I think flowers at the end of winter are absolutely delightful. My hellebore”Penny’s Pink” is just stunning; I also have a white hellebore that is a lot simpler but also very beautiful – I’m rather wowed by its change from white to green. I’ve discovered recently that I love green flowers, they balance other colours so beautifully.
Elsewhere in the garden I have a mahonia, sarcococca and winter heathers all in flower, as well as crocus and a few snowdrops. My snowdrops have been really disappointing – after transplanting a couple of hundred last year, very few have come up. I planted them in the green into a rose bed…. and think now that perhaps the soil is just too rich for them to manage. I’ll now dig up the few that have survived and move them to a more hospitable location.
I also have a shrub that has flowered for the first time this winter – it’s been in the garden for about 3 years and had made the ‘do something or die’ list. I vaguely recall buying a scented shrub for near the front door, so to see it flower is lovely. I think it’s a Lonicera purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’ – however, I’m not inundated with the many flowers shown on on-line images… perhaps I’ve not nurtured it enough, or it may still be too immature. Anyway, while the plant is not the most beautiful specimen, the depth and sweetness of the scent is a joy.
This week I have finally managed to sow my sweet peas – I’ve never sown this late so fingers crossed I have some blooms later in the season. We’ve had so much rain in Buxton – as we move into March I’m really ready to stop planning and to start moving!
Having turned my back on the garden for the past month, it’s lovely to connect again and to feel the love for my little space. The garden is full of birds, the bulbs are on the move and, surprisingly, I’m still enjoying quite a few vegetables from the plot. Three varieties of kale – used as a key ingredient in a warming winter soup!
Downing tools has given me the chance to sew a special birthday quilt for a surf-loving brother. It has also given me time to reflect on the year that has been, and of course, to consider what I’d like to achieve for the year ahead. Opening for the NGS last year was physically really tiring – so I’m very happy this year to garden for myself – to make improvements and finish a few projects, but most of all to enjoy the garden, to sit and read, to pick more flowers and take more photographs.
There are some aspects that I don’t think worked for me last year. The cutting garden has gone, primarily because it was at its peak in July / August when I head away for the summer – all that work and no-one to harvest and enjoy it seemed a bit sad. Edible flowers will remain, and I will certainly do the sweet peas and cornflowers – but I’ll go back to picking (sparingly) from the borders!
My other real ‘failure’ was my Sissinghurst-esque tie down of the roses. I believe the mistake I made was pulling them too strongly – so many of the branches that were tied didn’t flower at all, and some died. Big error. I will attempt it again, but will be kinder on the poor rose! I loved a post by The Dahlia Papers on Sissinghurst – and can picture the rose lace adorning my stone walls… I have a trip planned to Sissinghurst in June so can check if mine looks like theirs… I can but try.