Garden Blog - Blog Post

The Wake-Up Call


What a difference a month-and-a-bit makes! I’ve been very, very busy in the garden. After a long winter of being cooped-up inside the house a sudden flip in the weather from snow to double-digit temperatures and sunny skies had me out before you could say “mesembryanthemum”.

It’s only now, on a much colder, wet afternoon that I’ve had chance to take a few pictures of the garden with the remaining phone battery and have chance to sit down and write.

We last left off with the garden covered in a blanket of snow. That has long-since gone. The sun has been out, temperatures have been in the mid-teens (Celsius) and I’ve been playing catch-up ever since.

It’s not variegated, it’s just light-starved

Plants in the greenhouse are desperate to be released onto the patio, but the patio needs its annual clean. The winter has been so mild that the Zantedeschia have stayed green in the greenhouse, never dying back; it’s even ready to flower soon. It’s also meant that we’ve had our pick of fresh mint all through the winter as it’s just kept on growing.

The lilies and hostas have also made appearances and are impatiently waiting to be placed in this year’s patio pot collection to be set out. Herbaceous perennials in general that have over-wintered in the greenhouse are suddenly waking up with the warm weather and wondering why they’re not out on the patio yet.

It’s also fern-unrolling time, where I go around every fern in the garden, sticking a metal straw into the crown and then I blow, hard. This causes the new season’s fern leaves to suddenly unroll from the crown, much like a party blower.

There are a lot of ferns in the garden and some of them are getting large so I may use a large gas-bottle of compressed air to save time in the future.

Amelanchier: Ultimate height = 2 x what is on label

The blossom in the garden is well and truly out. The Amelanchier is looking particularly starry and this is the first year it has looked the part. Previous years have been spent getting used to its new position in the garden after spending a year or two heeled in to a temporary border. I’m still not sure how large this tree gets but if it looks like this all over, then I won’t be complaining. You can also see the obligatory clematis clambering up it, ready to flower (or die) after the blossom finishes.

The patio wall – which many years ago was all but hidden under a mass of rampant ivy – is looking picturesque now with cascades of flowering Aubrietia and candy tuft (Iberis Sempervirens) along its length. It’s also being joined by some Erodium Pelargoniflorum, which – despite being a beautiful flower – savagely self-seeds everywhere. It has followed us from our previous garden and has gained a tentative foot-hold in this one. I love the flowers of this plant but it’s ruthless colonisation means I’m wary of it spreading out into the borders.

It’s not big-boned enough to support the flowers

All the Camellias apart from one late-flowering one at the front are in flower. They all look drunk too, weighed down by the sheer volume of flowers. I will collect buckets and buckets of spent flowers from the Camellias, turning the compost heap into a pink and red mass.

I will have to look into pruning the camellias so they bush-out and can better support the masses of flowers they carry every Spring.

The sudden appearance of all this Spring blossom a few weeks after a blanket of snow is a wake-up call and I need to quickly get caught up on the backlog of jobs so that the garden is ready for the summer.

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Sunil Patel

I'm Sunil Patel, this is me. I created the Garden at 13 Broom Acres and I open it to visitors. I also bake and write blog posts giving a "behind the scenes" look into what it's like to maintain such a garden.

Visit the blog, then come and visit the garden. We can have a good sit-down, a jolly chinwag and a relaxing cup of tea with a sinfully generous slice of home made cake.

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lynngator 02/04/2019 - 7:30 pm

Sunil, I envy you all those beautiful blooms already. Not much happening here yet except a few of my mini daffs are trying to look pretty, despite more freezing temps. The unfolding fiddleheads always fascinate me. Great description – they do look like party blowers! I keep threatening to try a camellia but I’m not sure if it would survive our temps at 3600 feet. I had a few in Maryland and I miss them. Glad spring is on the way for you. Hope we will follow soon. Take care!

Sunil 03/04/2019 - 5:00 pm

Thanks Lynn, the blossom have been battered by hail showers and frosty nights though so it’s not looking good for the fruit. For Camellias, I’m not sure how hardy they are but if you do have a sheltered spot then they’re well worth the space for the spring show. A TV gardening program in the UK, based in Scotland has them in pots and they move them into a cold conservatory for the winter and they go out for the summer.

aberdeen gardening 04/04/2019 - 5:57 pm

Whoa, so much happening in your garden. You did make me laugh regarding the mesembryanthemum, an annual plant which everyone loved in the 70s, seldom see them these days.

Sunil 11/04/2019 - 7:18 pm

Hello Alistair, I must admit that after trying it in the garden for a year, it hasn’t made a re-appearance!

gardeninacity 07/04/2019 - 11:36 pm

Spring is well underway in your garden. I like your Amelanchier – the buds on mine are just starting to swell.

Sunil 11/04/2019 - 7:20 pm

Hello Jason, I did particularly like the Amelanchier this year, it is still small, but the large ones in our area that I noticed have me slightly worried about how big our little tree might get. You might be enjoying yours in flower by now!

Susan Maclean 08/04/2019 - 7:53 am

Missed you!

I too have an Amelanchier, just flowering, and although I did nothing at all it has developed a wonderful shape all of it’s own. Like yours, my garden is waking up and doing the plant equivalent of SHOUTING! A lovely bush peony is covered in buds…. pink. Praying for no rain until it blooms and gives me a show, because this one (unlike the common old-fashioned dark red one) will just rot if the flowers get wet when opened. I also have two buds on a tree peony, and I’m hoping!!

This year I’m growing a few edibles in the borders. I found a lovely dwarf french bean called “Mascotte” which I only chose because it has, qhote, “extremely attractive flowers”! Well, I mean, I’ll eat the beans which are very thin in diameter, but it’s nice to have something to look at first, eh? Also it crops over a long period, so I have just prepared one tripod for it. Pics later when in blossom. Also two tomato plants, and I’m going to have a go at mange tout also.

But if you have not seen it, I have a new “thing” in the garden, so nip on over to my blog and see my new feature!!

Sunil 13/04/2019 - 9:20 pm

Hi Mrs Mac! Sorry! I was so busy in the garden, that I’ve been spending all the good weather in it and playing catch-up with everything else! I hope your peonies do well for you, I’m jealous in that the few I ave just don’t thrive. I did buy them small but it’s been years and they’ve stayed small since. Edibles in the borders are a great idea as many are very ornamental if they’re left to grow or go to flower. I’m going to head over to your blog now and take a read about your new “thang”!

Susan Maclean 14/04/2019 - 8:24 am

Reporting back on the peonies – no rain! So they made it and they are lovely. I will cut a couple from the back of the bush for the house later today (after all, no-one sees them at the back of a border, and they need a bit of appreciation!

Jean 10/04/2019 - 12:17 am

How wonderful to see all that new growth and those Amelanchier flowers. The wake-up call here has been muffled by a blanket of new snow. But I know that new green growth and even some flowers are happening under that snow just waiting for the big reveal when it melts.

Sunil 11/04/2019 - 7:22 pm

Hello Jean, the garden is already racing away from me and we have still had some frosty nights – while you have had snow! I hope that as it recedes, the flowers re-emerge and resume right where they left off.


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