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Hellebore

I swear if I’d woken up on Wednesday morning to find it was raining AGAIN I’d have crawled back under the duvet and stayed there until it stopped. Forget all the jobs I had to do, I would have stayed put. After two days and nights of non-stop torrential rain I was going stir-crazy. Fortunately Wednesday morning greeted me with blue skies and the sun had got his hat on and he was definitely out for the day. It might have been blowing a hooley outside but I was determined to get out into the fresh air. I’ve spent way too much time in front of a computer recently and needed to garden. Even if the garden had looked pristine and there wasn’t a single thing to do (is that ever the case?) I’d have had to find something to do, the urge was so strong.

Luckily the garden didn’t look pristine. In fact the weight of all the snow and then the subsequent thaw meant that the garden looked a bit sorry for itself so there was plenty to get stuck into. My neighbours’ cats have this annoying habit of sitting on my grasses and herbaceous plants, using them like a cat bed and in the process squishing them to a pancake. Well it appeared that the snow had had a similar effect. Grasses and their seed heads that had looked lovely pre-snow now just looked a mess and the brown foliage of the irises and the crocosmia had become big soggy piles. In amongst all this decaying plant matter though were the first new shoots tentatively appearing. Armed with secateurs I snipped and cleared. The snowdrops are in full flower, as are the hellebores and I can see buds swelling on the tete-a-tete daffodils.  I only have small feet, size four, but sometimes I think I’m possessed by an elephant as I clumsily step through the borders. I do try to be careful but it wouldn’t be spring if I didn’t accidentally step on something emerging from the ground. On Wednesday it was narcissi. Luckily though the flower stems survived intact even if the leaves are now growing horizontally rather vertically.

Hellebore

The best bit of the day though had to be my first afternoon spent in the greenhouse. We constructed it back in November and although it has been home to several plants over the winter I haven’t really had the need to do anything in there. It was disconcerting to be in there as the wind pummelled the sides; I’m so glad Wellyman screwed it into the patio.

I’ve never had any luck growing Anemone coronaria as the corms rot in the ground and, although at the time I didn’t realise the winter would be quite so wet I thought, fortuitously as it turns out, that I’d try them in pots and then plant them out in spring. Well instead of non appearing as has happened before they have all emerged but, they’ve all grown too well and it’s too wet to plant them out so I’ve to pot on into bigger pots. I’m not sure whether it will work as some plants don’t like root disturbance but I thought it was worth a try. If it doesn’t work I think I’ll have to accept defeat on the windflower front.

I’m resisting the temptation to sow most of my seeds but I did sow a few pots of winter salad leaves, some pea shoots, spinach and sorrel. It’s exciting to be able to start plants off this early but the best bit about the greenhouse is being able to sow standing up. I know it’s a pretty prosaic reason but after years of sowing whilst sat on a compost bag outside my shed it’s a real joy. My shed has always been too full to have a proper potting area and with no window it’s so dark I can’t see what I’m doing. Sitting on a compost bag was never particularly comfortable and chasing seed packets that had blown off or knocking over a pot I had just sown meant something I should have loved was quite a frustrating process. So it’s bliss to now have a dedicated place to stand, out of the wind and rain and still be able to get on with gardening jobs.

So it’s the 1st of February today. We’ve got through January and although I’m sure we’ve still got some of winter to come there’s a feeling that we’ve broken its back. The first seed sowing and the appearance of flowers in the garden has filled me with positivity. It’s a feeling I’d like to maintain. Best not look out the window then, that sounds distinctly like more rain.

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