Monday, April 01, 2013

As Winter Lingers

Last week and this bank holiday weekend was planned to be one of the busiest periods for us with so many gardening events that we wanted to go to, all organised within this period. But what nobody counted on was the weather, who would have expected that it would be colder now than in January and February?

Traces of snow can still be found now on various parts of the garden
We managed to make it to half of them and had to bow out from the rest at the last minute. Cold wasn't really the main deterrent, although it does affect your mood when it comes to attending horticultural events and visiting nurseries. But the threat of more snow falling  over the weekend was the biggest factor for the change of plans. So plan B it was.

But the weather turned out to be not so bad after all, and by that I mean relatively speaking. It was still a cold weekend, very cold and the windchill can still bite through your clothes no matter how thick you wrap up. But at least it was mostly dry. The odd snow flurry every so often but never heavy enough to settle nor cause extra nuisance as it had already the weekend before last. And as a bonus the sun even made an occasional appearance to remind us that yes it may be cold but it's April already.

A cold start to April, what a tease!

I'm glad we changed our plans, a really good decision we thought. We had a fabulous and productive long weekend doing a variety of sorts (some of which we'll feature on later posts), with a big chunk of it still spent in the garden.

Gardening when its freezing cold outside? Yes indeed. We must be hardcore gardeners then...

Loads of plants are behind, like Crocus which are just showing up now, two to three weeks later than usual
This Rheum is behind too, usually it starts to leaf out by mid March not early April
A sprouting clump of Eremurus defying the cold
It may be cold but at least it was dry, and there are plenty that can still be done despite the not so ideal conditions, you'll just have to be selective. 

The ground is still frozen in some parts of the garden and traces of snow can still be seen here and there (that's how cold it is, the thaw from the snow ten days ago is taking a long time...). Fortunately the areas that we wanted to tackle are fine to dig already so we've done some planting.

Borinda papyrifera on the foreground, received some new companion plants over the weekend
The area right at the very  bottom of the main garden, where the fences are received some long overdue makeover. This area has been sort of neglected, especially in the last couple of years. But as it was in a tucked away area there was no urgency to maintain it until now when we finally had the time to do so. So some new plantings went in which should fill up nicely in the following months and should look lush again (it is in the Jungle area, it needs to look lush in the summer). At the moment it looks more Japanese than Jungle, with the bamboo-conifer-bamboo screening combo. But once the growing season gets going (and warmth makes an appearance) this area should start to look more dense (and the bamboo screening less visible).

And the Sycamore tree (Acer pseudoplatanus, not the genus Platanus which is the Sycamore tree in North America) right down at the bottom of the garden received some long overdue attention too. 

The boy enjoying his new toy
This tree has been needing a good trim over the past few years. Now the time has finally arrived...
First the pruner, now the saw...
Voila! It looks better now and should let in more light this part of the garden.
Cold is not a deterrent to gardening, an inconvenience yes but not a hindrance. The only thing though is that it does feel a bit weird in the sense that it feels like we're gardening in the run up to Christmas or in the middle of February, not in the run to Easter nor the beginning of April. A bit disconcerting but never mind! Cold or not, it is undeniably April and if we give in to the urge of hibernating again because of the cold weather, spring jobs will just pile up and will become a burden when warm weather eventually arrives.

Keep Warm and Carry on

Mark :-)

18 comments :

  1. Funny even though we've been enjoying much better weather than you my Rheum and Eremurus are in almost the same state. Must have been our very cold January that set things back here.

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    1. Interesting to hear that, it's possible that could be the case or just coincidence. Forecast has improved a bit now, still on the cold but a bit better.

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  2. I've got a lovely Sycamore that you could have some extra practice on:)

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    1. We'll have to decline I'm afraid. This one big one is more than enough :)

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  3. Our weather is still cold here also. I think Spring is really close though. You are seeing new growth and hopefully here it starts the same.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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  4. Mark, you guys are definitively hardcore gardeners! Your temperatures would keep me inside no matter what spring chores are piling up. Of course, Southern California climate has spoiled me rotten. If it is 16 degrees celsius and the sun is not shining I stay inside and wait for a day where it is at least 16 degrees and the sun is out! On most occasions it is even warmer when I garden. You make me appreciate the climate that I am living in even more.
    Christina

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    1. To have your climate here, even occasionally would be lovely! It's tempting to stay indoors but the pull of the garden is much too strong.

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  5. Yes, you guys are hardcore gardeners if you can do gardening in cold days :-). Not me.

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    1. Hopefully it will warm up soon so you can be enticed outdoors too!

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  6. I used to work outside in the cold and even in the rain if I had a day to do it but now I'm more of a fair-weather friend to my garden. Your dediation is laudable and certainly shows in your gorgeous garden!

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    1. Thank you Peter! We know it'll pay dividends later on the work we have done recently even if it was cold.

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  7. You have proved your hard-core credentials time after time...and you have the garden to show for it.

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  8. That last statement is so true! It's amazing the difference between this year and last. Gardening in freezing weather, though, takes true dedication! I think I would have been inside under a blanket!

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    1. Very tempting Holley but the pull of the garden was too much to resist :)

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  9. Hi Mark and Gaz, we've finally got rid of the last of the snow here, but the weather is still cold and although I was happy to be out in the garden pottering around and shivering, I am regretting it now, while sat here with a Lemsip! I'll be glad when I can be more of a fair weather gardener but there's such a list of jobs that I want to get done, I don't have the luxury of choice!

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  10. It is a little disturbing feeling that cold while gardening in April, isn't it! Nice job tidying the tree, I have been encouraging our neighbor to follow her heart and get rid of at least 2 of the 4 (yes, 4) sycamores in their tiny back garden. Lovely trees but the seedlings get everywhere, and in that tiny space, ridiculous!

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