I have made good progress in weeding the long bank in the last couple of weeks. I was hoping to finish it this afternoon, but have been driven back inside as the wind is too strong. Also, in cutting back a large clump of geraniums I also took a large slice out of my left little finger which bled profusely. I finished the task before I decided to come in, clean it up and get Paul to apply a plaster. I have tidied up the last of the hostas, removing last year's dried out leaves and flower stalks. Healthy new buds are already coming through.
Yesterday I decided the time had come to remove the aucuba (?) from the bank. It really was out of place - far too big and not in keeping with the rest of that area. Loppers did most of the work and then garden saw to cut the stumps right down. I got Paul to do the main trunk after I was getting nowhere with it. I am very pleased with the end result - the bank looks right now despite there being a big empty space. I will need to dig some compost around the stump, which is too solid to easily remove, before attempting to plant around it - the soil looks very poor there.
The snowdrops are finally calling it a day now and setting seed, and the daffodils are taking over. The three clumps that have come up in the grass are now flowering. There is no sign of the other two clumps I planted, but on checking they are a late flowering variety - May - so maybe they shouldn't be visible yet.
The tete-a-tete and Jetfire varieties in the long bank, the dwarf ones in the tubs, and a few of the larger ones that I inherited in the high bank are now also in flower. The other side of the river is ablaze with them...
I have had a rhododendron (praecox according to the label) in flower at the top left of the high bank now for a couple of weeks. I risked life and limb climbing up with my camera. You get a better idea of how high up I am from this shot...
I also have a small pale pink one (unlabelled) starting to flower now in the long bank.
The aubretias are now beginning to flower in earnest. I have pink, mauve, purple, cerise and many colours in between. Ann from the lodge on the other side of the bridge says she has tried to grow it with no success. It self seeds all over my garden, so I will pot some up for her at some point. I was surprised to find out that her garden is alkaline soil and she was equally surprised to find out mine is acid...
The flowering currant is now doing what its name implies. These have never been amongst my favourites. I inherited a couple in my previous small garden, and I gave one of them the chop. However, it looks more at home here and I think it will stay, although it will probably be reduced in size later in the year...
The scillas and puschkinia have started to flower and the grape hyacynths do not look far behind. The dwarf irises and crocuses are continuing to flower. Many of the later bulbs are now also pushing through, and in the case of some of the larger alliums and tulips there is a large amount of leaf already.
Fresh growth is also visible on many of the perennials and I can almost see the leaves growing on some of the shrubs.
The farmers around us seem to have decided it is spring. On Tuesday we noticed the first field being ploughed on the other side of the river, and Ian (Margaret's cousin) was muck-spreading the rabbit field. Then the one down the track before the bridge was ploughed. Then the one down the track opposite Margaret's. And yesterday the stubble field. We saw our first lambs of the year yesterday at Edrom. Today the field up to Ray and Janet's, that had been empty, is now populated with sheep and their lambs...
The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...
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