greentapestry : March 2022

Thursday 31 March 2022

March Garden Diary

A quick recap of the month before it goes sailing over the horizon. March 2022  has been dry and mild in the main and we have recently enjoyed a fool's spring, basking in a most settled long spell of above average temperatures, blue skies and sunshine. That came to an abrupt end with some dramatic torrential rain on Tuesday evening since when the temperature has absolutely plummeted. The month is ending with a cold but most seasonal snap.

Various distractions have meant that I've not achieved a lot in the garden other than seed sowing in the greenhouse and continuing to plant up the dedicated snowdrop border, where I'm beginning to run out out of room for further snowdrops.  I have been making sure to regularly water new additions and the established bulbs have had a seaweed feed.

A few more new plants have arrived in the shape of yet another pulmonaria 'Miss Elly', phlox 'Blue Paradise', epimediums 'Domino' and youngianum  'Niveum' and viola odorata 'Konigen Charlotte'. I'm looking forward to seeing all of these in flower. I've also had a delivery of dahlia tubers which now need starting off.

I've not sown any vegetable seeds yet but there is plenty of time left to do that. Shallot bulbs 'Red Sun' have been planted in cells in the greenhouse and will be transferred to the ground when they have made some growth.

I've made the difficult decision to sow fewer seeds this year but whether I stick to that remains to be seen.  It's a decision largely influenced by the fact that I have developed osteoarthritis in my left hand, which ironically is not the hand that sustained two breaks a couple of years ago or so. I think that I need to ease the burden on my hands as I get older and sadly lugging seed trays back and forth adds to the workload. The special snowdrop pots have been turfed out of the greenhouse into the outer world, the sand bench has been turned on and seed sowing has been going on since the start of March. 

To date I've sown panicum capillare 'Sparkling Fountain', lagurus ovatus (my own saved seed for these first two), larkspur 'Misty Lavender' (all of eight seedlings as of today), salvia viridis 'Blue Monday', two batches of sweet peas, ' papaver rhoeas 'Amazing Grey', more rudbeckia 'Sahara', phlox paniculata 'Isabellina' and 'Cherry Caramel', amaranthus caudatus 'viridis', cosmos 'Apricotta' and scabious 'Fata Morgana'. I've been mostly happy with germination rates with the exception of the poppy, larkspur (although the packet carried a warning that germination had been low in tests so there was a larger quantity of seeds included in the packet to compensate) and the phlox 'Cherry Caramel', which hasn't germinated at all so a second sowing has been made from a different packet. I will also sow more larkspur and poppy. The only perennial sown to date is heliopsis 'Bleeding Hearts' which is a new one on me. The seedlings from September sowings - orlaya grandiflora, ammi visnaga, perennial scabious, calendula and daucus carrota have been pricked out and potted up. Sadly all the puny snapdragons went by the wayside over the winter. April will see a few further flower sowings. 

Anemone 'Mr Fokker' is now in flower from November planting but those that were planted this February have gone mouldy in their pots. However I'm delighted that six of ten ranunculus 'Champagne' planted in a tray in February have healthy green shoots and need potting up soon.

So that in a nutshell was March in my garden. A month especially memorable for it's unexpected weather and an unbelievable sudden woooooosh of growth, the return of our resident ducks and for the pleasure gained from sticking my head over the stream to to gaze upon  labours of my guerilla gardening. When we moved here there were already clumps of snowdrops and some native daffodils growing on the other bank, which is nor owned by us but isn't maintained by anybody. I have slowly lobbed bulbs over to that side over the years. Numbers have depended on my finances and Wilko's sales at the end of the planting season. More yellow patches and the odd white are spreading slowly but surely with each passing year, with no attention from human hand whatsoever.

Monday 28 March 2022

IAVOM ~ 'Monday, Monday'


A few tiny spring treasures in my tiny vase on  this sunny Monday. Making their way into this week's vase are :

  • Pulmonaria 'Diana Clare' who sadly lost some of her dark purple colouring as I  rather dangerously twizzled the stem round in the vase for a better view. Fiddling has its dangers when it comes to vases. This is one of my favourite pulmonarias. 
  • Muscari 'Valerie Finnis' named after the plantswoman and photographer.
  • A fritillaria meleagris or snakesead fritillary flower with its most distinctive chequered markings. 
  • A couple of stems of perennial anemone blanda.
The little glass vase was a gift from my mum who hand painted it with what I think are suns, although I suppose they could also be stars.

As always thanks to Cathy, who hosts 'In A Vase On Monday' on her blog 'Rambling In The Garden'. All shapes and sizes of vases containing flowers, foliage, stems, fruits etc. are welcome from fellow bloggers each and every Monday.

