It has been a useful week in the garden. The sun was strong enough to warm things up a bit but, more importantly, it was sunny enough to get me motivated, after months of paddling about, frozen and miserable. Suddenly I wanted to sow seeds (easier than the concrete-laying that is also needed) and I had to tidy the greenhouse. It was not awful but there is no point raising seedlings when there are piles of leaves harbouring slugs and woodlice.
The greenhouse layout was changed in winter because I had to try to keep some of it free from frost. In the past I would have put up bubble plastic but it is a job I really hate (and taking it down again). So instead of this I put up a plastic greenhouse within the greenhouse. In this I have a heated mat to provide gentle heat for seedlings. It is all a bit Heath Robinson but is working reasonably so far. It needs constant attention because the mini greenhouse gets very warm on sunny days. It is also a bit crowded and hard to move about in. But I can’t afford to heat the whole greenhouse and by moving plants around this has worked well for the past (mild) winter.
To the south end, beyond the mini-greenhouse, (above) I have a bench that is currently home to a few bigger plants including the sarracenia, my yellow clivia and zantedeschia ‘White Giant’. This is supposed to grow to 2m and is hardy but my plant is just a year old and I am being kind to it – well until I divided it into three today. If it was in the garden it would just be a pile of mush now (like my others outside). What is exciting about it is the white spots on the leaves – and the flowers are OK too. To the left are the freesias, which are not attractive without their flowers.
Outside, Camellia x williamsii ‘Debbie’ has been opening flowers. It has been a close call, with some frosty nights earlier in the week, but there are some lovely flowers, almost free from brown edges. This is the newest of the camellias in the garden, put in last year, and has settled in well. It is a bit flouncy and ‘pink’ but, to be honest, I need some colour and I don’t care.
Crocus chrysanthus ‘Blue Marlin’ has been popping up more buds and these have opened in the sunshine. You can never plant enough crocus in a clump and I hope these will look far better when they increase and the bed is covered in gravel and not just this sand that I put down to see off slugs!
What on earth was I thinking? I splashed out on quite a few tulips last autumn and some will get featured over the next month. A few species went into the raised beds and Tulipa humilis ‘Persian Pearl’ has popped up. I feel so sorry for it. The rain and the wind must be so awful for it. It must miss the trickle of water under the roots as the snow melts around it on the high, rocky slopes of Turkey, Iran or Azerbaijan. Instead of peering up at the cool mountain air the flowers are reluctant to open under sporadically grey and blue skies. I will report again if it looks as if it is enjoying life more in the future.
And yesterday was splendid so we laid concrete around the pond ready for paving. Not all done but a good start made and I feel a bit better about it.