So now I go back to normality, after having two years with my husband at home. Once again, a large garden and nobody else but me to tend it. I’ve lost my stamina (through lazing about and having a bit of a holiday!) and am facing the heftier tasks on my own.
But perhaps I’ll blog more? He was always my main reason for blogging – I tried to keep him in touch with what was going on here in our tiny little corner of France. Perhaps, back 2011, I also had a romantic notion that this would be a latter-day gardening correspondence in the style of Vita Sackville-West to Harold Nicolson? But you can’t get the staff any more …
So here are the six things I’ve done or enjoyed this sunny, but frosty week in the garden, following on from what seems like months of rain.
One. How tidy everything is!
The BV has been massively active over the last two years, pruning and tidying like fury. Consequently, many of the views down into the lower part of the garden that were messy around the ears in the past are looking pretty much as a well-tended garden should in winter.
Two. I trimmed the yew hedge next to the Rose Walk.
Just in time for the frosty mornings we’ve been having when the (relatively!) sharp lines please me. In the summer you can’t see the hedge for the roses.
Three. Cyclamen coum.
Things that seed here on the heaviest clay soil I’ve ever gardened are things to be treasured. The standard happy self-seeders are borage, Verbascum thapsus, Knautia macedonica, nigella (in their millions) and Salvia sclarea var. turkestanica – but not much else. That the ants are clearly helping to spread this little cyclamen (which, I think, come’s from the BV’s mother’s garden in Ireland) is a joy and a surprise.
Four. Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida’
Still a baby after seven years. Things take a long time to establish in the clay and I always buy small plants (even a smallish hamamelis is expensive). But this year it’s really starting to take off. So proud!
Five. Coppicing one of the four largish hazels to make clematis tripods. The catkins are going brownish and the clematis will be shooting soon.
I needed to get a move on. I don’t think I did any of the hazels last year.
Six. Cutting back the dead stems of michaelmas daisies in the Hornbeam Gardens (to the right of the picture below). The hazel rods are always supposed to help prop up the michaelmas daisies as well – but I never quite get round to it. Still, the butterflies and bees have a fiesta and don’t care at all that they are feasting on floppy flowers.
Cut but not tidied or weeded!
I’m never going all Christopher Lloyd in the autumn again. Pfff … to his idea that everything is much lighter to cut back in the spring and looks prettier with the winter frosts on it. I’m cutting the asters in the autumn in future. Since our winters are continuing to become wetter, all that soggy plant material in February is a pain in the neck … give me dryish green stems and foliage in the (often) warm sun of November any day.
And, of course, there are the snowdrops, hellebores, all lying down in the frost this morning (these pictures were taken during the week). So pretty, but always there to appreciate as I move about pruning, chopping and tidying.
Go on over to the Propagator’s blog to enjoy more Six on Saturday.
Have a wonderful week – I’ll try to make it over to ‘yours’ and hope to show a little blogging consistency in 2022!
43 thoughts on “Six on Saturday. 26 February 2022”
So happy to read you again and to have news from this little corner of France!
Still frost this morning, here too…
Nice to see your post as well! Have a good week!
On Sat 26 Feb 2022 at 10:32, Garden Dreaming at Châtillon wrote:
> Cathy posted: ” View down over the Rose Walk with newly trimmed yew hedge > So now I go back to normality, after having two years with my husband at > home. Once again, a large garden and nobody else but me to tend it. I’ve > lost my stamina (through lazing about and havin” >
Lovely views of your corner of France. I think you have to prune when you feel best, sometimes nature will tell you what it wants and you are happy with.
As Christopher Lloyd said ‘the right time to do something is when you see it needs doing’!
The frosty hedge backed with dogwood is delightful, Cathy. Interesting to see your primrose do well in clay. Perhaps I can give them a try here in that case. Have a good week.
Yes do – you know, I did purchase that wonderful Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’ that you showed on your blog. Unfortunately the plants were too small and died when they arrived – still mourning them! But will try again.
Ah, that’s a shame about the baptisia. Hope the next one makes it. I have lost several before finding a spot it liked. No sign of mine yet but it is a bit early.
So love seeing your winter views of the garden, giving one hope for spring. Everything always looks beyond hope this time of year, but you seem to have a good grip on getting it tidy. Looking forward to seeing it once it all greens up.
