I will speak quietly because I don’t want to tempt fate (this time last year we were knee-deep in snow) but I think spring may have sprung.
I found myself yesterday at 9am fully kitted out in wellies and gardening gloves, wrestling with tools in the greenhouse, ready for action!
The first full day of gardening is glorious. I didn’t know it was going to be a full day of gardening. I though I would have a little potter, to see what was doing, and before I knew it, I was edging the lawn, pulling out weeds, moving plants around…oh, it was heavenly!
This is how it started. I took a little wander along my bright border. It is looking like this:
Not very bright yet, I know, but give it time. At the moment, it is mainly primroses and pulmonaria, with the odd patch of crocuses, unfurling tulips and hyacinths, and sprigs of hemerocallis.
Here’s a primrose, Primula vulgaris:
You might just be able to spot a dark hellebore in the background. I said last week in The Inner Circle that I only had one hellebore. It turns out I don’t. I thought that this one had been swallowed by the thuggish euphorbia I had to eject from the bright border last autumn. My dark hellebore is now on the road to recovery!
I love the dark tones of this hellebore, both in its foliage and flower.
If I tip it up, you can see its inner beauty. The shadows of the squiggly anthers give me particular delight.
But I can’t stand about flower-gazing for long! There is work to be done!
Edging the lawn is not my favourite garden job. I don’t like anything that involves keeping to a straight line. I am a wobbly sort of gardener.
I could have got out some pegs and a line to keep this edge straight, but where is the fun in that?
I take off about an inch of lawn, because the grass is constantly snuggling in closer to the border and would take over, if given half a chance.
Edging the border now will make my life easier later on. Having a nice deep cliff-edge will mean that I can just skip along with the edging shears a couple of times in the summer. If you don’t have a nice deep cliff-edge, this is tedious and boring, as you’re constantly having to angle your shears, and you miss sprigs of grass.
Edging the border inevitably leads to a bit of weeding. As you lift the turf you have sliced through, you find sneaky little dandelions crouching in and amongst the tufts of grass you are removing. Edging the border also leads to picking up fallen leaves, and perhaps tidying last year’s growth from perennials.
Pulling the dead growth from hardy geraniums is one of those delicious sensory pleasures. The dead stems come away easily, with a little ‘pop pop pop’, revealing a lovely pink nest of new growth coming through.
This is death-trap corner. In June it is a wonderland of foxgloves. But now, at the end of February, it is a pit for grass, moss and nettles to infest. This is the heaviest clay in my garden. I grow foxgloves in it because they self-seed readily, and will eventually fill in the gaps so that it is more difficult for weeds to squeeze in.
You can feel the energy of plants right now. They are bursting with the desire to just grow. At the centre of this foxglove there is a powerhouse of foliage and flower buds. It can’t wait to unleash its energy.
I love weeding. It allows me to get down close to the tiny little wonders that are going on at ankle level. Like these blue hyacinths, just starting to colour up.
I get to be amongst the buzzing of bumblebees and the birdsong. Today there was the regular percussion of a woodpecker joining in. This is one of my favourite sounds in spring time.
The queen of the bright border right now is Pulmonaria.
Only a week ago, the whole clump looked like this closed bud. It looks like the outbreak of something nasty.
The buds start to open. The plant is transformed! It is prettiness itself. The individual flowers are pink at first, but lighten to violet-blue. It has gone from ‘ew’ to ‘ah’.
This is another spurge, Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘Purpurea’. In a few weeks, this will have lime-green inflorescences held above the beetroot foliage.
There are signs that this too is starting to spread: it has popped up near a few of its neighbours. I will keep a close eye.
This is another reason to get down to it now: you can see what’s coming through. What you need to keep an eye on, what is coming next. It will happen so quickly over the next month. The garden is unfurling, unleashing its incredible energy.
It was a joy to be in the garden all day. I had to keep popping indoors for refreshment, being unused to constant activity. I eat like a horse when I am gardening.
I am energised. I am alive. Spring has sprung.
‘The Mindful Gardener’ can’t wait to share the joys of spring. If you would like to receive an email notification when I publish a post, you can click on the ‘follow’ button at the bottom of this page. Your email address is stored securely and you will not receive any spam.
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