Category Archives: spring flowers

3 days in the life of 2 gardeners in a pandemic

DAY 1

Weirdly, the day was much the same as any other Spring gardening day from previous years except that now I am working with my stylist/hairdresser… (more about that remarkable story another time).

We no longer have our breaks together and tend to work a good few metres away from each other, but the pattern of the day is much the same. There are certainly discussions about what we will and will not listen to on the radio and the topics of our conversation often relate back to coping strategies of our own, our friends and families. On the whole the tone ranges from up beat, funny to considerate and caring.

In a time of frenetic growth and change in the garden, we are just about keeping up with jobs to be done along with taking enough time to get involved with the task in hand and finding peace in the meditative nature of the work.

We began the day in the woods, collecting hazel sticks.

N began making support structures for Dahlias, Achillea, Peonies and Sanguisorba, all of which would end up falling over in a strong wind or heavy rain storm, never to look as good again for the rest of the year, unless they had supports. We need to make the supports now as it involves pushing the sticks into the damp earth. If we wait until they are actually needed, the ground is too hard to push them in the ground.

I took on the watering (see previous post). On my journey around the garden I checked on the ducks nesting in the courtyard. One in a corner behind the box ball, another beneath the rosemary shrub.

So difficult to see in the photos but the mother ducks have preened out their soft downy feathers to line the nest. If I was going to be hatched anywhere, I would certainly choose one of those places.

After watering the courtyard pots and all the many previously named watering hotspots in the garden, I return to find N cracking on with the plant supports.. N is an artist along with his many skills, so it didn’t surprise me to find there was a sculptural element to his structures

If it doesn’t make sense in this view it is because these are dahlias still covered with a leaf mulch to protect them from winter frosts. As soon as May comes we can whip away the mulch and keep their supports

Meanwhile, I am weeding and edging. and N turns to separating, dividing and delineating the perennials.

DAY 2, Same gardeners, different garden

Different garden and on with the masks and gloves…. It’s safer.

N had a day of serious digging. Initially our remit was to grow a greater variety of flowers but now we have decided to grow as much food as possible. Clear the beds! I escaped the digging for a while to prick out the tomato seedlings that were climbing out of the tray

We can’t help but enjoy our surroundings whilst catching up with the watering

DAY 3 Different garden, different gardeners

The summer wedding here has sadly been postponed so we are putting this year down to a trial run. Nevertheless the spring borders are looking fabulous and are a treat for the increased number of family members now holed up in this quiet country location.

Today the last of the roses were pruned, more seeds were sown in the greenhouse and much of the day was spent weeding and watering of course.

So, many similar tasks in all the gardens but the variety of aims for each garden, the style and scale, the changing work colleagues and the assortment of clients all make this job one of the best I have ever had. I feel very lucky that in spite of this terrible pandemic, we are still able to work and put it to the back of our minds, for a moment at least.

Back in the driving seat

Zantedeshia
Zantedeshia

A year ago I put in an offer on a new place to live. I won the bid and bought myself a wreck of a home that has taken this long to make  habitable.  It has taken a whole year out of my gardening life and blog to move and put down roots in a new home..Finally I feel like I have arrived.

I have continued to garden during the year but my heart has been elsewhere. Naturally, I have focused on interiors rather than exteriors. When you don’t have a bathroom or kitchen your priorities change..    Gardening,  however, has kept me grounded during this transient period of my life, such a therapeutic profession.

My heart lies with both Architecture and Horticulture and  marrying of the two. The first most often inspired by the second.  I have moved into a Georgian property where the proportions and details within are so carefully considered they can only have been inspired by the Golden Ratio (The golden ratio appears in some patterns in nature, including the spiral arrangement of leaves and other plant parts.)

So I return at the best time of year for any British Gardener – Spring! Heralded by the flowering of my favourite Lily.. Zantedeshia

They grow well in damp conditions.  In fact they can grow in shallow water as a marginal plant..

So, hello again to all my fellow gardeners.. here’s to another fabulous year in the garden 🙂

Another piece of heaven…

I wish I could share my senses with you this week. The scent as I walk from one area to another is just bucolic. The vistas and the detail are both charming and delightful and the new foliage, fresh and soft to the touch.

The plants contributing to that fresh odorous air are:

Choisya

Hawthorn (Cretagus)

Wisteria

In one garden there are 3 different Wisterias, each with their own charms…

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This one on the pergola is so gorgeous to walk through.  Long ghostly racemes of white, highly perfumed flowers. Perhaps my favourite?

Then there is this lilac -coloured one,  with the same delicate but slightly shorter racemes,  against the front wall of the house:

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And then there is the bruiser with its much larger flowers and blousie appearance where the leaves just won’t let the flowers steal the show

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but it makes a fabulous hedge.

Here is the Hawthorn, hiding in another hedge

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and the other- out and proud (and pruned this year so looks even better)

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both also contributing to the perfumed air.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to work – just waft around instead….

Are your Bluebells delicate English or Spanish thugs?

 

 

The Spanish bluebells are often found growing in our gardens and the English  variety, the native bluebell, on common land, verges and mainly in

English bluebells
English bluebells

woodland.

There are very noticeable differences.

1. The colour and size of the bells. The English flowers are generally a darker hue, smaller and more refined, with curlier tips.

2. The stems of the English bluebell are thinner allowing the top few bells to gently arch over.

3. The strap like leaves are much narrower and less numerous on the  English variety.

4. The white fleshy bulbs of the Spanish bluebells can be perfect balls the size of a large pickled onion or oddly shaped like a spring onion or a mini  butternut squash. The Enlish bluebell bulbs are more the size of silverskin onions.

5. Finally the beautiful and distinctive scent of the English bluebell.

The Spanish ones don’t smell.

(You may well come across hybrids that are just there to confuse you!)

Of course we all know which one we like best!
Of course we all know which one we like best!