Well we’ve just had a run of three dry weeks and the ground has shown signs of drying up, just enough to be able to get the tractor and trailer out and about with loads of lovely well rotted muck !! There are so many old tired borders with ancient shrubs in that can be revitalized with good old organic matter around the roots.
Today I’ve been working on the old fallen Cupressus macrocarpa tree that collapsed last July due to water logging around the roots and being top heavy. It made a real mess in our island pond presenting us with quite a challenge to remove the branches. So by some lateral thinking we are turning a “negative into an opportunity” in good old management terms. The last section of the fallen trunk actually looks very architectural in the landscape and very jungle-like, so I hope to try and grow epiphytic bromeliads and ferns in the wood by carving out recesses in the trunk for planting pockets. If it doesn’t work – well nothing lost nothing
gained and it will have to be going back to plan b, firewood!!
There is a mad rush to get the last of the Hydrangeas pruned and dead headed before the buds break. By using our small wood chipper we can mulch the branches as we go. We’ve missed our slot to prune and thin out the camellias as so many are flowering or about to open bud, I feel this spring is going to be a mass of colour all at once as the Magnolias have held back with the recent cool air that we have
experienced and the large leaved Rhododendrons are almost about to bloom. One very special winter flowering Rhododendron that has been in flower throughout January and February and now into March is Rhododendron dauricum ‘Mid-winter’. It is a medium-sized deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub with small, dark glossy green leaves and saucer-shaped, purple flowers 4cm in width in mid and late winter.
Buds are swelling and bursting, perennials and grasses are emerging with fresh new growth and there is sense of urgency to complete border renovating before we are back to the more mundane grass cutting,weeding and path raking. Now is the time to split and divide clumps of Hosta, Rodgersia, Aster or what ever herbaceous plant you need to bulk up on.
There is one more job that needs attention that appears to be a bit of a lost garden skill that nobody really likes to do – but is a necessary task in the garden. And that is Mole control !There are hundreds of them playing havoc with lawns this time of year as the new offspring search for new territory. Trapping is the only way to keep the population under control. Mole skin waistcoats were once the Head gardeners incentive, I think I’ll stick to good old M&S brushed cotton !!
Don’t forget the ‘Giant Easter Egg Hunt’ is with us early this year – from Friday 29th March through to Easter Monday 1st April. April Fools day- M’mmm I wonder what we can scheme up ?