What a seven days it has been, starting with cold and snow and followed by improving seasonal weather and the spring equinox. It is a confusing period for the gardener, especially taking forthcoming weather forecasts into account. We have delicate decisions to make, but also we are surrounded by signs of better things to come. So without further ado, here are six pictures to showcase my last seven days in horticulture.
We bought these daffodils for only £1 from the local supermarket. When we got them they were closed and slightly sad looking, but within 24 hours of getting home (and getting a drink of water as that supermarket always leaves their plants depressingly dry) they started opening and now we have a fantastic container of daffodils giving us bright summer colour outside our back door.
My potatoes have been sat chitting for quite a while now and the time has come to get them into the ground – or into their pot in my case. However, with the really cold blast predicted for the Easter weekend I am tempted to hold off for yet another week. These potatoes are Red Duke of York, a first early, and should give me a vigorous harvest of large red-skinned potatoes. It has been a couple of years since I have grown potatoes so I am looking forward to go again this year.
A big recent change in our back yard has been the purchase and installation of a much larger greenhouse. For the last few years I have used only two small plastic greenhouses that haven’t really provided enough space. But now we have a large walk-in version – though still plastic – that provides us a lot more space for growing and storage. It takes up a large section of our yard but should give us a real chance to grow a lot more this year.
This is the dwarf Raspberry ‘Ruby Beauty’ that I purchased around this time last year. It was the only dwarf raspberry when I bought it (and I think it still might be) and was the most I’ve ever spent on a plant. It gave us a good haul of raspberries last year, and I learnt that our dog enjoyed stealing a lot of the fruits off there too. It is satisfying to see the buds forming ready to go again this year and I already look forward to my summer crop of raspberries. ‘Ruby Beauty’ only grows to just over a metre high and is multi-branching so it is a great way to grow raspberries in a container.
We went on a trip to John’s Garden at Ashwood Nurseries, three-acre private garden of the nursery owner John Massey VMH (you can read about the trip here). It featured, among a wide range of plants, some stunning Cornus that really stood out. I love the bright flame-coloured stems of dogwood and think they really offer something during the more dormant winter periods.
On the visit to John’s Garden there were also some fantastic specimens of hellebores, some of which were unique to Ashwood Nurseries. There were so many striking examples and this was probably my favourite, I am a sucker to a darker hellebore and loved the Helleborus x hybridus. What was also lovely was that the garden feature cut hellebores floating in pools of water, making a lovely and elegant feature.