This Month

This Month March 2020 - Friday, 28 Feb 2020

Sometimes you feel you are going backwards and so far 2020 has felt mostly like that with things breaking down and taking so much time to fix. The storms also caused problems but the damage was not as bad as expected. One old damson tree fell onto a Magnolia, it was soon cleared away and we had to tidy a couple of broken branches on the Magnolia but I don’t think it looks too misshapen. A tall mature Betula Hidcote was pulled up by the roots but didn’t fall right over instead it leaned in an almost upright position against another tree which made it more tricky to remove. Even as we clear them my mind is working out the new planting opportunities. The Birch was down the bottom of the Lower Garden near the Redwoods and I am thinking of trying some Embothrium down there as ours has suckered and spread well.
As I write this I still haven’t planted out due to lack of time and the weather but hope to soon. As well as several trees and shrubs still in pots I have just ordered some more new plants, these include 100 Eranthis hyemalis (Winter Aconite), we do have a few in an area near the veranda which make a bright yellow patch in late winter and I wanted to spread that patch so that on an inclement day they brighten the view from the windows. I have also ordered more Paeony, Eremerus (Fox-tail Lily) and Kniphofia to fill in gaps in herbaceous areas. I have told myself that I must plant out before I take another trip to my favourite nursery so I know exactly what spaces there are to fill but I don’t always listen to my own good advice and it will depend when I have enough time to go.
At the beginning of the month I aim to mark out where two new paths are going and move bulbs, a few perennials and two shrubs from the route. The path going uphill is the trickiest as I have to take into account the direction of slopes on the hillside and  the angle of drive around trees as safety comes first for the tractor.
I do still have just a few little winter jobs left to do but it is oddments here and there with a little pruning, tidying herbaceous and clearing debris out of the dry stream bed which has not been dry this winter and the flow has washed twigs and leaves into dams.
The Rhododendrons are starting to bloom now, usually it is some of the pale ones which open first but this year there is no sign of those yet some of the dark pink are flowering. The Camellias are also opening, yesterday I spotted a daintily-shaped pale pink one deep in the shrubberies. The patch of several bright pink ones in the Lower Garden is getting big so after flowering I will chop them back off other shrubs.

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