Down But Not Out

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.