Even while with think of the folk in Ukraine, let’s keep clinging to little bits of spring joy …
It’s been a really sunny week with heavy frosts each morning, although the greenhouse temperatures have never dropped below below zero. It’s been about 12 days since our last proper rain, so I’m wondering if we are headed for another dry spring, followed by a wet summer. Hopefully not. I’ve not spent enough time in the garden … but there’s always next week. Here are my six.
One. The first daffodils. The BV’s favourite, ‘Jet Fire’, is usually the first to flower.
However, this year an even more slug-ridden specimen on our banks beat ‘Jet Fire’ to it.
These banks are where I shove bulbs after they’ve flowered elsewhere. Not much added recently, since no new tulips were purchased in 2020 and 2021 – but there’s always this year to go mad with the bank card!
The bank is a tricky situation to manage (not the financial bank, although that can be tricky too, but the bank in the garden), so I copied another blogger and decided that instead of endlessly strimming, I’d put bargain-basement shrubs and bulbs in there. Unfortunately we rarely have bargain basement material in the shops around here (it all looks like bargain-basement to me, but at ‘normal’ prices) – so they are cuttings moved from elsewhere, if they were taking up too much room. It’s beginning to work – i.e. the grass and weeds aren’t so bad in summer as they used to be. Here you can see it was nicely tidied by the BV before he left for England.
Two. Plants and dahlias arriving, as well as seed sown
I was quite impressed by my Friday delivery of plants and dahlia tubers. The plants that were obviously considered too fragile to put straight into the box came in these little cardboard containers (dual purpose, since I can use them to light the fire).
The focus of all the plant pot movement and seed-sowing was our newly decorated sun room (previously simply a ‘hold all’ for plants in the winter).
The BV did it up nicely in the summer. The only problem is that because it looks so nice I am continually cleaning up after the plants, trying to keep it that way. After the sowing session on Wednesday (there are more some seed pots in the greenhouse), I probably spent about an hour mopping up after myself, something I’d never have taken the time to do in the past. On the plus side, my lettuce germinated the following day – a happy thing because I struggled with them last year.
Three. Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ – purchased last year and full of hopeful buds. This probably doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, but this is the first plant of ‘Bowles’ Mauve’ I’ve encountered in France (in the life – not online!!!) in 14 years. I need to take cuttings, because it will surely get leggy and have a short life on our clay soil, even though I’ve planted it in crack between wall and concrete.
Four. I thought I was rather clever in using the dogwood stems to create hoops for protecting veg seedlings in what I call my ‘cold frames’ (although they haven’t got covers).
I used to buy rather expensive fleece to put over the top of whatever support I was using, but the cats thought it a great game to jump on top and run up and down inside, tearing it in the process. So this year I bought cheaper plastic. Unfortunately the brown boy, Sage, is a ‘chewer’ – he’s like a puppy. I keep going into the drawer where I store toilet paper and finding it’s been shredded (it’s an Ikea model – bolted to the wall and he climbs in at the back). I hope the plastic is not to his taste.
Five. Crocus etruscus ‘Zwanenberg’. It does seem to be bulking up, unlike the corms in the lawn of the Iris Garden, which sadly dwindle a little every year. I like to be botanically correct, so I’m determined that they WILL like the Iris Garden. But you can’t order plants around … and I don’t think I’ve got my mowing regime right yet.
Six. New hellebores, planted just before confinement in February 2020. They were imported by the BV from England. The last time he’ll be able to do that!!!
Decent, named cultivars of hellebores at a good price are hard to come by here, which is a shame, because they do so well in the garden. They seed everywhere and, fortunately, not all the seedlings are a boring dirty pink.
So that’s it for this week. Have a lovely one. Let’s hope the news gives us some glimmers of hope in the days to come.
Go on over to see everyone else’s six at the Propagator’s blog. And thanks to him for hosting!