End of Month – March 2014

Who stole March? It’s hard to believe it’s almost April, although given the recent weather I’m surprised it isn’t May!

Btw, you’ll have to excuse some of the images. I’ve just upgraded to CS6 and they seem to have changed the cropping tool preferences so when you crop it also sharpens the image! So a lot of the early ones I cropped are horribly sharpened. I was beginning to wonder if it’s just my eyes or I’m going a little crazy but a quick search on the net proved it’s not just me. So, preferences are sorted and no more overly sharpened photos. Also, they’ve changed the crop tool so it does this crazy moving thing when you crop – it’s hard to describe unless you try it! So I’ve changed it back to the classic way. I’m not keen on the dark grey background either – it’s very hard on the eyes and looks reminiscent of every single sci-fi website out there with black background and neon green type. That’s next on my list to change (if I can). I was always taught at Uni the first rule of design is not to use such hard combinations as a lot of people struggle to read such high contrast (me being one of them). But what do I know, eh?
Rant over, on with having a look at the plants.

The garden is doing well, the main task I want to complete is mowing the grass, but with rain showers and recent hail I think I’ll have to wait for a few dry/warm days. The grass is awfully clumpy and in dire need of raking as moss has had a winter party during the two months of perpetual rain in January and February. I like moss, especially in winter when it produces its tiny little blooms, and it looks gorgeous on rocks/wood. Just it’s getting too much in the lawn now – a little bit is fine.

I’ve managed to floor the Buddlejas in the front and back garden now, so that massive job is out of the way and all I need to do now is a little weeding, cutting the edge of the borders and removing/dividing plants (will be an on-going task for a while yet). I’m trying to decide whether to take my lovely Pennisetum macrourum to my parents’… I want it here, so I can admire it, but they’re still in their pots so I’m loathed to plant them just to remove them later.

At this time of year the right border is always the most interesting, with a nice variety of spring bulbs it often has the most colour and of course is easy to see from the house. Over the past 6 years the Alliums are slowly but, very surely increasing in number. It often looks like I have grass in the lower half of the border, but it is in fact Allium seedlings that will eventually disappear and leave the area very empty of any interest later in the year.

My small patch of Fritillaries on the left are also slowly increasing, although I suspect they will soon be strangled by the Campanula which has suddenly grown rampant. I moved it a few years ago (as seen in one of the photos below on the upper tier with dead Aster stems behind) and there was only a small portion left that I missed. Now, it’s almost half way along the wall. I have another small patch of Fritiallria further to the right, which doesn’t seem to be naturalising as well.

Hellebores are still blooming nicely (waiting for them to finish) before I move them, their removal may leave harsh gaps in the cherry border but I have plans to replace them with other good ground cover, plus the Geraniums around them will quickly cover any gaps (Herb Robert will!).

As with all the other borders, some tidying is needed and of course I need to mow the grass, but otherwise the front garden is looking quite… cute. It must be the large, cheerful Daffodils. I’m trying to decide whether to chop the Stipa again this year or leave it to bulk up a bit more.

I’ve managed to get a few jobs done this week – Monday turned out rather nice considering the forecast was for rain all day. I had the day off to take my car in to get fixed (managed to bump the back a little, whoopsie!). In all I managed some weeding, cutting back and clearing of chopped Willow I cut back a month or so ago.
Next up is spreading the last of the mulch, then I want to buy some more bark chippings and spread them on the tiers.

Copyright 2014 Liz.
All rights reserved. Content created by Liz for Gwirrel’s Garden

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10 thoughts on “End of Month – March 2014

  1. You garden is looking super Liz. Getting to grips with updated software can be a right pain in the you know what!
    I managed to mow the front lawn last week but if this rain continues it will be knee high before I know it.
    I would bite the bullet and take those plants to your mums. It would be a real shame if they just got settled then had to be lifted. I like the Frits growing through the Campanula. I once saw it planted under some Sanguisorba and it looked great too.
    I hope you get on top of the moss issue.
    Have a good week 🙂

    • Hi Angie,

      My grass is already almost knee-high! It looks terrible and although I’m not someone who obsesses over the grass I do hate to see it all tufty and clumpy when it’s too long. I just need a good few days, and preferably a day when I’m not busy doing other things to get it cut!