Monday 21 March 2022

IAVOM ~ A Spring Posy

Although spring has really and truly been officially declared it feels more like winter today with a frost to greet my accidentally door left open overnight greenhouse, stubborn grey cloud cover and a definite nip in the air. I was relieved that I had bought my really tender seedlings into the house overnight and that I had fleeced up a few cuttings before darkness set in. I was also pleased to have snipped my flowers for a vase and taken photos on a Sunday sunny afternoon. In my vase this week are a mixture of late winter/ spring flowers and one that has surprised me by coming into flower so early. They are :

  • A flower of iris 'Purple Hill'. I have not grown these bulbs before now and initially thought it was too dark a flower but it's growing on me.
  • A dusky pink primula - unknown variety.
  • A flower of anemone coronaria 'Mr Fokker' - I planted the tubers sometime in November. They overwintered in single pots overwinter but have taken up residence in the outer world for a while now.
  • A couple of flowers, one now fading, of a  white picotee helleborus hybrid I bought from Ashwood Nurseries.
A sprig from a pulmonaria self seedling Finally keeping the pulmonaria company a sprig from geum 'Totally Tangerine'. The pulmonaria and the geum are companions in 'The Lockdown Border', aka 'The Border Of Doom' ,because of the persistent nightmare of marestail.  I planted three of the geums at intervals in the same border and one plant is flourishing, one is not quite as robust whilst the third is sadly puny. I was surprised to see it showing colour so early. The pulmonaria seedling appeared behind the flourishing geum and so far I've not had the heart to remove it. I was pleasantly surprised to see the geum showing colour so early in the year.

 Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her steadfast hosting. The forecast for the rest of the week is looking most pleasant indeed so I'm looking forward to much time spent in the garden this week.

Monday 14 March 2022

IAVOM ~ Simply Yellow

I peered out early this morning to be greeted by blue skies and glorious sunshine, so my vase this week is just shades of yellow to celebrate a fine start to the day. The little daffies are at their peak now so they seemed just fitting. In my vase are narcissus 'W.P. Milner', 'Jenny', 'Gypsy Queen' (so petit that she is hidden from view) 'Elka' and the bright yellow of 'Téte-à-Téte'. The paperweight has been with me since my teenage years but when exactly remains a mystery. The sun and blue skies gave way to grey and a good shower this afternoon but tomorrow's forecast is encouraging. As always thanks for Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who encourages us to share our flowers and foliage every Monday come rain or shine. 

Saturday 5 March 2022

Garden Diary ~ Looking Back

A mention if February before March is well underway. It certainly lived up to its reputation of being a wet month. As well as what seemed vast volumes of the wet stuff it was an extremely stormy month. Three named storms - 'Dudley', 'Eunice' and 'Franklin' battered us within the span of just over a week. Fortunately there was no real damage in the garden although there was a lot of garden debris to clear up. We had battened down the hatches beforehand which was just as well. It was a month when doing anything in the garden would sometimes have been to akin to taking part in an extreme sport. However there was little in the way of really cold weather and only a handful of light frosts. I haven't seen any February weather statistics so will be looking out for them.

Seed sowing started in the heated propagator starting with the tender cobaea scandens at the beginning of the month. I've sown the purple flowering one. This climber takes a long time to come into flower so an early start is advised. The seedlings are already like triffids but it will be May before they can be planted in the big wide world outside. They have moved out of the propagator and are now on the kitchen windowsill. I hope to prick the most well advanced ones out into individual pots next week. From there they will need a lot of tender loving care and mollycoddling if it is cold. Another early sowing was some rudbeckia 'Sahara' which were sown during half term week here, again in the heated propagator. They have germinated but fortunately grow slowly and caring for them is not as demanding. They have now become a must sow each year. That was the extent of my February seed sowing although my fingers were itching to sow more seeds.

I have indulged in some online horticultural retail therapy treating myself to some spring treasures. First to arrive were a trio of pulmonarias - 'Spring Awakening', 'Stillingfleet Meg' and 'Blake's Silver.' I have a vague inkling that I may have purchased the last one in the past but have no idea what happened to it. In the same box was a diminutive almost invisible epimedium 'Purple Pixie'. I'm relieved to say that it eventually showed signs of life and continues to grow. A trio of hellebores have also descended, a pink from the excellent 'Ashwood Nurseries' and two much smaller but sturdy plants from 'Twelve Nunns Nursery' - both Harvington doubles. All three hellebores were very well packed. You can photos of two of them in this post.

The one remaining pear tree has been pruned. We had two but one has never flourished so the decision was made to remove it. The Charlotte potatoes have now moved from shed to the spare bedroom where they are now chitting on the windowsill.

The snowdrops continued to sing throughout February, along with crocus, iris reticulata, hellebores, cardamine quinquefolia, cyclamen coum, muscari and towards the end of the month little daffies showed their colour. Towards the end of the month the green garden waste bin was emptied for the first time this year, always a welcome sign that spring is really on the way.