A senior moment…

Some of you may have noticed a little blunder on my latest post. Entitled ‘Hellebores and more…’ it was about day lilies, which are of course Hemerocallis, and not Hellebore. So many plant names, the Latin all seems to run into one after a while. Or maybe I’m getting old!

Hemerocallis and more…

It’s just over a week since we came home from twelve nights in Andalucia, to find the Hemerocallis (day lilies) were in full bloom.

I’d like to be able to tell you what varieties we have, but as they were all here in the garden when we arrived, and there were no labels, I don’t know. I’ve an idea the red one above (my favourite) might be ‘Stafford’. But I can’t be sure. I should do some more research. Some of the others we have come in unusual colours. This brown-maroon hellebore is quite impressive…

I’m not so sure about the next, which I would describe as flesh-coloured…

Before we went away, we prepared plants as much as possible, watering those in pots, and moving them into shade. The weather forecast showed mostly dull weather – not too much rain, but not hot. Never trust a weather forecast! We apparently missed the best of the summer, with 27 degrees centigrade one day, no rain (until the day before we got back) and quite a bit of sunshine. Consequentially, we lost some plants. Particularly upsetting is the Eucalyptus Moorei ‘Nana’ that I’d grown on from a tiny plant. Due to time constraints, and the weight of the pot it’s in, I didn’t move it into shade – a bad mistake. Oh course it might yet recover. But it looks dead to me (or as they say in Australia “It’s cactus, mate!) I guess that serves us right for going on holiday.

No-mow May, on the rear lawn, morphed into no-mow June, and now no-mow July…

At this point I would be inclined to cut the grass, but I’ve learnt from previous years that if you leave the grass long you get grasshoppers, and we have. So far, they’re only small. I love to have them hopping around – they really bring the garden to life. I don’t want to obliterate the habitat they need to complete their lifecycle. So we’ll just have to make the most of the meadow look for now.

Elsewhere in the garden, Helleniums are just coming into flower…

And this is Phygelius (again, it pre-dates our arrival, so I don’t know the variety). Not a plant I’ve had much time for until now. It often looks scrappy. And some varieties spread vigorously throughout borders and into the lawn. This one is a bit more shy, and I have to admit, it looks good at the moment…

We’ve planted quite a few Aconitums around the garden, and many are flowering now. I love their spikes of hooded flowers. Most are A. napellus varieties, but there are also some A. carmichaelii, which flower later. I’m still on the lookout for white-flowered varieties for our white bed by the house, after the supposedly white ones I ordered from a well-known nursery (who shall remain un-named) turned out to be blue!

I’m trying to introduce clematis into the garden because, as well as adding height, they look beautiful. But I’ve got my work cut out; probably because they don’t like our thin soil. The white Clematis alpina I put in was fine in it’s first year, but this year, it died. There are three type 3 clematis I’m trying. C. vitiwester, now in its third year, is feeble…

C. ‘Vanessa’ (pale blue) has put on more growth, and it will be interesting to see how the flowers turn out (it doesn’t flower until August).

We also have not one, but four C. perle d’Azur- all divisions from an unwanted plant I dug up from a customer’s garden. It’s early days, but so far they are doing alright…

The geraniums have been good so far. This is, I think, G. ‘Eureka’…

The maintenance has slipped a bit this year. Before we went away, we had our work cut out clearing the spent forget-me-nots we’d glibly allowed to set seed all around the garden (even in the white bed!) Since coming home, I’ve spent many hours pulling up the foxgloves before they spill millions of tiny seeds all over the beds. I’m leaving the white ones to seed, in the hope that we get more of those next year.

Another plant that seems to think it owns the garden is Verbascum chaixii ‘Album’. Unlike the foxgloves and forget-me-nots, this is a plant we bought. We started with two small perennials…

As you can see, it grows very easily from seed. And has huge tap roots. As I’m working my way through the large, main bed, I’m realising that many of the other perennials have been overwhelmed by a combination of foxgloves and verbascum. This bed was looking very overcrowded. It needs both more structure, and more diversity. I’m taking out all of the foxgloves (there are already more coming) and starting to judiciously edit the verbascums (with the intention of removing spent flower spikes from those that remain, before they set seed). It’s already looking better.

