The spring sun is out and so are the iris reticulata and crocus in my front garden. Very cheering!
Without mentioning names, *someone* did very well indeed with this year’s Christmas present: A workshop training day run by and taking place at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Garden in Wisley, Surrey (South UK). This place is beautiful and run by knowledgeable staff who are regularly brought in to provide expert advice in the UK’s gardening press and on TV.
The day was called ‘What now?’ and was designed to talk attendees through the different jobs to do in the garden during March/April in Spring. We also got a bit of a tour of the Wisley’s Spring gardens too, which were gorgeous and clearly attended to meticulously.
Below I’ve pasted jpgs of my notes from the day (prepare to get slightly nerdy about Ph levels and fertiliser) – and then the blog post is back on even ground with lots of pretty pictures 🙂
Here are some quick before and after pics of the pruning I carried out in February 2015 of the Etoile Violet and Bill Mackenzie clematis plants in the garden. Bill was cut back to his main stems and looks much tidier. I left the puffs of seed heads on as their charm hasn’t worn off on me yet. Etoile Violet has been cut down to new bud growth 30cm from the ground [planter] so that the plant channels its Spring energy into throwing up extra stems from the base. If you look closely, you can see that that is exactly what it has done within just 2-3 weeks here.
These pics show plants that have been in the ground for about 9 months, planted last June-ish from 9cm pot plants.
**If you are about to prune your clematis plants, be sure to look up what pruning ‘type’ or ‘group’ they belong to first, as different types need different pruning regimes in terms of timing in the year to cut and what, if at all, to cut.**
Technically, the cyclamen in our windowsill box are indoors cyclamen, however they are hardy to around -4°C and seem to have been relatively happy on the outdoor kitchen windowsill of our terraced (and therefore sheltered) side return. l covered them with a few plastic bags on the couple of occasions when the temperature really dropped and occasionally plucked off new bud stems that the frost got (you could tell because they simply never opened!) … and as you can see, they’ve pretty much come through unscathed; since the plants simply put their energy into creating new flower stems that had more luck weather-wise! I think they look quite pretty with the multicoloured heathers. These winters heathers were originally all pink as they were sprayed by the garden centre that colour, however new growth comes through in the plant’s natural white flower to pretty effect.
Clearly though, the most exciting aspect of the pots at the moment, is the promise of Spring! Lots of lovely things have started sprouting in the last 2-3 weeks. Daffodils, crocuses and even the odd tulip (not really due til May) are all there, poking through. The pansies are not quite in flower yet, which is a bit of a disappointment – but my fault really for planting them out so late that the autumn warmth had long left the ground. Hopefully they’ll fill out soon and start to bloom with their ‘cat’s whiskers’ faces in amber and gold. I will, of course, keep you updated!