GARDEN UPDATE. SPRING 2014
The slats in our garden bench have been sandpapered to a lovely yellow ochre colour (when dry) – set off by arms and legs oiled to a deep mahogany hue.
The positions of potted winter plants of mahonia and camellia have been usurped by pots of burgeoning lilies.
Sweet peas, grown from seed, have taken the place of tomatoes, which are trouble to grow outside and not much better than those in season bought in the market.
Of our trees, the damson that took the place of a silver leaf fungussed morello cherry, flourishes. But will I be able to espallier it?
Pears may be few, like apples. But our planted mistletoe thrives on the potted apple tree. Somehow this parasite has become the rare star of our garden. Everyone is interested in it.
Daffodils and narcissus lasted well, are dead-headed, and over. But our tulips, that look more like peonies, have lasted well, and light up the garden. We didn’t think we would enjoy tulips so much.
We have planted the kind of busy lizzie that has survived the disease that killed off most varieties.
Over-wintered rocket went to seed quickly and has been replanted with sown seed saved from last year. It sprouts almost instantly.
Agapanthus and flox have risen from their outside winter hibernation, as has the Bolivian begonia that over-wintered on our kitchen windowsill.
Two spears of asparagus appeared in our large asparagus pot and were eaten raw. But as the crop has declined in vigour over the years, five new plants were grown from seed and been planted as replacements. On their seed packet it declares that a crop of spears may be obtained from their first year’s growth. But I am sure that such salesmanship is vastly over optimistic.
Our only vegetable this year is runner beans. They climb a bamboo frame and give a constant crop of beans – to be eaten at about 4” long. Some pods are left to grow to a foot long or more in length. These are for next year’s seed and wonderful hors d’oeuvres when boiled and served with garlic, salt, and olive oil.
The grapevine, in its now reduced span, is coming into leaf – a bit late. Last year’s small vintage lies on its lees and will be bottled soon.
Our much admired and quite wonderful Typhoon rose flourished as usual. A friend found it to be unobtainable. Just why one of the best roses ever produced should be thus, I have no idea. I will take cuttings of it later in the year.
The peerless pieris continues to astound us with its changing coloured leaves, flowers and berries. What a wonderful small garden plant (shrub?) it is.
A carrion crow has just eaten all the young blackbirds from our resident couple’s first brood. They will start again for sure, as they usually have several families each summer.