April 2011

Yep – missed the whole of March. It has passed in a flurry of daffodils and early cherry blossom this year. Today the wood anenomes are out in the garden although Robinsoniana is being edged out by self seeded stylophorum. Bracteata seems to be holding its own and Vestal comes up year after year in a hosta pot and nowhere else.

As I got out of the car this afternoon the waft on vanilla and chocolate was on the breeze, not sure if it was coming from my Azara microphylla a few gardens away or the park, maybe someone else locally has one too?

Took a risk and repotted most of the auriculas a few weeks ago just before they started really budding up, went on a weevil hunt and found a few – good to get them before they turn into the fully fledged beetling weevil. So far Snow White and Chamois are out, two bordery types. Some of my purchases from a few years ago are still with me but I have lost all the doubles.

The large elder tree, which I admit, was starting to look ratty but has supplied me with elderflower champagne for a good few years has disappeared. I looked up the other evening thinking it was somewhat lighter in the garden and I could see more sky over the wall and then it hit me – tree gone! Which will be interesting as it will give me more sunlight and air.

Seeds up include last year’s small green, but tasty, Pepper Nardello, Tomato Zapotec and Aubergine Violetta Lunga 2. One Cenolophium denudatum came up and keeled over, nothing more, nor in some of the other pots Pah!. Patience! Last year I didn’t get Argemone to germinate, this year sowed the last few seeds in an unheated propagator by a radiator and they have germinated. Along with 3/4 of the species gladioli seed. Also Scabious Chile Black which I gave seeds of to someone else and lost myself and they gave the seed back and now I have it again – good sharing!

A couple of the Buddleja look worse for wear after the winter, Empire Blue and Pixie White, the others a little less wan. And after over 20 years Agave striata purchased originally from Brian Hiley when he was still had a nursery in Surrey/Sussex has keeled over. I didn’t cover the centre this year and I have nowehere to put it under cover. To be honest it is quite a fierce plant both the edges of the ‘leaves’ are sharp and have inflicted cuts and the sharp tips have nearly had my eye out a few times.

Speaking of injuries, I got well and truly attacked by Rue (Ruta graveolens) last weekend, not thinking I went in for a weed straight into the bush, rushed in and washed my arms, but the damage was done, both forearms are a mass of itching red patches and blisters!

And another how long ago moment yesterday – went to Stone House Cottage Nurseries in Worcestershire, dug out an old catalogue, turns out it was from 1989! Time passes, I still love the idea of building a walled garden with towers as they have done. When last there I fell for Paeonia veitchii var woodwardii which has taken until last year for me to get round to growing from seed, it was also the first time I had seen Buddleja lindleyana. The shaded areas were filled with little gems in raised beds and I fell for the mature Maackia, the emerging foliage is silver and frondy. I came away with a small but precious cargo Abelia mosanenis, Maackia amurensis and Cistus x aguilari.

Also popped to Bob Brown and found Paeony Madame Gaudichau which in the display beds has the most amazing dark red young foliage, yum, yum!