Lastly, an oddity. I believe we started out with three plants of Iris chrysographes; a black iris. There is only one left, but it flowered well earlier this year, and now has large seed pods forming. So perhaps I can grow some more on from seed.

text & photos © graham wright2024

Foxgloves

The foxgloves are in full swing now. These useful biennials seed themselves around all over the garden. Those that are where you don’t want them to be can be pulled out easily (and make a nice clump of greenery to feed to the compost). I probably don’t ‘edit’ them as much as I should.

Here and there a white one pops up. Last year I tried to dead head the purple ones and allow the white to seed, because I prefer the white ones (particularly in the beds where I’m aiming for a white theme). Clearly, I wasn’t very successful.

You can, supposedly, tell what colour flower the seedlings will produce by looking at the stem colour (the purple ones have darker stems and veins) but this hasn’t worked for me. Perhaps I didn’t study them hard enough. The purple forms are pretty too though.

Sweet rocket (Hesperis matronalis) can self seed too. The year we grew them from seed they filled the borders, but they’ve diminished in the following years (too much ‘editing’?)

These campanulas were here before we arrived, and also seed around freely. I’m not complaining – there’s nothing like having beautiful plants for free!) Like the foxgloves, some of the seedlings turn out white. Most are in shades of lilac.

Keeping on the theme of self-seeders, we planted Phacelia as a green manure one year, and loved the flowers so much we couldn’t bear to dig the plants into the ground. They too come up year after year. The flowers are pretty, long-lived – even in a vase – and have a sweet smell like honey. And the bees absolutely love them.

On a more cultivated note, we were disappointed last year with how quickly the Allium hollandicum ‘Purple Sensation’ flowers were over. Allium Christophii, on the other hand, lasted much longer. So we bought some bulbs of those last autumn, planted them into pots (thank you Monty Don and Gardeners’ World for that tip) and popped them into the garden in spring.

Here are some more of the highlights at the moment…

Baptisia australis (apparently native to America, not Australia!)
Rosa ‘Claire Austin’
Planting around the pond is filling out – Iris sibirica, hostas and Ligularia dentata ‘Midnight Lady’
Stipa gigantea (oat grass). Close up, you can see the pretty, tiny, yellow flowers
Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ – one of the best roses for fragrance
Salvia ‘Nachtvlinder’ – I’ve given up with ‘Amistad’, because I’ve been unable to over-winter it. ‘Nachtvlinder’ has smaller flowers, but is fully hardy

The garden moves on at pace, and I feel a weight of responsibility to try and fully enjoy each new highlight as it happens, and before it’s over without me having even noticed!

text & photos © graham wright 2024

Roses, At Last…

It’s been a long time coming, but finally we have roses blooming in the garden. I don’t know why it’s taken so long. We’re quite exposed – the wind blows in across the open fields of North Shropshire. But there’s a native hedge, with hawthorn, blackthorn, crab apple, and others, around the garden. Before we moved here it had been kept cut back to around a metre and a half high, but we’ve let it grow up and fill out, so it should be providing good shelter. This isn’t the warmest area in the country, but neither is it among the coldest. And other plants are no later than elsewhere (fruit trees, for instance). Maybe it’s the soil – dusty, sandy soil wouldn’t be the first choice for a discerning rose. Never mind, they’re here now. This is ‘Gertrude Jekyll’…

And below is ‘Munstead Wood’, another David Austin Rose, though for some reason the company have discontinued it. A shame, because, as you can see, it’s a lovely rose, with a rich burgundy that’s difficult to find elsewhere. I really must try taking some cuttings (don’t tell David Austin!) These pictures were taken during a period of prolonged, mostly heavy rain yesterday, hence the blooms are looking a little sad (wouldn’t you be too?)…

For the past two seasons we’ve had problems with the flowers on our roses. Something, I suspect, is attacking the buds, Sometimes the tops appear to have been nibbled away, so they don’t come out properly. With others, there’s a more fundamental level of damage which results in a completely distorted (often quite small) flower. The yellow rose in the front garden was particularly badly affected last year. Every flower it produced had ragged petals. I’ve yet to identify the culprits. It could be wasps – they’ve been known to munch on rosebuds or, more likely, earwigs – we get a lot of those. But I haven’t caught either of these red-handed. In fact, I’ve not seen any pests actively attacking buds, either during the day, or at night. I’ve not found anything in my mini horticultural library (i.e., my gardening books!) that helps. I may have to ask the RHS (members can contact them for help with specific problems). I pruned off most of the damaged buds and flowers without thinking to take photos, but I managed to find a few that don’t look right this morning. This is a red climbing rose that wasn’t affected last year…

This is a damaged bud doing its best to open on ‘Gertrude Jekyll’…

And this is on the yellow rose (it pre-dates my time in the garden, so I don’t know the variety)…

If any of you have ideas about what might be causing the damage, I’ve love to hear them. It’s always a shame when plants are attacked. But I guess that’s just the way nature works. We have to try and create a balance in the garden and then hope for the best.

