This Month

This Month February 2023 - Wednesday, 01 Feb 2023

I am trying to think what I have been doing in the garden for the last month, I am afraid it hasn’t been  as much as I would have liked due to the cold weather. I am hoping there will be enough warmth now to keep my fingers moving more easily. I have been slowly working through the pruning and must get it finished this month as it gets harder to dodge spring bulbs the longer it is left.
I have quite a few new plants to put in, a lot of these are ground cover for shade which is another reason I I am trying to think what I have been doing in the garden for the last month, I am afraid it hasn’t been need to finish pruning in the shrubberies so I can get these new plants in the ground.
I like Trillium (Wake Robin) and have bought four new ones, they are spring flowering perennials with three leaves and atop of these are flowers of three petals. They are quite slow to establish but are well worth the wait to see them bulk up and they are long-lived. T. grandiflorum has large white flowers, T. recurvatum has deep red-purple flowers whilst T. rivale Purple Heart is pink.
To plant in the grass I bought an Epipactis royleana (Helleborine), there are a lot of the native Epipactis in the garden which have spread to many areas and grow so well that I could not resist this new one which is a lovely red.
I have also bought Gentiana asclepiadea Alba which has white flowers, I already have the blue variety which is seeding in the shady shrubberies. Near the same area we were recently doing some pruning of dead out of Rhododendrons which turned out to be more cutting back than I expected including cutting a 30ft (10m) Cotoneaster down to ground level as it was looking like it was on the way out anyway. I expect it will shoot from the base but I am not bothered if it doesn’t but whether it shoots again or not I am planting some new shrubs behind, and possibly in front of it, which may be predominantly Rhododendrons but perhaps I will add a Sarcococca for early scent.
I have been getting a lot of other shrubs to mass plant a large area, I am aiming for plants of no more than 5ft (1.5m) but of no particular species, it will be just what I happen to find in nurseries for a reasonable cost. When it comes to planting it still takes a lot of thought to place each one in a position that it is most suited for. I have planted one barrow load this morning of only ten plants, some of them were quite large pots, it will take quite a while to plant all that are needed to fill the area although I did get a little sidetracked. I still have several plants ready to go in but nowhere near enough so I look forward to some trips to nurseries.
I have again been doing some voluntary planting in town but last time it was on a steep slope plant mature shrubs that have been donated, as they were bare rooted I had to get them in the ground quickly, I do hope the plants survive the move. Due to the steepness of the bank it put a lot of strain on my knees to stay upright and dig the holes, a bit too much strain as one knee was in a lot of pain afterwards. I hope it is a temporary problem as it makes my own work here much harder and with the weather being so good this week I hope to get a lot done.
The Daffodils have started flowering and the snowdrops are fab, spring flowering shrubs are starting to open and I am keen to be spending more time in the garden. It is a busy month but so too are the other eleven in the year.

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