10 Mar 2018

A Winter's Tail

UrbanVegPatch: Crocus in snow, spring flowers
~ What a difference a week makes! ~

Dare I say that I'm moving on from winter?  Too soon? I hope not.  This time last week the garden was still under a couple of inches of snow and the wind froze water into long icicles on street signs. For London, that's very unusual - the last settled snow was in 2012.  I didn't dare hope that open flowers or tender leaf buds on fruit trees would survive the big freeze but it seems that a week of winter followed by a few days of mild sunshine has kickstarted the garden into spring.

So far I've identified only one casualty and that's a 3 year old pineapple sage. Being a half-hardy perennial, it really doesn't like temperatures to drop below 10ÂșC and, growing quite large, had been planted into the washing line/drought garden borders, ie, out in the open. Having now defrosted, it's now looking rather, well, dead. I'll probably need to replace it but will try pruning it to see if that promotes any new growth. Both my aromatic sages (Blackcurrant and pineapple) were bought as small plants in 9cm pots and quickly grew to several feet in size so I'm not feeling the loss too much.

Bizarrely, the blackcurrant sage not far away in a corner of the veg patch seems to have survived, possibly because it has a low wall on two sides. At the northern end of the veg patch, tender scented pelargoniums will need to be pruned back but are also showing new growth in the shelter of the low wall.  Such a small thing but it makes a big difference.  Urban gardens and small spaces can often provide just enough warmth and shelter for less hardy plants to survive, even without a greenhouse.

UrbanVegPatch Kerria japonica flower buds in March
~ Kerria japonica, reliably early with buds of pompom flowers ~
In the new garden where many of the plants are still in pots, I grouped the pots together in the shelter of a hedge to maximise chances of survival. It seems to have worked as my Mum's agapanthus have perked up along with herbs such as lemon balm, mint and celery leaf. Bay, of course, is reliably tough but even the quince-in-a-pot has got tiny buds about to unfurl. Tiny details but I can't help it, I still find it so exciting when the garden wakes up in spring!

~ Lemon Balm in the sheltered garden, not in leaf yet in the veg patch ~ 

During the past week it's been lovely to see that hellebores, crocuses and daffodils have bounced back and I'm amazed at the speed that other plants have shown themselves. Wild garlic leaves are now about 3 inches tall (not long before they'll be added to pesto), broad bean seedlings have peeked above the soil and sweet pea seedlings, not there yesterday, are suddenly an inch tall.  When did that happen!?

It looks as though with just over a week to the spring equinox, winter might finally be moving on after one last lash of its icy tail. Perfect timing to start sowing some brassicas. What's everyone else up to in the garden this week?

Wild garlic, aka Ransoms or Allium ursinum (Bear Garlic)


10 comments:

  1. All starting to look lush and lovely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It never fails to excite, Alison! And next we'll have tulips and cherry blossom to look forward to! And seed sowing, etc, etc ...

      Delete
  2. The problem in our garden and on the allotment is that the melted snow has saturated the soil which is now Justin mud so we are restricted to a bit of tidying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The soil here was very damp for several days so I deliberately left the gardens alone for a while after the snow had gone but will have to get out there now as I've an edible hedge arriving next week!

      Delete
  3. We are still a couple of weeks from seeing anything poking out of the soil in the garden - now under the grow lights, that's a different story ;)

    I don't have pineapple sage - it would never survive here - but my purple sage always looked fairly lifeless after one of our winters. Several times I thought it was kaput, but it proved me wrong and slowly came back to life once it warmed up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm reading a lot about grow lights, Margaret, and would definitely get some if I had the room as it's very gloomy in my flat. I long for large windows and open vistas! The pineapple sage has been a lesson learned for me - the next one will go in a pot or a sheltered corner!

      Delete
  4. It's all looking and sounding good, despite the weather. I hope to be digging out the compost heap this week. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah yes, another job that I still have to do. The start of the gardening year always finds me with tasks still to do! I hope that you've had good weather for your compost heap digging, Flighty! xx

      Delete
  5. It is amazing how most of the plants bounced back after the snow. Sorry to hear you have had some casualties. With the milder winters we have recently it is easy to assume that more tender plants will survive. Sarah x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The casualties are all my fault, Sarah - I really should have been paying more attention! Looking on the bright side, none of the losses were favourites and a clear space in the garden leaves room to experiment! :) But you're right - we really should remember that winter can be harsh, even in the southern parts of the UK! x

      Delete

I hope you've enjoyed this post and found it useful; if so, please leave a comment, everyone is welcome.
Comments are published after I've seen them; this is necessary to avoid spam comments getting published - no offence meant to genuine commenters.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...