No Spring Drought This Year

Marigolds, like miniature suns, have kept going right through the winter.

March last year was a good month, from a work perspective. By mid-month I was pretty much up to my full working schedule. How different it is this year. I cut a few lawns, and then wet weather set in. Lawns are now too wet to cut (or even to walk on),  and the ground is too saturated to work. At least there have been a few sunny spells today, between the showers. Over the past week or so the weather has been miserable.

Cydonia 02.jpg

New shoots are well advanced on the Cydonia (Quince), the only  standard tree in my garden (it’s a small garden!)

But while the wet weather might not be very good for me it is, generally speaking, good for the plants. The last few growing seasons have started out very dry, and spring droughts are not good for gardens; not good at all. Plants need moisture in spring, when they begin to spread their roots, when branches begin to shoot, when perennials are starting to push their shoots up from the ground. They need to concentrate all of their energy on producing new growth and flowers. The last thing they need is a shortage of available water. Worse still, it’s easy to miss a spring drought. The ground is often still wet on the surface, from the dew, and we tend not to notice that it hasn’t rained for a few weeks, so we don’t think to water. The plants struggle to get going just as the pests are getting into their stride. And unlike in summer dry spells, slug and snail activity isn’t restricted, as the soil surface it still damp enough for them to move about freely. You wait and wait for the new shoots to emerge, and too late realise that they’ve been grazed off by the molluscs (pardon my language). Plants have been lost. Still, it doesn’t look like that’s going to be a problem this year (although we still need to be vigilant for slugs and snails).

A Tulipa ballerina being ‘a bit previous’.

I’m aware of the need for more spring interest in the garden. I need the naturalised bulbs and corms, like the snowdrops, the lent lilies (our wild narcissus), and the anemones to bulk up. And hell, I need some Hellebores. But still, there’s a fair bit happening in the garden right now.

A Paeonia shoot, like a pair of clenched hands (or, coat it in custard and it could pass as the world cup).

Elsa Spath. Not sure why she’s about to flower  – she’s supposed to be a group 2 clematis. I don’t like the look of that black spot on the as yet disappointing Rosa Constance Spry

Viburnum burkwoodii – the flowers are pretty, but the smell is exotic.

Pulsatilla vulgaris (Pasque flower) – how’s that for delicate beauty?

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