End of Month Review - March 2013

Crikey March has been cold, very cold.  There has been snow, some sun and cold and snow.  Apparently it is the coldest March since 1962, this is a much quoted fact now.  I can certainly say it has been and remains cold.

This time last year the garden was full of colour.  This year is rather different.  Looking back to February the garden seems to have hardly moved on.  The year feels on hold, just waiting.
As I write this the snow has almost gone, it snowed last weekend but it has been so cold it has taken it over a week to thaw.
The snow lurks in the shady margins, even on a sunny day it is not really moving.
Last year the magnolia was in flower at this time, but then last year it did get frost damaged so I wonder if by flowering later it will not have that fate.
In the front hedge the forsythia is starting to flower, also later than last year.  I know some people can be a bit sniffy about forsythias, they are ubiquitous and therefore can be considered common.  Well I like them, maybe because they are common I feel a garden lacks a little yellow without one.
The front garden is looking ok, there are some bulbs starting to come up through the gravel and I am hoping it will look ok when they flower.  I did not remove the bulbs when I redid the garden last year, so I might have to think about how they look and whether they should still stay.
Moving to the back garden it still looks rather sparse, but the signs of Spring are emerging.
The red of the peony shoots against the cardoon leaves I think looks rather fine.  Of course this is totally planned (well, maybe not), but anyway, it is a great colour combination this time of year.
The red of the Rheum palmatum, (red rheum, red rheum), is also a welcome sight.  I planted several of these when I first moved in and I have slowly removed them as there were too many, they are rather large after all; but about three remain and I love the size and architectural nature of them.
In the Pond Border the tulips and day lilies are showing, giving promise of glory to come.
The Spring Border is getting increasingly Springy
The daffodils are finally starting to flower and the pulmonaria.
I am expecting a good show from the camellia this year, it has enjoyed having sufficient water last year, in previous years drought has led to bud-drop.  (I might glue them on just in case...).
Looking across the Prairie Borders the grasses are still looking good, they need cutting back really but I have been waiting for the cold to go.  Who knows when that will be?
The amalanchier is getting ready to flower.
We are also now on 'Quince-watch', I am almost holding my breath to see if I will get blossom this year.
The wild garden has had some planting this Spring.  A Prunus incisa 'Kojo-no-mai' in the background and a Griselinia littoralis in the fore-ground.  The Griselinia can look a bit like a bit of dull-ish hedge, but in my mind it is has the potential to be like the 'Dancing Tree' in the Gwyllt at Portmeirion, it is a magnificant specimen and who knows, one day my twig might reach that greatness.
The snowdrops are still in flower, they seem have to lasted weeks this year, the cold is not necessarily a completely bad thing after all.
I am hoping for great things from the beech pillars this year.  Can't you see them?  They are the twigs, but one day and in my head they are pillars.
The Woodland Border is still looking sparse,
but the snakeshead fritilleria are starting to get ready to flower.
The teasel patch is still looking wonderful, but I will probably cut it back fairly soon to let the new crop grow.
Another new patch of planting is the Four Sisters.  One sister has been there a while, the Carol Klein acer, now it is joined by an Edgeworthia, a Philidelphus Belle Etoile and a Clethra.  I hope they are all happy together.
I look along the Long Shoot and think that the grass will need cutting soon.
The veg beds look sparse.  The potatoes are chitting in the conservatory, I should get them out side really but the ground being frozen solid is not a good thing.
The greenhouse is filling up a bit, some plants just keeping warm for a little longer before I can put them outside.
I rarely if ever show this border, its the unnamed unloved border.  It is a small island in the funky retro crazy paving.  It contains a scrubby bamboo, my beautiful Cistus that moved with me from my last house and flowers for about 10 months of the year, a nice hellebore, a clematis the previous occupant plonked there for no good reason, a Manx fuschia, a failing hamemelis and a lot of nettles usually too.  Oh and a rose that was meant to be Gertrude Jekyll but really isn't.  Every now and again I think I will dig it all out and start again as it is actually the border I can see from the kitchen window.  Maybe this year it will get some attention, maybe.....
I end as usual on the pond, currently with a light sheet of ice covering most of it.  I worry about the frogspawn, will it survive being frozen?

