March was an odd month. It snowed, twice. And I went from temping to a permanent job with everything getting a new job entails: job hunting, apply, interview, repeat. I’m generally quite a rational person, but interviews, like public speaking, are something that provoke a physical and mental reaction in me. The snow prevented me from dealing with anxiety in the garden, which is how I best cope.
Instead, I took pleasure from feeding the birds. I would sit in the kitchen, looking out in the garden and try and count all the species that visit our feeding station. I’m thrilled to say that from two fat pigeons in the beginning, we have robins, blue tits, sparrows, blackbirds, starlings. Plus two visits from a sparrowhawk. That was something special.
In the garden
In terms of working in the garden, I have only started working on it properly after the snow. The garden was populated with lots of little pots with herbs that I had been collecting since autumn last year. I decided to buy some bigger pots so I could plant several of them together, and boy has that made a difference. It is not until you make this change that you notice how cluttered loads of little pots can feel, but having bigger pots makes the space in itself feel bigger and it is a lot more pleasing to the eye.
I also decided to go ahead and drill some drainage holes in my vintage metal containers. If you read my previous post on containers with or without holes, you will know that I warn against having anything that is long-lived in a container that doesn’t have drainage. I didn’t use any of the metal troughs at all last year, so this year I decided it was time. If you also decide to use bread bins, etc as containers, just bear in mind that they will heat up in the summer and so your plants are likely to dry out faster. You will need to water them more often, perhaps even place them in semi-shade during the hotter months.
This photo brings me a lot of joy. I think I am developing a thing for salvias. I bought the two (bigger) light green foliage plants on sale last winter, and decided to plant them along with my existing salvia, which has a darker foliage. The darker plant didn’t perform very well last year, I had a euphorbia and lemon thyme in the same pot. The herb had taken over a lot of the pot, and I think the salvia was suffering. As soon as I refreshed the soil and changed its pot-mates, it perked up and this is what it looks like at the moment. You can see it’s a little way behind its friends, but at this point I’m confident it will be just fine.
In the cold frame
I’ve used the fruit boxes an allotment neighbour gave me last year to slow some salad leaves and spinach directly. I have also used it to so some snap peas. I’ll probably have to pot these on in the future. I love how all the shoots are poking out, they remind me of little submarines. There’s a row of each: Sweet Anne, Golden Sweet, Shiraz, Spring Blush and Oregon Sugar.
I have also sowed some nasturtiums, the colour of which I am looking forward to seeing (‘Tom Thumb’ and ‘Milkmaid’), as well as Rudbeckia hirta ‘Sahara’, borage, calendula and honeywort (Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’). The calendula had already started sprouting before the snow arrived, and the borage has slowly started to appear.
In the front garden
I want to make the front garden useful as well as beautiful. I am going to grow the potatoes at the front. The first and second earlies are in (planted 07.04.2018), I will probably plant out the main crop in a week or so. The varieties I have gone for this year are Foremost (First Early), Elfie (Second Early) and Vitelotte Noire (Main Crop).
The geraniums have come back. I’m looking forward to the pale blooms cascading from the pot. Sadly, I think the low temperatures have killed my jasmine. This is the second jasmine I buy that doesn’t survive since starting my gardening journey. Third time lucky?
It feels like the daffodils are very, very late. They have come up everywhere I look except at our house. One of these is supposed to be an early variety as well. I suspect the shallow pots have retained the cold for longer, and the snow didn’t help. You can see the tips of the daffs in at the front have suffered.
And finally, one of my most favourite surprises. I thought this pulmonaria would produce pink flowers. But have you seen the different tones of pink and purple? I am in love with this often looked over plant. Pulmonarias are one of my favourite. Here’s to a warmer, more productive, April!