1 Apr 2018

Six on Saturday: End of March in the garden



Goodness isn't weather fickle! Was that typical for March? It seemed winter would never end. We never know what the weather's going to do from one year to the next and this past month garden plants must have wondered whether winter was coming or going. Here in the UK, we've had snow, we've had sun, we've had rain, chill winds and then we've had more sun, and now to round off the month, it seems we're in for a week of rain. And I've got a hedge to plant. A new waterproof gardening coat has been ordered.

Despite the weather, there are several #sixonsaturday things happening in the garden today:

6 plants flowering now, showing that spring is well under way:


UrbanVegPatch: first tulip flower end of March

1. Tulips - yes really! starting to open in March. A big shout out to Morrison's supermarket for these as this is the third spring they've flowered. Planted into a raised bed with nothing-fancy multi-purpose compost. Five minutes to plant the bulbs, no maintenance, big return on the floral front but I don't pick them. I think they cost me £3 for 50 bulbs; a bargain. Look out for the bulbs from August onwards.


2. Forget-me-nots - the gift that keeps on giving.  I had a few plants from a friend's garden the year before last as they look so pretty in spring. Oh boy. Who knew they could self seed so far and wide! I still think they brighten up the early months but am confused. Some have opened pink; surely they should all be blue, or will they turn colour? Anyone?


3. Pulmonaria.  More commonly known as Lungwort due to its spotty leaves. Such an unattractive name for a beautiful little plant.  Also known as Soldiers and Sailors or Spotted Dog. I thought that was a pudding ... no, that's Spotted Dick. I digress. The buds have threatened to flower for weeks and have finally started to open. Hurrah!


4. Daffodils - yellow daffs have been going strong for weeks through snow and ice but the white ones, my favourites, have only just opened. I have no idea of the exact name as, again, these were Morrison's specials, £3 for 50 mixed white bulbs. The white tulips are lovely but I've been digging up the tiny alliums ever since.


5. Violets. I pictured a bank of wild thyme, oxlips, nodding violets, woodbine and eglantine - a throwback to studying Shakespeare at school. The reality is a few solitary flowers that become slug fodder every spring. They're seeding themselves around though so I'll pot a few up for the middle garden where I'm about to plant some eglantine (Sweet Briar Rose) and the woodbine (honeysuckle) is constantly striving for garden domination but forgiven for its lovely scent.



6. Primulas.  These were the first 'wildflowers' I planted in the veg patch for early colour and early food for bees. They're still my favourites. I have cowslips (Primula veris), primroses (Primula vulgaris), drumstick primroses (Primula denticulata) and all reliably flower throughout March and beyond, being some of the earliest spring flowers. As oxlips are only found growing in ancient woodland, and often mistaken for cowslips, I think I'm there on that one.

(A bonus to the list - the wood anemones and muscari have also flowered this weekend. So 8 plants, but why spoil a good meme!)



6 jobs completed in March:

1 - Dug out literally hundreds of foxglove seedlings
2 - Moved self seeded Cavolo Nero seedlings to this year's spot.
3 - Tidied up garden debris - swept up leaves, weeded, washed and tidied pots, disposed of litter ... yes, quite; it's a community garden so visitors/strangers/tenants and their families wander through. I'm still appalled that people will chuck plastic bottles, cigarette packets, beer bottles, plastic containers and food wrappers into a garden!! I also currently get scaffolders' debris. 😠
4 - Ordered new netting to fence off the garden against cats and foxes.
5 - Continuously picked up the 'calling cards' from said pesky critters. 😠
6 - Pruned gooseberry bushes, redcurrant, and quince, pear and apple trees - just in time!

6 jobs still to be done:

Make lots of paper pots. Then sow hundreds of seeds ...
Pot up spuds that are still chitting on the windowsill because I need more planters.
Repair fence and remesh (see 'Jobs completed')
Plant hedge - I'm going to grow an edible hedge! Excited? Oh yeah.
Finish new layout and herb bed in middle garden.
Move herbs from veg patch to other garden.
Buy cover for balcony staging to turn it into a mini greenhouse.
... Oh, and heaps more but let's not get overwhelmed too early in the season.


Linking to:
#sixonsaturday hosted by The Propagator blog 



20 comments:

  1. Lovely flowers which I can't grow them here.

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    Replies
    1. They are all cool season flowers, Endah, and the tulips need to be planted through a winter to bloom successfully. But you have other flowers - and fruit! - that I would love to grow but can't. I can savour them by reading your blog though! :)

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  2. All those blooms are so lovely & that is quite the list of tasks, both completed and to be done! We, unfortunately, are still a ways away from any blooms or any significant amount of time spent outdoors - spring is definitely delayed this year (this being an actual fact this time round vs. my annual "feeling" that spring is taking forever to arrive, simply because I'm antsy to get into the garden!)

