After two weeks of long sunny days I’m as brown and wrinkled as a December Egremont Russet, my hands rasp like sandpaper, the finger nails are all broken and very grubby, and my joints crack and creak. All but the most urgent domestic chores are neglected and my e-mail auto-responder reads “gardening I’ll get back to you when it rains”.
After Easter the weather changed, we have had hours and hours of sunshine and just a few April showers to keep the ground moist. True the northerly winds have a cool edge, but I’ll settle for April weather any day. If we get a northerly air flow at this time of year the days are dry and sunny. Sorry to gloat, but when the sun shines the islands are magical and the days are to be treasured.
I have not been frittering my time away sitting on the garden bench admiring the view or walking on the beach, this weather is too good to waste. Although I have to admit I was distracted from weeding on the day of the Barnacle Goose fly past – skein after skein of geese flying low over the sea and over the croft – over 2,500 in a morning!
- So are we weed free? Yes but it is a temporary illusion.
- Have I sown the first rows of carrots and parsnips? Yes, in slightly wiggly rows.
- Have I done something about the bare patches left by the builders? Yes, I’ve sown a coastal wildflower/grass mix which is currently feeding a flock of Twite.
- Have I planted the hardy perennials which over-wintered in the polytunnel? Well yes, I was a tad impatient and I really should know better.
- Have I split the primroses and collected the seedling? Yes – what a joy, my gardening is finally producing its own plants!
- So is my garden green, verdant and burgeoning with blooms? No, but it looks promising.
The herbaceous plants are shooting and showing signs of life and those which are a little chlorotic are being encouraged with a liquid seaweed tonic. We’re now reaching the end of the daffodils with just Pheasants Eye (Narcissus poeticus) remaining to gladden the eye and perfume the air. The alliums are waiting in the wings and although their leaves are a little ragged, the flower stems wave in the wind and are only broken by a serious gale. There is also the ever faithful London Pride (Saxifraga umbrosa), a little yellow and burnt to a crisp on the northern face, nevertheless it produces masses of starry sprays of the most delicate pink flowers. I’m not given to whimsy, but these are fairy flowers!
Of course there is always the surprise lurking in the back of the border. Trillium cuneatum is looking a little tired now, but still in bloom and just a little way along the border is Trillium chloropetalum (no label. so I’m relying on my memory which is not always trustworthy). This is definitely grownfor its dark mottled foliage, the flowers are dark green tinged with maroon and sessile.