April 25, 2014

Spring, springing


I never finished my earlier spring-in-the-garden post and everything has moved on, the way everything does this time of year.   Including the frelling indoor jungle which I am still hauling in overnight occasionally THANK YOU WEATHER GREMLINS.  THANK YOU SO MUCH.  And I went to the ironmonger’s* yesterday for silver polish and came home with a tray of snapdragons.   Which will have to be brought indoors if it turns cold again.  And the sweet peas are getting to the twining-up-your-arms PLANT ME PLANT ME stage.   Arrrrgh.  Also I’m waiting for the early bulb greenery to die back a little more before the (tender) summer bedding goes in.  Even daffodils will lose the will to live if you don’t let them soak up some rays after they’ve flowered.  I am having a daffodil tragedy however–the only daffs I had this spring were the ones in pots.  Not a single one of what is usually the stealthily expanding army of daffs in the ground came up.  With the cottage garden’s all-the-plumbing-in-Hampshire drainage system I doubt they rotted, even in the winter we’ve just had;  I think I must have some extremely fat mice.  Whose mutant gene allows them to eat daffodils which they are not supposed to do.

Minimalist and tidy are not my forte indoors or out.

Minimalist and tidy are not my forte indoors or out.

Anyway you have to imagine everything in this photo about a foot taller.  And a couple of the hippeastrums are in ginormous flower.  They were supposed to flower at Christmas, of course, but I . . . forgot to plant them.  The bulbs are surprisingly hardy;  I’ve rescued two or three from secret corners of the garden where they were having a nice summer outdoors from last year which, having been fed and apologised to, are good-naturedly producing leaves.  I have no idea when they might flower again.  The flowers, however, are fantastically tender.  It gets below about 50 degrees and they shrivel up and fall over.  Sigh.  Live and learn.


Pots.  I haz em.

Pots. I haz em.

This will, I hope, look a little more artistic later in the year when things start coming up and being themselves and I can move stuff around for maximum impact.**  And just by the way there are a good twenty roses in this shot.  Maybe twenty-five.   The [mumble-mumble] new ones are still heeled in in a single big pot just out of frame at the front.



Well, it is very exciting.  I didn’t have any for a couple of years–they can be fiddly to convince to settle down and be happy and grow, and the Evil Red Lily Beetle eats them.  I’ve turfed out my remaining lilies and the ERLB have apparently gone looking for better accommodation.

Well, they are very exciting to those of us who love them.

Well, they are very exciting to those of us who love them.


Okay, I've already done FRITILLARIES!!!!!  So I suppose it would be vulgar to do CAMELLIAS!!!!!

Okay, I’ve already done FRITILLARIES!!!!! So I suppose it would be boring and repetitive to do CAMELLIAS!!!!!

As regular readers of this blog know, in my pantheon roses are the business.  But I’m amassing kind of a lot of camellias.  If they ever invent a repeat-flowering camellia I’ll be lost.  As it is the fact that they’re only fairly briefly in flower–and tend to be biggish to GIGANTIC shrubs–keeps me a little under control.  One of their great virtues however is that they’re pretty trouble free.  Anything in a pot you do have to be pretty faithful about feeding and watering, but beyond that you can stuff them in any corner–including dark corners–and they’ll just get on with it.***

And furthermore a pink camellia.  How surprising.

And furthermore a pink camellia. How surprising.


And the mythical rust-red cowslip.

And the mythical rust-red cowslip.

After mentioning here that I didn’t even know there was such a thing I received an email from a friend saying, er . . . those might be the cuttings of my rust-red cowslip that I gave you when I was there last year?  Oh.  Well, they’re doing really well.  Turns out I planted another little tuft of them in the dark narrow bed beside Wolfgang’s space where the standard yellow cowslips do very well, and it’s rioting away there too.

Markham's Pink (clematis).  Another important harbinger of spring in my life.

Markham’s Pink (clematis). Another important harbinger of spring in my life.

I’m pretty sure I post a photo of Markham’s Pink every year#.  It grew up the shed outside our bedroom window at the old house and was one of those things that I had to have even in a tiny town garden.  But the one at the old house was a delicate little item;  Peter muttered every year that it was in a very bad place, poor thing, and it was surprising that it kept coming up.  Well, I have it in a medium-sized pot and it gets fed every year AND IT’S FRELLING HUGE.  I have several clematis throwing themselves around over the little low picket fence around the Hellcritter Relief Station Courtyard and I keep having to be creative about where to twine the extra 1,000,000 feet of clinging-tendril stems.

Frilly pansies.

Frilly pansies.

I don’t ordinarily like the big frilly vulgar## garden centre pansies but I think these are a hoot.  They’re in a hanging basket because . . . because.  Stuff goes in where I’ve got a gap at the time that whatever it is is ERUPTING out of whatever it’s been in.  Plants grow.  Plants are supposed to grow.  You’re happy that they’re happy and growing.  But . . .

And two random old people caught walking through someone else's garden a while back.

And two random old people caught walking through someone else’s garden a while back.

This was another garden post I didn’t get around to organising . . .


* * *

* Which is more of a general store than just hardware.  You can buy teapots, tourist tat, slug bait, batteries and pet food at our ironmongers’.  And silver polish.  And for a few weeks in spring, snapdragons.  I may have bought those frilly pansies (see below) there too, last autumn.

** Metaphorical impact.

*** Although for your sanity’s sake, WATER THEM A LOT the end of summer.  Or all the flower buds will drop off . . . not at the time, so at least you know immediately you’ve screwed up, but just before they would have flowered, the following spring.  This is deeply traumatic.  It happened to me once or twice at the old house because the garden was so frelling huge it was easy to forget stuff, but I’ve had flowering camellias every year so far in my tiny town garden(s).  ::Pours a libation over the compost heap to the Camellia Gods::

Also, if they ever do invent a repeat-flowering camellia, it’ll probably need more sunlight to crank itself up for the second flush.  I have as many as I do because they’ll thrive in shadowy recesses where roses wouldn’t.

# . . . Probably including the following story . . .

## Since when did vulgar ever bother me?  ::Looks at feet, wearing black and brown sequin tiger striped All Stars::


Please join the discussion at Robin McKinley's Web Forum.