'm becoming. I definitely can't do wind even well wrapped up. However even on the foul days I've been able to get a daily flower fix from my special snowdrops in the greenhouse and here are just a couple more for the record. Not newcomers but old favourites in the shape of glanthus nivalis 'Greenish' and galanthus plicatus 'Percy Picton' :

Galanthus plicatus 'Percy Picton'

Whilst the former is probably just past its peak the latter is just getting there. It's a late flowering 'drop and unlike a lot of virescent snowdrops it's relatively easy to grow.
Galanthus nivalis 'Greenish'
Elsewhere in the garden the usual suspects are in flower - snowdrops, little irises, hellebores, crocuses, primroses and the pulmonarias are just joining in with the exception of pulmonaria rubra 'Redstart' which came into bloom in early December. Most of my crocuses are in pots and there are some that I think will be heading for the compost heap. They do not seem to be able to cope with the vagaries of the winter elements and have croaked before they have even got going. It's almost as somebody with big feet has stood on them flattening the flowers. I wonder if this has anything to do with the height of the crocus concerned and whether it's the taller varieties that suffer. More research is required but any suggestions of sturdy varieties would be appreciated. Another disappointment in the crocus stakes has been the hundred or so crocus tommasinianus 'Whitewell Purple' bulbs that were planted in the lawn last autumn. To date there are a grand total of two flowers - it must be those pesky squirrels again. Since then I've bought the odd clump or two ready made flowering bulbs in the hope that ready-made planting might thwart them.

Croaked!
Partying
The allotment has been sadly neglected. Where have I heard these word before? Just getting about the site during the winter months remains a challenge as the main paths are so waterlogged. I'm anxious to avoid a repeat of the experience of a fall I had a couple of years ago. Perhaps I'm being over cautious but the plan is to wait until the days are slightly warmer when the standing water starts to evaporate. There will be much to do when I do get there.

Seed sowing has not got off the ground yet but that is a deliberate decision which I will come on to in a future post. At the moment the greenhouse space is occupied by the special snowdrops, a few overwintering cuttings and autumn sown seedlings as well as pots of dahlia tubers which will be kick-started into action come April. I've planted 'Red Sun' and 'Golden Gourmet' shallots in cells this morning and they will head to the allotment in due course. Next job on the list is to make a start on dividing and replanting some of the clumps of snowdrops which are now partially obscured by the gabion wall. Meanwhile it never ceases to surprise me just how well the snowdrops on the other side of the stream continue to flourish without any attention. The stream borders the garden and dotted along its banks are clumps of snowdrops.

Divide Me!
Streamside 
Plant purchases this month have been more named snowdrops (surprise, surprise), the afore-mentioned crocus clumps, helleborus 'Anna's Red' and chaemoneles speciosa 'Yukigoten' which promises creamy double flowers followed by yellow quinces later in the year. I can't wait! I've also been the fortunate recipient of several snowdrops from a fellow snowdrop lover and good friend who reads this blog. Thank you :)

Meanwhile going back to that word anticipation my attention is on the daffies that you can see in the top photo. Starter for St. David's Day or not? Only one more day to find out!

As always a big thank you to Helen over at the 'The Patient Gardener's Weblog' who came up with the inspirational idea of sharing our end of month views. 

34 comments:

  1. I think anticipation is a brilliant word for February, afterall, it's what all gardeners have at the start of the gardening season. I don't blame you giving the allotment a miss after your fall, at least you've got an excuse, mine is that I can't stand the cold weather so it's having to wait until it warms up a bit before it gets any attention from me. The snowdrops on the other side of the stream are just proving that many plants don't need interference from us, they do manage quite well when left alone, we're often too eager to help them along their way.

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    1. I think that I'm using the cold weather as an excuse too Jo :)

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  2. Lovely photos, I wish my Hellebores were as far on :)

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    1. Thanks for your kind comment and a belated welcome too Rona. I hope that your hellebores are not far behind.

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    2. They are all still in bud, but we are high up and the snow keeps coming and going, I shall enjoy them when they come out :)

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  3. We seem to have been operating along very similar lines except my snowdrops aren't special varieties but special to me all the same,

    We haven;t dine much in winter either - the ground us so soggy that it would do more harm than good and we don;y usually plant most seeds until the end of March.

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    1. All snowdrops are special Sue :) Although I have itchy fingers Sue I think that the later sowings soon catch up and can make for stronger plants. Have still to sow anything but there may be a few odds and ends going in at the weekend.

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  4. I'm with you on becoming more of a fair weather gardener as I get older. I'm way behind where I'd normally be at this time of year. Haven't even started off the tomato seeds. Reading Sue's comment makes me feel a little better!
    The streamside is a lovely location for the snowdrops.

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    1. Well that's at least two of us then Jessica who've not sowed tomatoes. You have reminded me that I am still waiting for a packet of tomato seeds to be delivered. Must chase them up!

