Thursday, 20 February 2014

Enjoying early colour in February

At last after three weeks of no gardening here at home I got a day in the garden on Sunday. The weather was dry and sunny and not too cold for February here on the hill. I'm still doing the spring clean up and the plan today was to finish the kids garden borders. These are weedy this year so it was a big job but worthwhile once done. All the herbaceous plants were cut back, then I forked over the ground removing weeds and avoiding the bulbs as I went. Everything is surviving and thriving in these borders and maturing well. These are some of the oldest beds in the garden, but with some tweaks and changes over the year they also include a totem pole and potager garden for the kids veg.


The ground also gets worse as I work along from west to east. At the west end the beds are on the end of the original house tip, so lots of ash and organic matter have improved the clay soil over the years. As the beds progress the soil gets heavier. I have been adding home made compost and manure over the years and it is making a difference.

Bergenia 'Claire Maxine' keeps this leaf colour all winter

I again had my able assistant Bracken with me, although he wasn't so much a hindrance as a noisy little pest today. He has an obsession with barking at the chickens and ducks and because I was working near their enclosure he was around them all day: bark, bark, barking. I don't think Bracken will ever realise how much they enjoy winding him up!

Once I'd finished the long stretch of borders in the kids garden I started in the top corner of the fruit and vegetable garden, where there is a pond and sitting area. Lots of leaves always gather in this corner and it can be a job to lift them off the gravel paths, but it looks much better when done. I always find this such a satisfying job, tidying up the garden.

The other thing I did on Sunday was, as I always do when I can, have a walk around the garden, with camera in hand. February can be a cold, dark month, but there is always colour if you look closely.

Cyclamen hederifolium great foliage befor ethe flowers appear

Hepatica noblis, one of the first alpine type plants to flower

Polypodium x mantoniae 'Cornubiense', a lovely evergreen fern thats grows well in shade

Tellima grandiflora 'Rubra' has these burnished red leaves all winter. New leaves are greener through summer

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