End of Month View – February 2011

I have always told myself that I should have a Gardener’s Diary.   I could make copious notes of  plantings, mistakes and successes.  I could fill it with reminders of plants to be moved, and various jottings of ideas and plans.  I never did get around to keeping  a diary, but now I have my Blog, so I have no excuse plus the added bonus of photographs – hey, how organised is that?   Thank you to Helen Patient Gardener  who introduced me to the End of Month View … EMOV.  A great way of reflection, seeing my way forward and a reminding myself of what I have achieved in the past month.

I love these little snowdrops. You don't have to look far to find an abundance of photos in February of carpets of snowdrops. These are my little snowdrops and there are more this year than 2010 so they are spreading and I will have my own carpet before long.

EMOV is going to be invaluable.    The February weather in Sussex, as well as the rest of the country, has been less than great.  We have had some lovely sunny days, usually during the working week when I have been stuck in an office.  Why does it do that?  It always seems to rain at the weekend!   A month of wet weekends has meant that I have not managed to do as much as I would have liked.   However,  Spring is certainly beginning to break through, the daffodils, snowdrops and crocuses are in bloom and the buds are beginning to burst through on the shrubs and trees.

These little daffodils were the first ones to appear in my garden mid-February. If I remember correctly they are called Tete-a-tete and they do look as though, when their little heads bob in the wind, they are having a little chat with each other.

I started my new veg plot at the beginning of February and it is still a mud patch.  Because of the quality of the soil and it’s solid about a foot deep, I should be double digging, but its clay and when wet is practically unworkable.  My raspberries are still in their temporary home and the garden looks a mess.  I have decided to go for the raised bed solution.  I know it will need more watering, but my vegetables have been in pots in past years and I am used to regular watering.

A reminder of what I have not finished this month, roll on the raised beds!

So, what have I done in February?   My sweetpeas are growing…

… and my potatoes are chitting nicely. 

March will be busy.    Meanwhile pay a visit to all the other garden blogs and see how they are coming along.

A Sunday Seven: signs of Spring

I love this Spiraea. It’s like a back to front shrub throwing out a lovely burnished autumnal coloured flower in the Spring, turning green in the Summer

 It is the last Sunday of February and, well, its raining again!   I shouldn’t complain though, I had a lovely morning outside, when it was dry, and the sun was shining.  It’s incredible how energy is boundless when working outside in the sun.  I pruned the roses, trimmed the Spireas and lopped  feet off my Elder Sambucus Nigra  which, incidentally, I bought about 5 years ago in a small pot for £6.50 from B&Q.  It has grown into a tree about 8 ft high, (well, it was until this morning) and it drips with elderberries in the Summer.  I just love the purple almost black leaves, especially against the pink flower heads.  

I also gave my Hibiscus a haircut.  Most of us have a reminder in the garden that has a story.    Nine years ago, as a leaving present, I was bought a hardy Hibiscus plant for the garden (not the tropical large dark green variety).  Why a Hibiscus? Sometimes, we went with Barristers to visit women in Holloway Prison, who had been arrested  on entry to the UK.  It is a tenuous link, but, Hibiscus is the voluntary organisation, based in Holloway HMP,  working with foreign women.  It was a memento of my time working at that office.  My Hibiscus  has grown and flowers beautifully every year and I think about those days often.   I don’t know what variety it is, there was no name on the label but it has a lovely pale pink flower. It is now about 5ft high with a spread of roughly 3ft to 4ft, so a good sized shrub.

My first sighting of a ladybird this year

I achieved 101 gardening jobs, trimming, nipping, tidying, loosening soil around plants, weeding,  hoeing and whilst packing up in the rain, I stood and viewed my work  with a sense of satisfaction.  

So, to bring February to an end, I thought rather than write any more I would show you some photos I took this morning, because they speak louder than words when it comes to prove that Spring really is just about here.

Agapanthus peeping through


Bergamot making its way through to the daylight - I love this herb, it smells so wonderful and makes a great tea infusion


Sedum appearing again


Ribes - flowering currant. Not sure if I like its 'perfume' though, smells a bit like cat to me!


Fennel on its way - it smells so strong even when its new. It all adds to the aroma of my garden - every plant has its own perfume.

Finally a photo to remind me of my next job.  My fight against the ivy is ongoing.  I gave up trying to eradicate it completely.  It does make a good backdrop and the birds love the berries, but it is unruly and it needs to be brought into line and reminded whose boss.  I only have to leave it a few months for it to run rampant, setting out across the flower beds as well as over the walls.

My 10 year war with the ivy. Even the compost bin is being held hostage. Let battle begin!