Climbing rose ‘Lady of the Lake’

text & photos © graham wright 2024

Early May Highlights

The garden is growing rapidly now, with something new to see every day. Most of the trees and shrubs are well on the way to being in leaf, and the warmer temperatures of the last few days are really pushing things on. Around the pond, the camassias have put on a better show than I was expecting. They’re quite dainty looking plants – the ones I’ve grown before were more robust, with thick, strappy leaves. It could be that these are a different variety, or it may be because the soil we have here is thin and sandy…

These photos were taken around a week ago, and already the flower spikes are nearly finished – they don’t last for long! In just a few days they’ll have been replaced by the iris sibirica. There are a few out already, and the rest will follow soon.

These came with me from my last garden (or at least, a clump did). And those were a division from a lovely customer in Penarth. They are incredibly successful, bulking up quickly, and able to be divided within just one or two years. There are now numerous clumps around the pond, and some that have been planted elsewhere too. They don’t flower for ever so long, but the faded flower spikes continue to look good all year.

The tree peony had half a dozen blooms this year. A few years ago it nearly died, and I suspect what we have now has grown up from the rootstock to replace the grafted plant. But it’s still impressive…

After a slow start, the hostas are coming good. This is ‘Patriot’…

And this, ‘Halcyon’…

I split two of the large ferns that were here when we came and spread the offsets through the shadier spots in the garden, and they’re doing well so far…

The two Fagus sylvatic ‘Dawyck’ trees that I planted (one green, the other purple) are out, and beginning to gain some presence. This is the purple one, with the Viburnum plicatum Mariesii in full bloom behind and to the left, and a white rhododendron on the right…

We’ve got the first Allium hollandicum (‘Purple sensation) out (the rest are close behind)…

The chives are out too, and the first Eschscholzia flower…

This solitary kaffir lily (Used to be Schizostylis, now Hesperantha – thanks botanists!) seems to have got confused – it’s compatriots won’t be flowering until late summer…

And the first of the large butterflies has made an appearance. This, I believe, is a peacock…

There are other things happening, but I don’t want to overload you. Lets just say that the daily wander around the garden is a joy at this time of year (especially now the weather has warmed up).

text & images © graham wright 2024

Holehird Gardens

We visited Holehird gardens a week ago, while on a short break in the Lake District. We walked from our bed and breakfast accommodation on the road south of Windermere, and fitted in an obligatory coffee stop in the town on the way. Homeground looked to be the place to go, but people were queuing up outside to get in, so we walked on and found a smaller place, called Toast a bit further on. It was very quiet, but a great find. You’d have to go a very long way to get a better coffee. And their brownies were pretty lush too.

From Windermere, we took the path up to Orrest Head, and then carried on down the other side and across country, and with a bit of trial and error managed to get to the gardens. Holehird is a ten acre fellside garden managed by the Lakeland Horticultural Society. It’s an RHS partner garden, so I could have got in free, but the entrance fee is only five pounds, so I decided to pay anyway (with a bit of encouragement from the lady on the desk). The gardens are run by volunteers, so it seems like a very good cause.

At the centre is a walled garden, with herbaceous borders, island beds, a glasshouse and and stone troughs for alpine plants. The tulip display was in full flush…

Holehird gardens have been laid out with a wide range of habitats, and support a fascinating and diverse range of plants. Aesthetically beautiful, they’re also a plantsperson’s dream. And the labelling is as good as I’ve seen in any garden.

The surrounding landscape – the fells – is dramatic, and forms a great backdrop for the gardens. It reminded me a little of gardens in Snowdonia – particularly Bodnant, and Plas Brondanw.

You can see from the photos that the weather was moody, but there wasn’t anything more than a few spits and spots of rain, which isn’t a bad day for the Lake District.