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  5. I do like 'Blonde Inge'. It must be nice to have a stream running through the garden, so long as it doesn't flood. That reminds me we haven't planted our tomato seeds yet!

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    1. 'Blonde Inge' is a most attractive little snowdrop Brian which soon clumps up. The stream borders the garden rather than running through it. It's quite a shallow surface water stream and to date flooding has not been an issue ...... says she quietly not wanting to tempt fate.

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  6. I'm glad to see you have finally bought hellebore Anna's Red! It's incredibly blustery here today so I am hoping the old proverb about March roaring in like a lion will hold true

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    1. Me to Helen - one off the wish list :) Fingers crossed that March exits more smoothly.

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  7. Lovely snowdrop photos, don't they look lovely by the stream, looking beautiful all by themselves. I'm never in a hurry to start seed sowing, they always seem to catch up later on and I've too much to do at the moment cutting back buddlia, cornus, willow,roses and clematis!

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  8. Croaked Crocus! I see you mention the taller varieties. I know from personal experience the later Dutch Crocus, taller than the earlier species always end up flat on their faces because of rain. Might this have caused your problem Anna?
    I hope that wind clears away, allowing you to get out and about in the garden more. And I almost forgot to mention the Hellebore, it's a beauty.

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    1. Probably either the wind or the rain Angie but it's so annoying when this happens even before they have ever got going properly. I will avoid Dutch crocuses in the future - thanks for the tip off :)

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  9. I am green with envy after reading this post Anna! My borders are still a foot and a half beneath snow! March has come in like a lamb for me, its only -12 today, not the -40 of a week ago! That double Helleborus is divine!

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    1. Brrrrrrrr - I feel cold just reading those sorts of temperatures Barry. You must be doing a lot of anticipating in that case :)

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  10. I am still looking out for Anna' s Red it is gorgeous. I hate the cold wind too, I suppose this is the month for it. Never mind, exciting things are happening in the garden. I have Greenish too, I love it. The Blonde Inge you gave me is coming out, thank you so much.

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    1. You are most welcome Chloris. Glad that she is settling in to her new home. She sometimes reverts to green the following year after transplanting but have no fear she will turn yellow again :)

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  11. I've been enjoying seeing all your different snowdrops over your last few posts, Anna - they are so varied when you look at them closely, aren't they? I only brought bog standard Galanthus nivalis with us, but I've been digging up clumps from new garden (so they are safe in pots when we dig up and re-design garden) and was pleased to discover that there seem to be several different varieties here. I've no idea which ones they are though!

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    1. Good to hear from you Juliet and thanks for your kind words. Different snowdrop varieties - what a welcome inheritance! I will pop over and visit your new garden soon.

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  12. The wind has reached us today, although we don't often get strong winds in winter, so I can sympathise! I shall have to settle for my daily fix of flowers by looking at your - and all the other - end of month views, and need to be patient just a little longer here - your hellebore is gorgeous!

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    1. Hope that you don't have too long to wait Cathy before you can get your daily fix :)

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  13. Well said, Anna, I'm anticipating big time! February has always been the longest month of the year no matter what people say. Nice to see these little gems popping up in your garden. I'd like to see more of that gabion wall some day. Happy end of winter :)

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    1. Yes February seems to last forever Annette but hurrah it has now well and truly departed. I will come back to the gabion wall at some point in the future no doubt.

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  14. Much too cold at the moment to do anything and the bulbs seem to think so too - the daffs just refuse to open - I think we all get a little impatient at this time of year - all good things come to those who wait - and wait - and wait.

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    1. Promises of warmer weather at the weekend are keeping me going Elaine. Patience though is indeed a virtue :)

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  15. Are you going to let on just how many different snowdrops you have in your collection, Anna? ;) If I couldn't tempt you with any of mine apart from one that still needed its mother then you must have a huge collection! At least it makes me feel better knowing someone is buying more snowdrops than me :) I'm glad you have someone else who is happy to exchange or give spares, something I would like to do more of. I assume the snowdrops that border the stream are not in your garden, or at least those on the other side? Your partying hellebore is a starlet, isn't she? Hope you can get to your allotment in due course - and that you can venture out without multi-layers soon

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    1. I'm not sure how many there are Cathy having had some casualties last year as well as some new arrivals this year. I must update my records. I'm sure that you will have some that would tempt me - will have to another peek at your list :) The snowdrops on the other side of the stream (bottom photo) are not ours but the others are. It's a rather nice hellebore but it had an even more attractive companion who sadly looks like the morning after the night before this year :(

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  16. Stunning photos of your snowdrops! I agree it is an exciting time of year, filled as it is with so much anticipation and hope for the new season. I am now sowing seeds with Olympian fervour so spring has definitely sprung in this household!

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  17. It is all about anticipation here, especially after getting more snow. I love the photo of the little field of snowdrops. I am waiting, waiting, waiting....

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  18. How wonderful to see your blooms springing to life....mine are still buried so I have loved seeing so many here.

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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.