Running to Stand Still



With April bright on the horizon I am already having to get a wiggle on to keep up with what needs doing in our garden. Within a fortnight that wiggle will have become a jog, and by early May I’ll be sprinting just to stand still. I feel exhausted just thinking about it.

At the coast, having prepared out our front / old garden for spring last weekend, all that remained to do was set up my bulb theatre. Apart from two pots crammed with Narcissus ‘Winter Waltz’, all the other bulbs are weeks behind where I’d expect them to be owing to me planting them so late. Nevertheless, hundreds of daffodils, tulips and hyacinths are pushing bravely through their gravel mulch and will be in flower before I know it. Who cares if they are late, so long as they are please me?

I took the opportunity to bask in the spring sunshine by using our garden table as a potting bench. During the week I received several streptocarpus, begonia and impatiens cuttings from Dibleys, all of which required potting on. I was impressed with the condition in which they arrived and expect them to grow big and strong. I am especially excited by Impatiens niamniamensis, the Congo cockatoo, which has all the right exotic qualities for our seaside garden.



After Desert Island Discs it was time to give our back / new garden some attention. We attempted to move the old front door step, otherwise known as the ‘tombstone’, and it promptly cracked, like a bar of Dairy Milk, right across the middle. In an unusual display of energy Him Indoors proceeded to smash it to smithereens and to the tip it went. Meanwhile I was left with a narrow bed of sterile looking chalk and old bricks to plant up. After removing as much raw chalk and debris as possible I added a couple of sacks of well-rotted farmyard manure, a few handfuls of blood, fish and bone, and gave the whole lot a good turning over with a spade.



In went Magnolia grandiflora ‘Exmouth’, which has made its way to Kent, via London, from deepest Cornwall. At its feet I planted six Amaryllis belladonna and three Eucomis montana, all from Broadleigh Gardens in Somerset. We need plenty of herbs in this garden, the front / old garden having become increasingly shady, so in went Rosmarinus ‘Majorca Pink’ just below one of the sashes. R. ‘Majorca Pink’ is a tall, upright rosemary. One day we should be able to pluck a sprig or two just by opening the window and reaching out. As a temporary measure I have plonked in a few plum-coloured polyanthus and Narcissus ‘Tete a Tete’ purely for some colour whilst everything else gets established.



Having blown over again this week, I decided to transfer Correa ‘Marian’s Marvel’ to a heavier pot. Correas do not make a big root system and so don’t need an especially large pot, however they do look appreciably better upright rather than on their side. If I had a pound for every flower this plant has produced since October I would be living it up in a five-star hotel in the Bahamas right now, and still it keeps going.

Next weekend things speed up. I have a fence to paint, four clematis to plant, a wild rose to dig out, more hardcore to take to the tip, dahlias, gingers and cannas to pot up, seeds to sow …. the list goes on. If I think about it too much, I will grind to a halt. The trick is to keep on running.

Wishing you a happy week in your garden. TFG.