Sunday, February 19, 2012

Almost Spring!

Sunshine, always lovely to see and a welcome sight at this time of the year when we're already at the latter part of winter and spring is just around the corner. Spring is almost here, almost if you simply base it on the amount of sunshine we've been having for the past few days (except for Saturday) but the moment you step outside you are also reminded not to let your guard down especially today when it was just two degrees Celsius outside at ten in the morning. Nevermind, wrapped up warm with a hot cup of tea at hand and basking under the sun that spring feeling instantly returns.

And it helps when you see some of the spring flowers in the garden, like this Iris that I spotted in bloom just today.

Iris histrioides 'Katharine Hodgkin'
Iris histrioides 'Katharine Hodgkin'

Or this Aloe spiralling away and seemingly smiling back.

Aloe polyphylla
On the weekdays that have just past it's been mild and very sunny so you can't help but feel that spring is just around the corner. And it puts you in the mood to garden too, except for the fact that weekdays means we have to go to work and hence cannot garden. Nevermind, at least there's the weekend. But the weather has been a bit of a tease and come Saturday all that sun disappeared, shaded by heavy clouds with lots of rain and it felt nippy again. Oh well, from spring like to autumnal in twenty four hours. And it just has to be on the weekend too, when we actually had time to garden! 

Anyway, we still did loads including a group visit to see the lovely pond and Koi collection of one of the members of our local Koi Club. We all had a fantastic time despite the weather, it was nice to see everyone as well as Tim's pond and stunning Koi in the flesh, not to mention the tea and cakes that were served, yum!

Photo from
Sunday was much better, although still nippy at least it was dry and very sunny so we were able to do a bit more in the garden. We did a mixture of things which included some plant tidy up, filling up the third raised bed with more soil, digging a trench for the foundations of a small retaining wall, and preparing the recycled scaffold boards to be used as decking in our new garden.

And then there were the Dahlias which are now potted up and stored indoors to warm them up and encourage them to sprout.

It's almost spring...almost but not quite so best to keep our guard up just in case. But at least it's not long to wait now, and there's a 'sunshiny' feeling at the very thought of it.

Mark :-)


  1. Amazing Aloe polyphylla! Did you have it planted out all winter?

    What will go in the third raised bed?

    I love following your progress!

    :: Bamboo and More ::

  2. Hi Gerhard, yes it's planted out and has been through -10C :) not decided yet what to plant in third raised bed, waiting for creative juices to get going first, hopefully soon.

  3. Good grief, you've potted up your dahlias already! I better get a move on...
    My favourite iris reticulata was always Katherine Hodgeson. She has the most beautiful markings and delicate colour. Having seen so many iris on various blogs I might start growing them again in pots.

  4. All looking good. This is the first year I've decided to grow Dahlias again after an absence of 10 years or more. I must admit Wilcos offerings are brilliant. Just in case I remember why I suddenly disliked them I am growing them in pots which can easily be discarded.

  5. 'Katherine Hodgekin' is beautiful! I really am looking forward to seeing your pond project completed and all the new plantings settled in and prospering. Spring is teasing us here, too.

  6. I have never planted dahlias but am very tempted to try some of the dark-leafed varieties like 'Bishop of Llandaff'. Any recommendations?

  7. I was reading another blog in BC where he was planting out a aloe polyphylla, I couldn't beleive it. I know they're hardy but I'd still find myself worried about it. Yours looks healthy and nice, is it protected from rain?

    Gerhard, Bishop of llandaff is a beauty, start it indoors or a coldframe and you'll be happy come mid summer. Non stop blooms til frost!

    It does feel like spring, doesn't it?

  8. Hi Janet, some of those Dahlias are sprouting already in their packets so I thought best to repot them all now. Katharine Hodgkin is my favourite Iris too :)

    Don, about time you start growing them again after a 10 year hiatus. Mind you with the prices Wilcos are selling them for it's not too bad if you decide to change your mind again :)

    Thanks Debs :) Spring has been a bit of tease but the next few days seems very promising!

    Gerhard, Dahlia 'Twynings After Eight' I highly recommend for its flowers and dark foliage. And proved hardy for us too :)

    Nat, it does feel spring like especially now that it's sunny and we're predicted to have mild weather in the next few days, maybe hitting +16C on Thursday. The Aloe polyphylla had no protection at all. It's on a free draining spot that gets some sun in the winter :) Try planting one out, you might be pleasantly surprised!

  9. You're wasting no time and that is for the best. I also am out and about doing what I can. Can't believe it's almost March, it shouldn't be here because we haven't had a real Winter. Oh well I am loving it so far. Your friend has some huge Koi in there.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  10. I'm very impressed with Tim's koi pond! And I know it gives you determination to finish yours! Isn't the weather nice when the sun is shining - it looks like it's spring, even though the nip is still in the air! Your irises are beautiful.

  11. Hi Cher, isn't it great it's almost March now? Looking forward to the coming weeks, everyday is closer to spring :)

    Hi Holley, Tim will be pleased to know :) It's always nice when you see the sun is shining bright even when it's still nippy, you get that lovely feeling and puts you in the mood to garden.

  12. I know. It's almost spring with the birds singing loudly. But, then at night temperatures fall below freezing, cold in the morning; sun sometimes playing hide and seek.

    What do you guys do to the pond when it is snowing heavily? What happens to the fish? And, do you leave that Aloe outside in snow!?

  13. Hi KL, on our existing small pond there's a cover to keep the snow away as well as prevent it from freezing. If the temperatures dip down low the fishes go down at the bottom where the water is warmer and go on a semi-hibernation state. The covers are really good at keeping them snug and much warmer than outside temperatures. The future pond will have a cover on it too :)

    Ans yes the Aloe is planted out and has no protection over it :)

  14. Your irises go beautifully with the surrounding mulch, very elegant. I don't think I will be potting up my dahlias for a while yet, I don't trust this current ridiculously mild spell. But it is good to see spring flowers again!

  15. I didn't realise that iris would flower this early in the year, off to find some winter flowering iris for my garden!

  16. How did I miss this post??? Those Koi look amazing, I can understand why you are looking forward to getting yours, I bet as much as we are seeing it all finished. :o)

  17. Oh yeah...spring is pretty much here! I went out this past weekend and cut back most of the plants and cleaned up a bit (although it's still a big mess)! LOVE that elegant! Glad to see you out working on the raised beds...I'm always glad I got the "heavy lifting" done during the cooler part of the year once the heat sets in and I turn into a slug ;-)

  18. Thanks Janet! It was jus by chance that we planted these iris in the bed wit blue slate but it does look good, I like it myself alot! :)

    Jeremy, they do flower quite are, almost the same time as most snowdrops and hellebores :)

    Thanks Libby :) Tim does have some fantastic fishes in his pond. Can't wait to finish ours!

    Thanks Scott! We still have to do most of our tidying up for the coming season, hopefully in the next few weeks. We're trying to do as much as we can now so we can take it easy in the summer :)


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