There isn’t a cafe at Holehird, which meant we had to do without lunch – we really should have been more organised and taken a picnic. They do have a machine for basic tea and coffee, so we were able to sit sipping a warm drink in the walled garden. After a couple of happy hours wandering around the gardens, we set off on the walk back to Windermere. In all, we’d walked quite a long way, so we were ready for a rest (and some food!).

text and photos © Graham Wright 2024

Tulips

Like many people, we planted tulips in containers (last November) to make a show in spring. While ours survived the wet winter without any problems, the wind and the storms have been more of a challenge. Our pots have been in and out of the greenhouse to protect them from wind and rain damage (and then in and out of the garage, when we realised the warmth and light of the glasshouse was bringing them on too quickly!)

We limited ourselves to three varieties; fifteen of each – Queen of Night (Purple), Princes Irene (Orange) and Spring Green (cream/green).

There is a problem! As you can see in the next picture, only three of the Spring Green turned out to be Spring Green. The other twelve are a frilly yellow number – not really ‘us’!

We bought them mail order from a certain well known nursery with the initials S.R. (a little clue for you). This is not the first time we’ve bought tulips and been given the wrong cultivar (though that was from a different supplier). And then there were the white aconitums that turned out to be blue (a different supplier again). I think this must be a common problem, as on Gardeners’ World last week Monty Don was showing off a whole bed of vibrant magenta tulips that he had expected to be a much softer tone. So much for planning. To re-work an old joke;

‘How do you make a plant supplier laugh? Give them your garden plan.’

Despite the unexpected colour, the bulbs were good quality, and of a size to give a big flower in their first season. It’s generally recognised they will produce smaller flowers in subsequent years (some people – wasteful souls – throw their bulbs away and start afresh each year). Less extravagant folk (I’ve got that in common with Monty) will plant their tulips in the garden once the show is over, in the hope they may naturalise – the flowers may be smaller, but they still make a good show.

Tulips we put in the garden seem to have declined since last year – probably due to the wet winter. Ballerina seems to have held up well…

Others varieties, such as Prinses Irene, Queen of Night, and Negrita seem to have largely gone, but for a few isolated survivors…

The same is true for the white variety Purity. As for Pieter de Le Leur; last year it was fine, but this year the plants and flowers were so attacked by an unidentified critter, they were unrecognisable.

Daffodils too have suffered. Tete a Tete, and the regular tall, yellow trumpeted varieties were as good as ever. But there aren’t many Narcissus ‘Thalia’ left. These few are in the white (except for the invading myosotis, of course) bed by the house…

Talking of forget-me-nots, the garden is awash with them at the moment. If I’d had the time, I would have edited the self-sown seedlings out a little more. On the other hand, they do look good – very romantic…

Another self-seeder that has really taken off this year – a biennial – is honesty (Lunaria)…

Things in the garden are moving at pace now, with something new to see every day. The Chocolate vine (Akebia quinata) is flowering on the pergola. Unfortunately our resident wood pigeons have taken a fancy to the new leaves, shoots and flowers, so the plants hang down well, where they are out of reach, but are looking a bit bald on top (I know how they feel!)

And thanks to the (relatively) mild winter and lack of hard frosts, this year the three Pieris are showing undamaged (so far) bright red/pink new leaves.

It shouldn’t be long now before the first of the roses are flowering (if they survive the current strong winds ravaging the garden as I type). I can’t wait.

text and photos © Graham Wright

Castlefield Viaduct

On a rare trip into Manchester last week – it’s a bit of a trek from North Shropshire, where I’m living now – I took the opportunity to climb the staircase up to the Castlefield viaduct. I’d read about this project to turn a section of the long unused viaduct into a garden, inspired perhaps (and there’s no shame in that) by the now famous New York Highline.

The garden is split into two main areas. The first section is a straight path flanked on both sides with wildflower meadow, planted into what looks like very poor, stony, soil – presumably relatively unimproved from what was there. Unpromising ground into which to grow. But of course there are a profusion of experimental projects showing how – if you choose the right plants – brick dust, rubble, building waste, even concrete and decaying tarmac, are not necessarily an obstacle to creating a garden. The wildflower meadow borders were, as you would expect at this time of year, somewhat low and scrappy – not much to see there, but I’m willing to bet they will put on a show as the weather warms up.

The Second part is more formal, with large, steel planters, with a full range of plants, from ground cover, up to trees. The planting was neat and tidy, with quite a lot of interest now. Young Himalayan birches provide some height (doing their best to compete with the shiny new tower blocks in the background), and their white trunks were looking good. The feature plant on the day of my visit was Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ (or ‘Kojo-no-grow’, as I like to call it – a little unfairly, but it is a very small, slow growing tree) with early, frothy, white blossom.

