…Out like a lamb.
A month of extreme and unpredictable contrasts as days of stormy winds and cold sleety rain give way to clear blue skies and much milder temperatures. It is a sure signal that we have turned the corner into spring and a seasonal rush of jobs and new growth take place.
Clearing, cleaning and tidying continues throughout – the grass is cut for the first time bringing a new formality to the Parkland. Elsewhere, through the shaded and troublesome areas in the Woodland the paths have been covered with a layer of topsoil and slow release organic fertiliser in preparation for another annual round of trying to get these walkways greened up before the start of the season. It is still a bit early for reseeding, but hopefully now that all is in readiness, when this job is completed germination should be quick enough.
There are plenty more seeds too sown in the greenhouses, and the Kailyard and Allotment tidied and prepared. We are also trialing some new seeds this year – among them pink dandelion (taraxacum pseudoroseum) which seems somehow an appropriate exotic for the garden…
There has been a little tree damage with the high winds – a fallen willow by the grove Longer fall the shadows… and also at the bottom of the Parkland by the Eclogue enclosure. But all just part of the cycle and sequence and there are plenty of new saplings to replace any gaps in due course.
A climbing rose Mermaid has been planted outside the bedroom study window – simple white flowers described as flocks of doves landing… another – Aphrodite by the entrance to the Temple of Apollo – which is sweetly scented. Two poetic floral placements.
Wild garlic in front of the Temple has been moved into the woodland, clearing space for more planned cottage type planting. Climbers – honeysuckle and clematis for containers in the conservatory and arched over the entrance doorway – are also planted up.
Ox eye daisies have been lifted, separated and extended in areas by back of the lochan, on the path from the sluice to the Metamorphic trellis, and in the car park along the roadside to enhance the entrance to the garden and signal its presence.
As an experiment this season we are using a liquid seaweed fertiliser for all containers and veg produce to see if it helps things along, as we always struggle with conditions.
In the lower pond in the Parkland stepping stones have been removed to the island – L’ile des peupliers – so that in appearance it is now more in keeping as an echo of Rousseau’s burial place Ermenonville. The leak in this pond still keeps recurring – the water wants to retrace its original course, but the problem area is now clearly identified and another application of magic mud should seal up the gaps.
A group of brick columns has been installed in the Little Wood – each in turn topped with purslane, hart’s tongue fern and yarrow – as suitable planted capitals – or crowns for the Republic…
A broken windowpane has been replaced in the greenhouse, a collapsed section of stone dyke in the front garden rebuilt.
There is colour now from Hazel catkins, the daffodils are in abundance, flowering current and pussy willow, cherry and plum – everywhere the buds are filling out and ready to burst into new green leaf. Julie’s garden has been given a good tidy up and also along the front of the house and entrance the strawberry containers have been cleared out.
Nepeta and Leucanthemum have been planted along the boat pavers path in the Front garden – and the redcurrants have been clipped to keep them in shape. The raspberry canes are tied up with string – trellises, wigwams and frames await to support their chosen charges.
All is in readiness for new season.