Sunday, February 07, 2010

Catching up

What, with one thing and another, I've been neglecting the garden quite a lot this past few months and all the maintenance work which I know needs doing has been left undone. An unscheduled couple of dry and sunny days has given me a chance to show willing, if not actually be very effective.


Cutting back the Olearia which had succumbed to the wet summer I was surprised to find one branch still alive. I've pruned back all the dead stuff and I'm hoping for the best. A broom and the witch-hazel, both sadly deceased, have been grubbed up. Have, indeed, been a load of bramble seedlings and self-sown hazels. (I love hazel bushes but not everywhere in the garden; and certainly not in plant pots full of deawrf narcissi.) A bed has been dug over, a self-sown holly moved to the back to provide a bit of winter cover and one of the blackcurrant bushes moved over here so that I can reach it without having use the cherry tree to swing over a bunch of hebes. The plan is to fill in the rest of the bed with oriental poppies, heleniums and -- yes by jiminy! -- fennel. Like as not, what I'll probably actually get is a thicket of willow herbs, brambles and valerians but you live in hope. Still, I've had a bit of exercise and the robins and dunnocks have enjoyed the new playground already. And it's nice to be able to work in the garden and have seven species of birds bouncing round doing their thing within six feet of me.

The bad weather's hit the tree heather pretty hard. Once I'm sure the worst is over I'll have to give it a trim. Ironically, it'll look a lot better as a result as the dead branches are those I've not had the heart or wit to prune back hard.

This still leaves quite a bit of arboriculture to get to grips with, particularly the syacamores on the railway embankment. I don't understand what's not happening to them: elsewhere on the local rail network any tree on Network Rail land within half a mile of a line is chopped down to its root. Along our stretch there are sycamores lurching precariously on a tiny embankment and they're being allowed to run rampant. I've been able to reach over the back fence to ring bark a couple of them to try and slow them down a bit but they're determined to be forest trees. All I can do in my own garden is chop off the projecting limbs and grub up their progeny.

The good news is that all of a sudden the garden is full of snowdrops, the hellebores are in bud and you can't move for the shoots of crocus and narcissi. And I'm still harvesting black mint from the pots on the patio. So not too bad, then.

14 comments:

Scarlett Parrish said...

I have black fingers, which contributes nothing to the conversation, but plants and me aren't friends, it would appear.

I still haven't recovered from the geranium incident of 2005.

syncopated eyeball said...

Oh! Sycamore Trees! Little helicopters! We used to paint them with watercolours and call them fairies. A flashback to my English childhood!

Gadjo Dilo said...

I envy you, I can't do anything out in our garden yet as it's still under inches of snow, though I have seen irises poking up through it. The jury's still on whether the brocolli has survived our -19 temperatures or if it's still standing up simply because it's frozen in that position.

worm said...

Im actually going against the grain and hoping for another cold snap, as I would like all the daffodils in cornwall to be on perfect photogenic form for my wedding in 4 weeks!

Lulu LaBonne said...

I've been out looking at the results of all the January cold it's great to see life poking up again.

Too towny and neighbours too catty for many birds though

Pat said...

As you know you are my gardening expert. My garden is a haven for wild things which flourish. Lovely when it's primroses and bluebells but not grape hyacinths and wild strawberries. I always have trouble with snow drops and this year am blessed with four flowers - better than last year.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Ms Scarlett: what was all that guff about putting the past behind you? (-: What you need is a nice spider plant.

eyeball: I can let you have a few thousand next autumn!

Gadjo: we're being offered more snow to come this week. At least you don't have to freeze your brocolli.

worm: is it only four weeks? Good luck with it!

Lulu: it's the cats as does it, isn't it? Ah well...

Pat: it took me a few goes to find the places where snowdrops might flourish in my place. Wild strawberries would be lovely...

Elizabeth said...

It just sounds so... lovely, Kevin.

I don't know about Ms Scarlett, but for some of us (myself included) even spider plants are not tough enough.

We are known as unwitting plant assassins, I'm afraid.

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

I do not set foot in my bijou urban courtyard garden from October to March. I see my potted fuchsia appears to have died - should I cut it back? Will it grow back again? This is just like gardener's question time innit.

ChickPea said...

What an inspirational post Kevin ! Where do you find the energy and motivation to get out there and boogy with Nature so effectively ? And then call by other blogs to sprinkle your gems around.
Thank you so much for calling by, Kevin, luring me over here, and maybe - just maybe - inspiring me to don my wellies this next weekend and go hassle the hedge into some semblemce of tidiness......... x

Kevin Musgrove said...

Elizabeth: ta. I'm not convinced about plant assassins. Mind you, I've never been able to keep an aspidistra going.

Daphers: put it somewhere safe and hope for the best.

And the fuchsia.

ChickPea: don't be fooled: I don't actually do anything, I just witter on about it.

inkspot said...

"... swing over a bunch of hebes..." OK I give up, what ARE you talking about?

Kevin Musgrove said...

where the hell did my typing finger get "deawf" ???

Kevin Musgrove said...

Inky: sorry, missed you; I'd made the mistake of planting a blackcurrant bush in the middle of a border near a couple of Hebe bushes which last year decided to have territorial claims over Western Europe. I had to do a Tarzan to do the fruit-picking.