At last!

Yesterday I actually managed to get out into the garden! Preceded by a trip to the garden centre, of course. We spent about three hours in the afternoon moving plants around, tidying up and generally making the place look a bit more presentable. The nice thing is that having done a lot of  “big” stuff last year, this year we can just tweak here and there, swap around anything that isn’t working, fill in the odd gap. I still have a Plan for the back garden which involves a tree of some sort (possibly a small flowering cherry) but that might have to wait.

Our aims at the garden centre were fairly small. Some compost, maybe some tomato plants, maybe some reduced winter bedding to fill in a few bare spots for the next month until the summer bedding is ready. We found some big trays of half-price winter pansies which came in very useful, and also a tray of dianthus (I do like a dianthus and we never seem to have enough). Huge trays of geraniums were on offer, not ready to go outside just yet but will be in the next couple of weeks. And the tomato plants were on offer too – five for £6, several varieties to choose from, so I went for Moneymaker, Alicante, Shirley, Ailsa Craig and Sungold. The plants are still fairly small but I’ll be thinking about getting them into big pots next weekend. I also bought a tray of lollo rosso as those did so well last year.

So once out in the garden, J mowed the lawn and did lots of tidying stuff. We moved the hardy wallflower that’s been by the greenhouse – it’s lovely and has hardly stopped flowering but had flopped all over the path so needed to be somewhere a bit less obstructive. It’s gone to the back of the same bed and should be fine there. I moved a lot of lychnis around – we have lychnis everywhere as all the seeds I sowed last year germinated. None flowered last year so I don’t know how many pinks and how many whites I have, but hopefully this year we’ll find out and then I can thin out a bit more. I also used a lot of the cheap winter pansies to fill in holes, and did quite a bit of weeding. I haven’t pulled up all the little seedlings as I’m hoping some of them are nasturtiums, which I encouraged to self-seed everywhere last year.

The front garden is looking nice and full and healthy already, particularly when you think back to just a year ago.

Then:

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And now:

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Plenty of colour and interest already this year – the wallflowers are doing their thing

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So are the tulips, of which we seem to have many – most red, or yellow, but this is rather pretty:

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The troughs under the front window still have all their winter bedding but it’s still looking good and should see us through till the geraniums are ready.

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And the ceanothus is continuing to give us one or two flowers at a time, with lots of buds still to open.

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At the back, we moved the dwarf azalea as it was getting swamped by the artemisia, and also moved a lavender that was being overcome by lychnis. The two little patches of grass by the greenhouse door have been taken up and planted with lychnis and winter pansies:

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The bed by the greenhouse looks like this:

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with a bit of a gap under the bird feeder as everything gets pooped on! The bed at the end of the lawn is doing very well, making the most of the sunshine before the lime tree behind is covered in leaves.

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The forsythia in this bed was slow to get going but is now looking lovely:

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And a special mention for what will be in full bloom very soon – the dicentra:

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With apologies for the variable quality of the photos. The light was very contrast-y yesterday and it was extremely difficult to get the exposure right on anything. Many shots didn’t work at all.

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