February seems to have passed in a flash and although we have not slackened in our work rate there is still plenty to be done before spring is here and our focus must turn to maintenance tasks rather than the redevelopment work.
The rising temperatures and the soaking the garden has received this week seem to have convinced many plants that spring is here. The daffodils are starting to flower, there are two Rhododendrons flowering in the wood near the Iris border and the Stachyurus a little further on is in full flower. Everywhere the buds are swelling and the garden is coming back to life a joy to witness on a sunny day. The Hamamelis virginiana in the circular border of the lawn on the left as you enter the garden has been in flower for a few weeks now filling the air with a lovely scent.
The green border is nearing completion with some herbaceous planting between the tall Viburnum and the Malus sargentii. The planting is Bergenia and Hemerocallis along the front of the border and under the fringes of the Malus, then Euphorbia, Clematis and Asters through the centre of the border with Musa, Fatsia, Ilex and Althaea (Hollyhock) along the rear. The whole border is then being mulched with a good layer of our recycled wood chips to suppress the weeds and reduce watering in the summer.
The Friends of the Harris Garden have now established a regular Thursday morning session when as many as can make it come in every week to carry out a variety of tasks, at least 6 Friends each week even when the weather is horrible.
This month the Friends have;-
1. Completed weeding the Iris borders,
2. Weeded round the ponds and along the stream (in the rain!),
3. Planted the formal garden inside the beech hedges with white Lupins and white Echinacea (“Very designer.” as someone commented) and mulched it with our recycled compost,
4. Weeded the Paeony border and lifted herbaceous plants from the Jekyll border for replanting in other parts of the garden.
They have been really busy and are making a real difference in the garden. Please if you feel inclined to come and join in do there is plenty still to do, next week we intend to be bulb planting on the bank to the right as you enter the garden there is also mulching to be done on various sites.
The snowdrops are still flowering if I hadn’t taken the photo for January’s blog a month ago I would not have believed they could flower for 5 or 6 weeks. The Crocus and Narcissus are also flowering alongside them now.
Next month we are intending to get some planting done along the stream and sow grass seed on the areas of bare soil at the top of the stream and under the Oak trees to cut down time lost weeding these areas where nothing grows. Some plants will be moved from the herbaceous border and some (Hostas) will be bought in.
To view more blogs by Pete Tipping please go to the web address below where his pen name is The Head Gardener.