    BTW - My forget-me-nots also bloom in both blue and pink. Perhaps the variability in colour is just how they are or there may be something in the soil that affects their colour (similar to acidity and blue hydrangeas?)

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    1. A lot of my tasks would have been done by now if the rain would just stop for more than a morning! I'm pleased I got the fruit trees pruned though, the quince needed to have more airflow through the centre. The forget me nots will have to stay a mystery; they're naturally woodland plants, so you might have something there about soil acidity ... although they were blue last year, in the same spot. Nature is teasing me.

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  3. Great take on the six-on-saturday! What's in your edible fence? Please do share!

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    1. Thanks! The hedge is a mix of plants producing fruit that can be used for cooking, eating or flavouring alcohol - mostly sloes, but also hawthorn, wild plums and pears, dog roses and sweet briar for rosehips, crab apples and an Amelanchier which can grow as a small tree, also known as Juneberry. It will be for both the birds, bees and me! :D

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  4. At the end of last week they forecast heavy snow here for today but there isn't a flake to be seen, we've got heavy rain instead. Typical bank holiday weather. Primroses are my favourite sping plant but you've done so well with your Morrisons bulbs, what a bargain. I have tulips and daffodils in my garden which the previous owners planted, they've flowered every year that we've been here and that's nearly twenty five years now. Foxglove seedlings, they're driving me mad, they've popped up all over the place this year. Hope your son is getting on well at uni, we were lucky really in that Daniel chose York and Eleanor isn't that far away either at Nottingham so we never had any really long journeys. It's only after uni that Daniel's settled down south.

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    1. I've only just spotted your comment, Jo, so I hope that the weather is much improved up in Yorkshire in the last week. That's amazing to still have inherited tulips and daffs twenty five years on - those bulbs must love your garden! This coming September will be the last year for my son, he's really enjoyed being up in Leeds and isn't decided on where he'll be next. Probably back at home as living is so expensive for young people today until they get settled into a job. I hope your son Daniel is enjoying being in the south, it's a bit different from Yorkshire - I've always found the north to be a much more welcoming place!

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  5. Many our the same plants that you have mentioned still haven’t flowered for us. The primroses on the plot are flowering but we still have hellebores and crocuses. The mini daffodils are lasting well too courtesy of the cool,- no cold - weather. Even when the sun is out it is bitterly cold.

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    1. My hellebores are mostly still flowering, a few now going to seed (must deadhead!! as I already have an alarming number of seedlings). It's been such a long winter, you must be longing now for warmer - and drier - weather.

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  6. I'm impressed by your list, especially the ticked off tasks! I'm very hopeful that the weather is improving, but prepared to be disappointed. It's such an exciting season. Take time to just enjoy it.

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    1. Lol! Exciting is certainly true and it's definitely motivated my gardening - as soon as there's a hint of dry weather, I make the most of it by getting outside! And exciting because every day there's something new to be seen.

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  7. I think temperatures will gradually start to rise, Sue - even in Yorkshire. A bit of warm sun would be very welcome. The hellebores here are still flowering although the pale green/white ones now have large seedpods. I have enough hellebores so I might cut those flowers for a vase! The primroses are the earliest flowers on the allotment, where they've self seeded into the grass. Very pretty.

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  8. I enjoy what you guys are up too. This sort of clever work and coverage!

    Keep up the superb works guys I've you guys to blogroll.

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  9. Your flowers are way ahead of mine too! Those tulips are doing well three years on, lucky you, that is certainly good value for money! My forget-me-nots have often had those pink hues, this year they are well behind, just tiny plants.
    Interested in hearing more about the paper pot making and edible hedge! xxx

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    1. I've been quite surprised to hear about snow and frost further north in the UK while our temperatures here in the south are beginning to be quite pleasant. At times, it's been too warm to have my coat done up while gardening, yayy!
      I'll definitely be posting on both the edible hedge (great for wildlife!) and the paper pots very soon! xx

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  10. You're leaps & bounds ahead of our garden here, as well. We've been very lucky w/violets just getting on w/it. The slugs don't seem interested in them, perhaps because there's so much else to plunder! I also like all the folk names & that you know them! Impressed.

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    1. My violets have certainly spread themselves around but I can't see many flowers - grand total of 2 so far this year! :( I love all the folk names of plants, they can tell us a lot!

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  11. Six on Saturday sounds fun! And you've managed to do loads, far beyond six I can imagine :)

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    1. Very fun little meme and a good way to get to know other garden bloggers! Now all I have to do is keep it up but it's great to end the week with a short summary of what's gone on.

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