Grasses are used to good effect, and will look good all year round. These (Calamagrostis x. acutifolia?) are due to have last year’s foliage cut back anytime now – difficult to bring yourself to do it while they still look so impressive, but it will make room for the new leaves and flower stems…

In bays between the planters there is a potting station, with miniature greenhouses…

A text sculpture in rusting steel…

And even a wildlife pond…

Tiered planters at the far end provide displays for smaller plants…

Trams are passing back and forth on the adjoining viaduct the whole time, as you can see in some of the photos.

We were accosted by a couple of geography students from Durham University who wanted us to take part in their survey assessing the value of the space to the community. As you can imagine, our replies were very favourable. And then the sun came out, which made a huge difference…

And it stayed out for the rest of the day as we wandered around the ever-changing city we once knew so well (but that now grows so quickly as to need regular research to keep up with what’s happening).

We passed by the new ‘Factory International’/Aviva venue which, disappointingly, was shut on a Tuesday! I have to say, the side of the building we saw didn’t look much – a drab, concrete cube with some powder-coated steel behind – a nocturne in beige. I believe the front is a bit more interesting, but even that didn’t impress me when I saw it on television. It’s an enormous venue, and I can’t help thinking it’s going to prove to be a white elephant – I wouldn’t be the first person to question where the events are going to come from for yet another large venue. I also understand it went well over budget and cost many billions. But then, as a friend of mine pointed out, that’s very much in the tradition of factory records (and the associated Hacienda nightclub) that inspired it.

The Castlefield viaduct project comes under the auspices of The National Trust, but is, apparently, only a temporary installation, so its future is in question. While the intention is to make it permanent, funding has yet to be secured. On the other hand, if the money can be found, plans are afoot to plant up the other 800m and turn the whole thing into a permanent fixture. I very much hope that happens, as this is a fabulous resource for a city that is relatively poor for greenspace (although at long last, the city is working hard to change that).

text & photos © graham wright 2024

Bodnant Gardens March 2024

The Pin Mill at Bodnant

It’s early to be visiting gardens, but it’s been a long winter, and we were chomping at the bit, so at the weekend Mrs Pullingweeds and I decided to head over to National Trust Bodnant Gardens in North Wales (near Llandudno). It was a cold day; grey and cloudy, and with a biting wind. On arrival we found a bench on which to sit and eat the sandwiches we’d brought. Fortunately the large, flat, grass terrace behind the house was quite sheltered. And as you can see, the magnolias were in full bloom…

This little parterre with a fountain – more or less first thing you see on entering the garden – is one of my favourite areas. It’s understated and calming, being predominantly green, and sets up the view through to the garden beyond. The contrasting textures and shades of green, and the different forms of evergreen – upright, prostrate; clipped, make it visually dynamic. That’s a Sarcococca hedge at the front – in winter, the scent it produced will have been amazing.

Spring bulbs were everywhere, including lots of fragrant hyacinths…

The blooms of a pink Chaenomeles (Japanese Quince) set against a retaining wall looked quintessentially (or is it Quincessentially?) Japanese…

Magnolias are a feature of the gardens, and we were surprised to see how advanced they were. Judging by the range of plants that grow successfully outside, I think Bodnant must have a mild climate. It’s on the edge of Snowdonia (now known as Eryri) but in a valley. There are lots of mature trees which must act as a shelter belt.

On a bank of one of the streams this flower was the first to come out on a Magnolia stellata

Bodnant must have soil with a low pH value, as Rhododendrons flourish there, with a range of unusual varieties…

Another sign of acidic soil, there is an extensive collection of Camellias, many of which are in bloom now…

The cascading white bells of Pieris were at their best when we visited…

Bodnant has a large winter garden, which provides interest through colourful stems, evergreens, and winter-flowering plants..

