It is the first weekend of Spring… and snow is falling. Despite the cold, grey Winter there have been volunteers in the Garden every week.  On Thursday there is an average of 12 people.  On many other days volunteers come in to do specific tasks. Students have helped Pete on Wednesdays. Volunteers continue to make labels. Digitalis seeds are being germinated to be planted later.

At this time of year the routine tasks are cutting back: the red border; the Miller border; the prairie planting; the long herbaceous border; cornus, grasses and epimedium near the entrance; dead stems in the gravel border and the geranium beds.

There are also several areas which have been developed over the Winter. The most obvious is the rhododendron beds opposite the shed. The ground was cleared, Pete dug and mulched, then volunteers helped plant the splendid selection of plants from Millais Nurseries. The grounds staff have now erected a fence round these shrubs.

Other areas have been given attention. The Autumn borders were very overgrown. Volunteers helped clear brambles, scrubby bushes and weed. Since  then Catherine and Arne Spargo have spent months in perfecting and planting the area.  They have been hindered by this atrocious wet winter, which has created ponds where none have ever been before.

At the other end of the Garden, Terry Handford and others have created a new walk, linking the shed to the jungle garden, it’s well worth a stroll to see the Garden from an unexpected perspective.

Also, near the entrance a fragrant border is being created. There will be more information about this in the next ‘Grass Roots’.

But what about the Garden? Every week there is something to bring joy. At present the snowdrops mingle with narcissi under the crab apples.  There are hopeful shoots of paeonies and day lilies. And at the far end of the Garden, behind the cherry bowl in the direction of Wilderness Road, there is one small cherry (Prunus ‘Kursar’) in full, defiant pink blossom.

Posted by Trudi Rehman

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