First flowers of spring

first daffsThis was a surprise. I was beetling along the lawn, wheelbarrow in hand,  heading towards the endless soil pile, and just looked to my right up the steps that lead to the potting shed one terrace above. And lo, the first daffs are out.

These are the Rijnveld’s Early Sensations. And they did just that.

Only two have come out, but I think if this mild weather continues there might be a dozen out by the end of the weekend.  These ones are at the back of the garden near the duck pond.

It’s an experiment as I’ve never planted bulbs in this area before, so it all goes well, they will survive any marauding animals and keep on multiplying.  I don’t know if they are scented, but I forgive them everything for being so early. eragrostis potted up

I had a full on gardening day which was such a treat (not for the sciatica, but you have to pay for the chance to get out and do hours of heavy work).  It actually started out cloudy with passing light showers.

So I scuttled up to the potting shed and decided to have a go at potting on all my eragrostis grasses.  They have lurked all winter, but this mild weather may just wake them up.

artur in the thick of itSo using some oldish compost that was sitting ina box, I got going. Sadly, the box was where a certain elderly cat was perched. And he didn’t take kindly to being disturbed.

He fussed and growled so much, that I gave in and set up a good clean wine box (fleece lined) and put it back where the compost box once sat.

That placated the ornerly old critter. And he settled down quite happily as if  the histrionics hadn’t occurred.  I gradually filled all the area in front of him with plants.  And he had one eye open and watched warily, but I think he was satisfied that he had a perch. cuttings

The cuttings of pelargoniums, santoline and sedums which I took before Christmas needed to be carefully inspected and potted on. I think I managed to succeed with about 40 per cent which is not bad going.

But I need to remember to take more santolina cuttings in spring.  And work like a trojan to get more of the fantastic sedum plants by taking root cuttings from the emerging growth. Busy busy.

shallot sets plantedBy mid morning I had even managed to plant up 40 shallot sets, and get 20 more directly into the potager.

Oh, and I planted 40 strawberries as well.  It was all go. I had quite forgotten that. Thank goodness for the camera to record what I actually did all day.

And after a power lunch (wolfed down, frankly) it was out to move soil, rake like mad, and sow huge areas of grass seeds for the ravaged lawns.

The biggest task was in front of the newly planted hornbeam hedge in front of the house.  hornbeam hedgeThis long terrace used to be a sward of heavenly lawn.  Then the wall fell down, the bulldozer man scooped it up (and took a lot of the soil with it) and then the rain came and flooded it all over again.

I had help in the form of eight teetering wheelbarrow loads of spare soil dumped on the area. And then I raked and sculpted and generally pretended I was a zen japanese gravel gardener.  It was almost fun.

Sowing the seed, raking again and then walking all over the area to press down the seeds was a ponderous but pleasurable activity.  Especially as there was a minor hail storm in the middle of it.

I never yearn for rain after the winter we just had, but I do need a bit of moisture to help these grass seeds along.

grass sarahs pathThe rest of the day was spent doing exactly the same thing: the main lawn near the pool, paths along the potager, most of the walnut path, Sarah’s path above the shade garden.  I didn’t miss anywhere out.

And even went up to the top terrace and sowed grass seeds on the huge culvert bank just outside the forest.  I shouldn’t worry there as the festuca grasses will cover that in no time. But it does feel like we are getting a huge area of the garden back into shape.

Another hail storm slowed me down, and I decided that I really ought to down tools. That and an aching back from all the raking.

Happy days.