      Yes, I’m beginning to err on the side of taking the grasses to mum and dad’s… I’m worried dad will kill or ‘weed’ the grass though. But I have warned him not to weed ‘my’ border under pain of death. Not that he’ll listen to me. (and it’s perhaps a little drastic, but with dad I have to be!)

  2. You have so many lovely flowers, spring has certainly arrived in your garden, once it starts, it builds up to a crescendo, with flowers and foliage growing each day. I feel like telling it all to stop so that I can appreciate everything! Lovely to see your fritillaries, nice white ones!

    • Hi Pauline,

      As lovely as it is to have so much happening, I am concerned that I’ll have nothing left by May! Either that or there will be a big lull later in the year.
      I need to work on adding more Fritillaries, but that’s something for another time. I thought I’d lost one clump, but I think I actually moved them when I removed the Campanula; there are some growing in the middle of the clump I moved. So at least they will hopefully naturalise in two spots in the garden now and not just the one border. I usually end up with Lilly beetle on them, so have to go out early morning and evening to hunt them.

  3. I agree with you about the suspected theft of March!! And I noticed you sneaked your favourite in too….. Your borders are really filling out now and it must be a hard decision knowing what to move and when – have you got the house on the market yet? If people aren’t interested in gardens all they will want to see is something quite tidy I suppose, but if they like plants it would be an advantage for them to see the potential. Isn’t it lovely when fritillaries start to naturalise? I definitely have more white ones this year too.

    • Hi Cathy,

      I don’t think the garden would put people off; there’s enough grass left for kids to play around on so I don’t think it would be a major issue. But of course I’m never quite sure if I ought to remove one and lay grass back. I’m assuming it will appeal to someone who does enjoy gardening. After all, this house really is more for first time buyers or perhaps retired people as it’s only 2 bedrooms so it’s not like a family is likely to buy – unless it’s a young family and they want somewhere before moving onto something larger.
      I found a house with a gorgeous garden and it sold very quickly – had I been in a position to put offers on, I probably would’ve! It was a lovely, winding, secret type garden that I know I would’ve easily got lost in my own world.

  4. I’d like to echo Cathy’s comments; for a house to sell the garden needs to LOOK very easy to maintain; that’s what almost everyone wants especially first time buyers who are often afraid of gardening; either because of lack of knowledge ot because they just don’t want to spend the time. Everything is looking very spring like now; I didn’t know lily beetles attacked frittilaries

  5. If in doubt, dig it out and take it to your parents! Take it from somebody who left quite a few favourites because mil and fil were buying the house from us and I thought I would have plenty of opportunities to get them to divide and give me splits. It isn’t working out that way – nobody’s fault – and I am missing my favourites greatly. I love your fritilliaries. And sadly both Cathy and Christina are right, people want a garden that looks easy to take care of, and don’t understand that really that means one without grass, as plants are much easier to look after!! Good luck with it all, and do enjoy what you have, so many pretty combinations.

    • Hi Janet,

      I’m not going to remove everything yet – otherwise I’ll end up with an empty garden and be thoroughly depressed for the next x amount of months until I move. But I do plan on taking anything I can’t be without or are too expensive to replace. I expect people will want purely lawn gardens, and I can easily remove the ‘aster’ border as that’s the only one I’ve added. The rest were already here and if I’m honest, anyone looking at this house/garden will probably be people who do appreciate landscaping, after all it is tiered so it’s not like there can be lawn up on them and I’ve largely left the grass alone and there’s space for swing/slide on it… Anyway, we shall see.
      I might end up just removing a lot of plants and adding in cheap/small/easy shrubs – small conifers – so people think they’re ‘low maintenance’. I just know I’ll die a little inside if I have to spend the next year or however long to sell looking at conifers and laurels (which I hate).

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