|~Spring, at last? ~|
The first weekend of February has been wonderful though - clear blue skies for two consecutive mornings so I've been able to not only get some much needed work done in the garden but also to take a look at the current state of play. All photos were taken on Saturday morning during the inspection.
I wasn't expecting much - this is the UK in January! - but the garden is now in its fifth year as 'the veg patch' and slowly we've built it up year on year. The herb beds have always done well but the mild winter has allowed the parsley, marjoram and thyme to keep going, although the Sweet Cicely died right back. Tiny shoots are appearing on the tarragon and mint plants and the blackcurrant sage has been flowering like this (below) since autumn. It's so pretty that I'm going to try and take a few cuttings to propagate it. Fennel regrowth is vigorous and rosemary maintains the evergreen backbone of the herb bed. One of the jobs on my list for February is to move the lovage I planted last year; it's in the wrong place as I haven't allowed it enough room to spread which may be a good thing as it's a big plant!
On the veg front, I have onions and kale (Cavalo Nero); the kale is still small having been planted out quite late in the autumn but will quickly catch up now and the onions are the tiddlers from last year that I left in the ground. I assume they're edible, if not they'll flower and make a very nice lunch for visiting bees! The globe artichoke (Violette de Provence) is looking good - when that fruits this year, it will be the first time I've tasted artichoke but, for looks, it's one of my favourite plants in the garden. The physalis and marshmallow plants from last year are also showing strong signs of regrowth (as is my 'Glaskins Perpetual' rhubarb) and will need to be planted or potted on.
And then there's the flowers. At this time of year it's all in the detail. Last year I was desperate to establish a clump of proper violets - edible flowers, y'know - so ordered plug plants of Viola odorata from Victoriana Nurseries. I let them grow on in a large planter as I didn't want to lose them to a passing animal; now they're strong enough to survive on their own so I'll plant them out under the fruit trees where it will be nice and shady in the summer months. The flowers shouldn't appear until late February but I've got one or two nodding violets already. It's that mild winter again.
Elsewhere, one large self-seeded Cerinthe has been flowering for weeks (I pulled several others out today as they'd flopped across paths), geraniums planted at the beginning of last summer are reflowering, strange twisted borages display wind-battered blue blooms and a bed of polyanthus sing out with their bright pink petals. I planted those for a bit of spring colour as I didn't think there'd be anything else and tucked a row of saffron crocus down the middle of the bed. I won't see any crocus flowers (or saffron stamens) until the autumn when they'll be flowering next to the (edible) dianthus flowers - the two spiky clumps in the pic below.
Oh yes, and there's my old faithful, the cowslip (Primula veris) as shown in the top picture. That photo seems to sum up a spring day for me; inexplicably, I've had the tune 'Dawn' from Pride and Prejudice running around my head all day since I took that shot, probably because it made a beautiful soundtrack to my walk around the garden in winter sunshine. It's a rather nice piece played on the piano (one there for Pianolearner!), have a listen:
So what else? The weekend saw the raspberry canes chopped back, with the old canes bundled up to be used as pea sticks in a couple of weeks. Mint and comfrey have been repotted into larger pots, strawberry plants have been pulled out - I have way too many of them and the fruit wasn't that great. I'm left with the Rambling Cascade strawberries that I had two years ago from Victoriana and some Mara des Bois woodland strawberries. (Tiny but with an intense flavour.) Traditional spring bulbs are beginning to show - one or two narcissi are about to flower, bluebell leaves are pushing through as are the tête-a-tête daffs planted last spring so I'm hoping for a show of those in a few weeks. And I'm thrilled that a small team of us managed to get over a hundred tulip bulbs planted in December - that really is something to look forward to! I also cleared and netted one bed, only another four to go!
|~ Nothing is wasted: raspberry canes ready to be used as pea supports. ~|
I'm joining in with the Garden Share Collective for this end of month post. There are bloggers from Australia, New Zealand and UK taking part; it will be interesting to see what's happening elsewhere in the world!