Down But Not Out

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I’ll confess last week’s wind and snow damage got me down, not that I had a great deal of time to dwell on it. The last few days have been spent finalising my buying for this Christmas: crazy as it sounds, now is when it needs to be done. I am glad, as it means I can now divert my attention back to my home, garden and the onset of spring. Tomorrow it could be as warm as 11ºC, which means my daffodils will soon be flowering in earnest. Among the first to bloom is tiny Narcissus cyclamineus pictured above. The bulbs were given to me as a gift at a plant sale a couple of years ago and continue to prosper. I must plant more. On the beach the council were removing the winter flood defences, which means they must consider the worst of the weather to be over.

I postponed any attempt to right the wrongs inflicted on my garden until today, when I set about removing all the frosted foliage; tentatively at first, and then with gusto. My trees – all evergreen – bear no damage whatsoever. However they have shed a dense layer of tired old leaves and twigs which are spilling over the edges of the raised beds. I removed most of these, much to the delight of Mr Blackbird, who swooped in behind me to rake through the debris for tasty bugs and seeds. It appears that snow kills neither ivy or bay seedlings, which are emerging thickly in some areas. The same could not be said of any fledgling Geranium maderense, which are mostly dead or dying.

Off came the top growth of Melianthus major, Hedychium ‘Tara’, Alpinia zerumbet and Zantedeschia aethiopica. Hopefully all will reshoot from the base in time. I pulled out an old Solanum laciniatum (kangaroo apple) altogether. It had grown too big and become a magnet for thrips, so I am not too sad to see it go. Beneath the perished stems and foliage are a few hundred tulips pushing through the earth. They will be a joy and compensation come April and May. I am an impatient gardener so I decided to supplement these later flowers with two dozen clumps of narcissi purchased from the local garden centre. The varieties are ‘Jetfire’ and ‘First Light’. Their cheerful flowers will distract from the ‘slash and burn’ effect that the elements have imposed on my subtropical planting scheme.

As with most bad situations, this one looks worse than it actually is. And there’s a bright side: for the first time in ten years I have easy access to the majority of the timber panelling running around the boundary of the garden. Given fine weather at Easter I shall be able to wash it down and repaint it, ready for the summer. The wood has lasted well, and a fresh coat of paint will protect it against future foul weather.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend, and to all of you who are mums, Happy Mothers’ Day! TFG.

Categories: Bulbs, Musings, Our Coastal Garden, Plants, Small Gardens, Weather

Posted by The Frustrated Gardener

Greetings Garden Lover! Welcome to my blog. Plants are my passion and this is my way of sharing that joyful emotion with the world. You'll find over 1000 posts here featuring everything from abutilons to zinnias. If you've enjoyed what you've read, please leave a comment and consider subscribing using the yellow 'Follow' button in the bottom, right-hand corner of your screen. You will receive an email every time I post something new.

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13 comments On "Down But Not Out"

  1. I’m glad your damage is less than you feared: it seems that the worst-affected things are those you won’t be sorry to lose anyway. It’s amazing how forgiving plants are after adversity. Things in my garden are beginning to look better after some rain. I can’t get my head around the idea of doing Christmas shopping now! How organised you are!

    1. It’s Christmas shopping in a retail sense – I’m a buyer for a department store so I have to get my orders in early!

      It’s been the wettest winter here in East Kent that I can ever remember. We are usually pretty dry. The plants have not liked it at all. All the gaps I now have will be filled in no time at all.

      Have a great weekend Jane!

  2. My Geranium palmatum in the borders look fine but the maderense which was in a pot got whisked indoors to a cool room once the cold weather started so hopefully will survive. But what should I do with my Zantedeschia which look very sad and slimy. Do you just pull off the slimy bits or cut them right down to the ground?

    1. Hi Angela. You can do either. If you cut them right down they will take a little longer to come back and some of the first leaves might looked ‘snipped’. If you have the patience to remove the slimy bits you can do that, but I find they still look a little untidy.

      Well done for protecting your geranium. A wise move! Dan

  3. I like the points you make about making a virtue out of changes you haven’t chosen – like being able to clean the wooden panels. Do you think you could ever change to being a “patient” gardener?

  4. Clouds and silver linings – I’m glad to see that you’re looking at all the positives that the bad weather wreaked on your garden, although I hope that your Melianthus major survives. I always thought they were fairly resilient plants. Being in London, most of my plants survived with only one gap to fill now. It must be heartening to see the beach being cleared – we always thought summer was on the way when the beach huts were allowed to be put up on Broadstairs beach! They must have good weather watchers on the council there. Have a lovely weekend!

    1. I hope they do! The sea was quite well behaved this year.

      Melianthus is not that hardy above ground but below ground it’s as tough as old boots! I tend to cut it back anyway, so no harm has been done in the long term.

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