March Sunshine – time to take stock of the garden

15 º !!  The late March sunshine has drawn me outside for a stroll round the garden. Things are coming to life – well, some of them are! My garden is small – just as well, as I think the novelty would soon wear off if I had acres to cope with. What I have in the front garden is a motley collection of shrubs  such as this mahonia – we’ve come to an uneasy truce – it has agreed not to get out of hand if I agree not to try and dig it up – whatever I do to it makes no difference, anyway – it is indestructible – I quite like it really – it provides some winter colour.

mahonia

and this plant – cant remember it’s name, but it’s supposed to smell of chocolate. It doesn’t, but it has nice yellow flowers so it can stay.

chocplant

Along the side which edges the public footpath I have a giant currant bush which deflects errant footballs , litter and the many dogs which come this way on their daily walks. And last autumn I put a few mixed daff bulbs in which have been flowering away for weeks now. daff

But it’s the back garden where I conduct my annual experiments – it’s a bit of a sun trap and secluded enough for me to sit out and read the newspaper or just  admire my horticultural handiwork in the summer. I don’t have much luck with the herbs I grow in pots as you can see :

mint   rosemary   sage

– especially rosemary, but this year it is thriving – look at this – it’s even flowering!

The chives are making a comeback and so is the fennel

fennel

chivesand I can rely on the permanent residents to provide interest whilst the newcomers get established.

To provide some seclusion and added height my son put a sturdy trellis up along one fence, but because the things I grow along it have to be in pots I’ve had varying degrees of success. I’ve tried clematis which I find quite a contrary species – since doing some research I have discovered the best ones to choose for exposed positions are the little bell shaped ones – I have one so I need more of the same.

The rather exquisite Princess Di clematis with waxy red flowers,  bought at a local garden show,  gave up almost straight away, then came back, then disappeared again (seemed as unpredictable as its namesake)  and then there’s the one with glorious white flowers like dinner plates – the plant re emerges every spring but only produces a couple of flowers now – perhaps I need to nurture it more!

I found a local clematis grower with hundreds of varieties like the evergreen winter- flowering armandii, I had great plans for it – was going to let it weave itself up through the plum tree, which it did to be fair, but I discovered it didn’t like exposed, windy conditions and it, too, eventually perished – a shame as it was very different from the rest! These pictures are from previous summers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   2012EvergreenInFlowerOct10

But back to March. What else is stirring?

It’s exciting walking round my little patch, spying something else just coming back to life – the climbing rose, rose72bought the year before last), the photinia , drastically pruned  last autumn a quarter of its original size, but flourishing,

photFlowers

the honeysuckle  – well, impossible to kill that off , patio pots of aubretia, and the ubiquitous nasturtium,

           aubretia      honeysuckle

 purpleClemTrellis      photinia

And then there’s the prospect of filling my little veg patch with carrots, onions, strawberries, tomatoes and peas.

At the very bottom of my plot there are two fruit trees – a plum and a pear – which always provide me with enough fruit to make jam and pickle for the following winter, but the patch of ground they inhabit is a forgotten bit of land and plants which don’t thrive in the main garden tend to get transplanted down there – and you know what? most of them start to flourish – out of defiance, I think!! such as this euphorbia, which got uprooted when a new fence was put in out the back. Now that’s the sort of plant I like!

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