The house is private, so not open to the public, though it’s very visible at the top end of the garden, and it’s a very attractive stone house that sits well in the landscape. There are a few garden buildings, including the ‘iconic’ Pin Mill (at the top of this post), and this striking mausoleum set into a valley side…

Bodnant is a large site – around 80 acres – so there’s plenty of walking to be had, along streamside paths, through woods, and open areas (as well as the large formal gardens). Some of the fields were planted up with daffodils…

Daffodils feature quite heavily in the gardens at this time of year, with lots of different varieties…

There are plenty of Hellebores too…

And here and there, a few irises…

This Edgworthia chrysantha ‘Red Dragon’ caught my eye. Not a plant I’ve grown, perhaps because it’s quite tender; needing a sheltered position, ideally in a relatively mild climate. This one was tucked away beneath a large rhododendron. The flower clusters stood out well, with an interesting structure. And the scent was very pleasant…

Bodnant is unusual in that, in addition to the standard garden centre shop, it has a very long, narrow stone building that serves as a shop for local craftworkers and artists, so if you visit, it’s worth allowing some extra time for a browse.
The garden centre is privately run. It seemed quite expensive – I think they must have put their prices up. Having said that, they do sell a selection of small pots of both perennials and shrubs at very reasonable prices (e.g. Forsythia in a 9cm pot for £4.99).
There is more than one cafe too. The range of cakes was limited when we went, but apparently they had been unexpectedly busy. The cakes we did have were very good.

Bodnant is a fantastic garden, in a spectacular setting, with mountains in the background to the south, and the estuary to the North West. The gardens are a plant-lover’s dream. If you are anywhere near, I can thoroughly recommend a visit.

text & photos © graham wright 2024

Late Winter Highlights…

The weather hasn’t been conducive to gardening, but there are plenty of signs of life in the garden now. While some narcissi don’t flower until much later, these early ones have been out for more than a week now…

There are crocuses (croci?) coming up all over the garden, including these yellow ones around one of the apples trees…

And these Crocus tommasinianus, which we planted in the lawn. I’m hoping they will eventually form large swathes, but so far, they’ve been sparse, and rather fragile…

There were hellebores in the garden when we arrived. I’ve moved them around as I implemented my design. As yet they aren’t exactly thriving (I need to bulk up the organic material in the thin, sandy soil) but they are providing some flowers…

Cherry Prunus x. subhirtella ‘Autumnalis rosea’ can produce flowers at any time through the autumn and winter, and it’s really full of blossom now. Not the most blousy of cherry’s, but worth it for the out-of-season blossom. The dark cloud behind shows it up well…

I planted a low hedge of the evergreen Sarcoccoca, another winter flowering shrub, close to the house for the rich, sweet fragrance that now greets us every time we venture outside the back door…

And close by a Viburnum x. Burkwoodii, which will in time make a large shrub, is preparing to open clusters of small white flowers. This too has a lovely, strong fragrance. It’s semi-evergreen, meaning it holds on to some of it’s dark green, glossy leaves – how many depends upon how harsh the winter is…

Snowdrops are all over the garden – they do seem to like the soil, and are bulking up well. Here, in a raised bed beneath a mature silver birch tree…

…and in our little ‘woodland garden’ outside the kitchen window, where rhododendron buds are swelling, and delicate Pieris flowers are almost out (the staked tree is a Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Slender silhouette’ which is now in it’s second year)…

Pundits will tell you snowdrops prefer shade, and soil that doesn’t dry out, but for us they are also flourishing in full sun, at the base of a fence, in a narrow bed of dry sandy soil. Never make assumptions about what will grow where!

Also in the woodland area there is a skimmia which, like the rhododendrons, I moved from elsewhere in the garden. The move doesn’t seem to have done it any harm…

Dried heads of Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’, in another shady spot, are persisting well into winter, and looking good in the low light…

And a young Acer griseum (paperbark maple) is already displaying the peeling bark that the plant is known for. As yet, it’s only around a metre high, but it’s been in the ground for around three years, so I’m hopeful it will take off this year. As well as the attractive and unusual bark, Acer griseum is also one of the best trees for autumn colour…

Spring bulbs are pushing through the soil now. For the second year running we’ve bought more allium bulbs for the garden, and followed the advice of Monty Don, of Gardeners’ World fame. He suggested planting them in pots, to be put out in the garden once things have started to grow. The advantage is you avoid the danger (when planting bulbs into the ground during the dormant season) of digging up other bulbs. It’s also easier to ascertain the best positions to fit what’s there already. Here they are, in pots, ready to go into the beds soon (these are Allium Christophii)…

And last year we put new tulip bulbs into decorative pots. For now, they’re still in a sheltered position near the back door, but soon we will move them out into sunny positions on patios…

There was a cold snap towards the end of last year, but overall the winter has (so far) been rather mild; if wet and windy. There may be another burst of icy weather to come yet, but it feels as though the worst of the winter is over, and momentum is gathering for spring. We’ve even been feeding the goldfish!

Text & photos © graham wright 2024