The winter has been very cold, we've had snow and frosts here which is very rare. It seems to have gone on forever. But in February we had a good two weeks where the sun shone every day and I decided it was time to start tidying up the garden and get ready for this year.
My big clear out of the wild garlic last year was mainly successful although there were still quite a few which reappeared. They must have been so small that I missed them first time round. Without disturbing the plants we want to keep I dug over the borders again and removed a lot more although some were impossible to get to as they're growing through other plants. I also weeded as I went along and after a couple of weeks of working every afternoon the garden was tidy and free of uninvited guests!
The white camelia blooms in February so all that remains on there are a few rather rusty looking flowers, but the spring bulbs are coming through bringing colour and life to the garden once more.
The pink camelia is in full flower with plenty more buds waiting to open. It seems to have liked the clear out around it's base last year and the pruning. The primroses seem to like it there too.
The strawberries have been removed and replanted in a couple of containers to keep them off the soil, hopefully we'll get a better crop this year. The rhubarb has been dug up, split and replanted giving it a lot more room. It's looking healthy and a few stubby sticks are coming through.
The corkscrew hazel has now been planted in this border, along with a new gooseberry bush this year.
Gladioli are planted each side of the concrete urn but we'll have to wait quite a while for them to show. The hyacinths and miniature narcissi are doing well and the perfume from the hyacinths is lovely.
The cranesbill geranium is coming through and there's signs of life from the paeony and the two tall lobelia. We'll have to be careful to cut back next door's plants when they start to grow through as that's a hiding place for snails and if not kept in check they devour the lobelia. The blue pot contains bluebells which I love but don't want rampaging through the garden.
The alpine bed's looking good, the Blue Moon rose has had a good prune and there's one of the tubs ready for runner beans to be planted out a bit later on.
My lovely azaelia is in the pot at the front, behind it is the Michaelmas daisy which we're hoping will give a better show this coming autumn than last year. We've pruned and kept the fuschia to see how it goes this year.
The two grassy clumps either side of the tulip leaves are Armeria Maritimia and will have little pom pom type flowers on during spring-summer. The white camelia with it's fast fading flowers and the rest of the primroses seem to be thriving underneath.
Salvia Hot Lips is in leaf and the lobelia is poking through. The large hardy fuschia has been heavily pruned and the slate chippings have been put down around the base of the bird feeder as so many seeds were falling into the soil and germinating giving us a variety of unwanted grasses. We're getting daily visits from pigeons now who are pretty good at tidying up the dropped seeds from off the slate and the path.
The curly red's looking nice and healthy and the prairie mallow is coming on. A few of last year's primulas are in flower and the hosta in the pot has just started to show through the soil.
The big red rose has been pruned hard to try and get a better shape and I think that's another old fuschia next to it which has been pruned. The two concrete planters are ready for some summer bedding.
Miniature fuschia on the left, lots of montbretia coming through and a few tulips and daffodils dotted about.
Hopefully the arum lily is coming back to life, there are some fresh green shoots so fingers crossed the frosts didn't do any lasting damage to this lovely plant. We now know we need to mulch it in future if the winters are as cold as this one has been.
We've plenty going on in the sun room too.
Four tomato plants are potted up, about 15" high and ready to go out when the weather is good enough. There are three red pepper plants coming along nicely but I'll keep those indoors this year. There are runner beans, parsnips, sprouts and a few leek seeds planted, also some cherry tomato seeds. We have lupins, sunflowers, penstemmons, African marigolds and paeony type poppy seeds planted and the seedlings are looking healthy.
The sprouts have just sprouted! I only planted three seeds for now, we're not too keen on sprouts but this is a red variety so we're happy to give them a try. I just need to read up to find out how to grow them now!
The tubs are filled with compost and ready for the carrot seeds to be sown outside in the next couple of weeks. The strawberries are in the tall two tier containers and I'll plant some salad leaves in the little white tub.
I've put some Rooster seed potatoes out in the big tub.
Hopefully the snow that's fallen today in Scotland and Ireland wont reach us, I'd hate to lose anything now.