Monday, 4 February 2008

Reflections in February

After what has been quite a battering from gales and snow, the garden on this early February day, looks calm and poised for growth. Even the suface of the ponds is still, reflecting the sky which has patches of blue. I love this dwarf scots pine which has a very beautiful form, graceful and rounded in shape; in a previous summer gale two years ago, it leant at an angle and I was worried that it would be lost but it seems to have kept the balance of its roots. There are three ponds, one round, one rectangular and a small pool in the greenhouse for the frogs to cool off in summer. Ponds are the single most effective way of enticing a wide variety of wildlife to the garden. The pool by the scots pine has a wooden ramp to help frogs and toads to get out and to save a hedgehog should one fall in.

All the grasses were cut down last week to allow the new growth to emerge (and to tidy it up after the gales!). The grass garden is pretty much at ground level now, a great contrast to its nine feet of height by autumn. The long flower spikes have been cut out of the Stipa gigantea by sliding the secateurs deep down amongst the fine leaves and then we took a rake to them, combing out all the loose dead leaves and debris that collects in the mound of foliage. The effect is always much better and it's really worth doing.

We are propagating lots of plants for sale as the crowns start to shoot away; lungwort, geum, geranium, euphorbia, epilobium, London Pride, sweet violet among others. The wild garlic is looking fresh and green, and the pheasants like to nibble the young shoots. We are splitting wild garlic and potting up it ready for when the garden is open again; made popular by chefs such as Antonio Carluccio, it makes a delicious soup, salad leaf, addition to a potato curry or a casserole and the smell in the woodland when it is full out is quite magical.


david said...

Just scrolling up the last few blogs you can really see how the season changes from your lovely photos. Mm, makes me yearn for spring now!

Anonymous said...

Seeing plants peeping out from under the snow makes one wonder if it will ever be warm again. But of course it willn and nowheremore so than in the shelter of those lovely big sheltering walls at Chesters.