Thanks as ever to Helen for hosting this meme.  Let's hope for a nice warm Spring in April!


  1. Wow! A greenhouse and a pond! Two things I would dearly love to have! I know some people don't like Forsythia, but I do - it gives color to the garden when everything else is grey or brown. I see you have lots of buds and sprouts coming along well. Lots more color soon!
    Happy Easter!
    Lea's Menagerie
    Mississippi, USA

  2. You are so right - this year spring is "on hold". It's hard to see the same things out in the garden day after day, when usually at this time of year things are changing almost hourly! Your front garden is gorgeous. I love the red Rheum, and your hellebores. Good luck, too, with the camellias. I hope they give you a grand show!

  3. The pond as ever looks great as do your grasses. At the my garden club they were talking about how good peony shoots looked against emerging day lily foliage

    Hopefully next month we will all be a little more positive

  4. It is going to be a slow journey to spring this year, with winter still has its grip on us all here. But so many signs of new growth already in your garden. Your rheum is ahead of ours with the new growth. Happy Easter!

  5. The weather at the moment is very off putting. I have done virtually nothing in the garden up to now. I hope the weather warms up soon. Luckily our plants seem happy to do their own thing without our input.

  6. Nice to see your garden beginning to sprout again! :) Yesterday I went for a short stroll around our back garden before we had our roast crown of duck (courtesy Aldi!) but stupidly didn't take the camera with me. First day all the snow had melted. Garlic is sprouting, and the elephant garlic that we neglected to harvest last year (we've got some of that in the front too!). The alkanet has strong healthy looking leaves, so I'm looking forward to its flowers, which the insects seem to love. Keeping a close eye on it, as it became a pest in DD1's London garden in her old home. So far, touch wood, it hasn't spread too much! But we need to get on top of the brambles and pull up all of the dead stuff that we've left all winter. Gosh, this is a long comment, might have to copy and paste onto my very neglected blog!

    1. I have garlic coming up that I didn't harvest last year, it seems to be doing quite well. I have a constant battle with brambles, I've been fighting with them today so I'm quite scratched!

  7. I will also be pleased to see the end of this cold spell, looking out the snow has gone and the sun is shining giving the false impression that Spring has arrived. I also like the Forsythia however for some reason it has as yet not found a place in our garden. I like teasel but have never seen it growing in the area which makes me think our Summer is too cool for it to flourish.

  8. I can really picture those beech pillars.Will make a lovely feature. I never have any success with fritilleria. And my poor rheum has died. I love the sound of that cistus, flowering for 10 months. I have a gap under my office window for one of those! Happy Easter, Alison x.

  9. All looks very well in your garden, especially given the weather. I have real 'beech pillars', but of course they were planted in the wrong place and now they're a bit of a pain!

  10. I envy real beech pillars, I reckon 10 more years maybe before I have them :) maybe then I'll decide mine are in the wrong place too!

  11. Spring looks like it might finally be arriving, and there seems to be lots happening in your lovely garden. I hope your camellia survives the cold spell and you don't need that glue pot, lol.

  12. It has all been so cold and slow to start, hasn't it, but so heartening to see signs of Spring. I think we will be amazed at the sudden rush of growth as everything seeks to catch up. Your front garden looks wonderful, it will be interesting to see if the bulbs coming up through the gravel offer a good contrast to the formality of the parterre or just jar. I had to smile at your beach column comments and similar, we gardeners are such dreamers, I laugh at myself all the time as I gaze out over a largely empty border and see, not a few twigs, but a rich tapestry of growth. I am a big fan of Griselinia littoralis having inherited two large specimens, the crinkly leaves and pale colour save it from dullness, to me at least.


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