When it all greens up it tends to look messy and I look admiringly at the tidy gardens of other people!
Your dogwoods really stand out very nicely. I would love to be able to grow them like you but the garden is too small here. The stems when trimmed back can be used for attractive stakes for the perennials later in the season.
Yes – I have the yellow cornus stems marked out for pea sticks! Sometimes I use the lime on the pleached specimens you can see on my header, but they are not really long enough or branched enough to use this year.
How lovely to visit your garden again, looking very pretty in the frost. Epimedium versicolor ‘Sulphureum’ is a lovely colour. I cut my leaves back in January – I hope that wasn’t too soon, but last year I left it late and it was hard work avoiding cutting the new flowers.
I also left mine too late last year (busy admiring the wonderful colour!!!) As I’ve done frequently in the past. Now I think end Feb/ beginning March is about right.
What a lovely garden and looking do neat and tidy at this time of year. Mine looks like a child in need of a good haircut!
Ah yes – I so relate to that. I think it’s structure. My structure tends to disappear later in the season – back to the child without the haircut!!!
The garden looks great and like a lot of work! Love the winter colors of dogwood and epimedium.
It is a lot of work. I do love it. The two sometimes don’t add up very nicely but I’m trying for a balance!
I love the results.
Thanks so much!
So pretty with the woody stems coloring up and the first blossoms bursting forth!
Oh yes, I love those stems too. Sometimes I’m sorry to see them go when the foliage comes in. Everything always seems ‘easy’ in January & February!!!
Your garden looks as magical as ever with the frost on it Cathy. Beautiful viburnum and witch hazels. 😃
Thanks Cathy! I see notifications that you’ve been up to nice things in your own garden – I need to make the time to investigate!
Welcome back (again)! Having a ‘tidy’ garden is very much harder with a garden the size of yours, but worth the effort to show off the unique structure. I am glad you are finding more stalwarts that don’t mind the clay soil
And lovely to hear from you too, Cathy. I do often think of you all on Monday morning and sneak around reading your posts from time to time! I keep thinking – oh, that might be nice for Cathy’s meme. And then don’t do anything!!!!
Well, we will lways be here on a Monday in case you do get the urge to put the thought into practice!!
What charming frosty scenes from France!
Thanks so much!
What a lovely, big garden but I’m pleased I don’t have to tend it. You have obviously been very busy.
Sometimes I’m sorry I do have to tend it – at least it keeps me more active than I might otherwise be!
What a lovely garden, I’m very envious. The coloured stems above the hedge look so good.
Thanks so much – yes, I love it, but it’s a bit of a rod for the back at the same time!
I’m always glad to see your posts, the exciting things which you manage in your garden plus excellent photo skills consistently make for a good adventure. Your snowdrops are really coming in, and the yew hedge works beautifully in that space!
Thanks so much – increasingly I feel I’ve nothing much new to report, so always good to get positive feedback! (And if I say I always enjoy your posts as well will it sound like too much back-scratching?!!!)
Back scratch as much as you like, it’s nice of you to say that, but your talent really shows as the garden develops.
I’m amazed by your lovely corner of France. Your photos invite a stroll – bundled up and cozy, of course. Viburnums are vastly unappreciated here in the U.S. but I mean to change that here at Coppertop! Have a beautiful week, Cathy.
Thank you! I look forward to your viburnums!
Lovely to get a glimpse of your little paradise after what seems like a long time. Your place always looks magical in the particular light and the setting. I probably would be daydreaming instead of getting anything done. You‘re so right about things being slow to establish in clay soil. Same here and in summer it‘s so hot that it comes to a standstill but can‘t have it all and when things finally settle or fall into place one is all the happier. Mind you, I‘m really appreciating plants that do it all one their own now. Happy March days🌱
‘Appreciating plants that do all on their own’ … so true. Am increasingly drawn to perennial veg as well (the soil here doesn’t like leafy veg very much, but I adore them!). Have a lovely week!
I’m with you on the clean-up. It really is no fun when it’s all a soggy mess. I love that beautiful, warm, golden light in your frosty photos. Just magical!
It’s like that every morning at the moment – soooo cold!