Who’d have thought that several weeks ago when we were being deluged with rain we would end up being treated to such a beautiful start to March; the clearest of blue skies and a gentle warmth to the sun. I’d be happy enough with this sort of weather in the height of summer let alone at the beginning of spring. Of course, spring can have a sting in its tail. Few of us need reminding of last year’s weather with a surprise cold snap dragging on well into June. Lets hope for growers and farmers alike that spring eases gently into summer this time around.
The prolonged period of dry weather has been perfect to get out and tackle all those jobs which were starting to mount up. I know this will sound a bit odd but one of the jobs I most look forward to is emptying the shed. After spending all winter barely being able to get into the place it’s a relief to free it of its winter clutter. There tends to be a point around mid-February where I’ve given up all hope or pretence of being able to keep the shed tidy. Visits to the shed involve little more than standing at the door and shoving in whatever needs storing in there as best I can. Wellyman might occasionally be wandering around looking for something and say, ‘I think that might be in the shed’. There’s a hopeful look on his face as he contemplates going to look for whatever it is until he realises the folly of this idea and its rediscovery will have to wait until spring. It’s all been made worse this winter because of the torrents of rain. When we had the brick path in the garden put in for some unknown reason the builder sloped the path down towards the shed. It’s not a steep slope, in fact it’s barely perceptible. The result though is even just an average amount of rain simply washes down the bricks and settles on the concrete floor of the shed where it refuses to drain away. This winter the floor of the shed was one large puddle from December until the middle of last week. Still considering the impact the storms had on so many we have got off incredibly lightly.
It makes such a difference having a run of several dry days making it possible to get sooooo much done. Seeds have been sown and are germinating nicely, roses have been pruned, the garden and allotment weeded. Grass paths at the plot have been edged and green manure cut back and dug in. The autumn raspberries were pruned, although it was a mistake to forget my gloves. Once I was at the plot though I couldn’t be bothered to walk back home to get them, I knew I’d probably end up making a cup of tea and not coming back. So I went ahead with the pruning anyway … gingerly. I was grateful for the stretchy long sleeves of my old jumper which provided a degree of protection but not enough if my scratched hands the following day were anything to go by.
Then there was the mulching. I still find it hard to believe when we live in an area surrounded by farmers and stables that the allotments can’t get hold of a good source of manure. A lack of tow bars and trailers on our part and an unwillingness to deliver by the those with the muck have led to a stalemate and an empty manure patch. Last year, I finally found a source of rich, dark, crumbly green waste soil conditioner – it’s just a pity that it’s in the next county and a 40 minute round trip but I’ll take what I can get. We collected and distributed on to the allotment beds nearly 2 tonnes of the stuff. It’s surprising how much of it we needed. Another trip would have been ideal but with the green manure and some of our own compost looking like it’s ready to be used we should have enough muck, for now at least.
As winter fades there’s always a part of me that wonders if some of my plants will reappear. And when they do it is quite magical. It’s new plants I’m most worried about. I planted two hop plants at the allotment last year and did think the incessant rain might have seen them off. It’s hard to beat the feeling when you spot some shoots appearing from the ground or big fat buds swelling on a plant you were worried might be dead. I’m pleased to report the hops have survived as have quite a few plants I grew on the plot for the book which I completely forgot about. I like surprises like that.
My shed is always jam packed. We did away with our garage when we had an extension built on to the house, so there’s always so much packed in to such a small space. It’s been a great start to spring, especially being able to get out and get some jobs done. I was so far behind last year because of the cold start to the year that I feel as though I’m on top of things this year, even the grass has had its first cut of the year.
Hannah M said:
I’m the same! Had a great weekend sorting the garden out in the sun :o)
Feels good doesn’t it? 🙂
lovely update and thank you for sharing
Thank you 🙂
I’m manure-hunting too – I am glad it’s not just me who finds it difficult to get decent stuff. I’m afraid that the sting in the tail of the mild weather has arrived in west Wales – cooler, with added drizzle – but the few days were great for odd jibs. Oh well…
It’s so frustrating not being able to get hold of a good, and free supply of manure. Crazy when you think about it. My local council doesn’t even produce decent green waste which is why we have to drive so far to get hold of any. I suppose the lovely weather was too good to last. I just hope we don’t get any hard frosts.
Its been so good, being able to get in the garden again, and start tidying. At last we have almost finished clearing the dead stems from last year, then we will have to start the weeding! Thankfully I cleared the shed last autumn!!
I’m so glad you’ve had some sunny days to get started on your gardening. May you have a glorious spring! Blessings, Natalie 🙂
You are all putting me to shame! Hasn’t the weather been superb? But I must confess to spending a lot of time “enjoying” it, and haven’t done as much as I should! I always panic at this time of year, with so much to do and the growth spurt attempting to overtake my efforts. Only myself to blame! But everything you achieve feels so good, nonetheless! Your garden and allotment look wonderful. Isn’t that always the problem – the fact that what we know will do our garden so much good, is so inaccessible. I can’t generate enough homemade compost or leaf mould.
Let’s hope it isn’t a case of in like a lamb, out like a lion……………….
Yey. And the car survived the journeys!
I’m new to your site (and gardening!) – I love the planting scheme in your Spring Garden picture. Please could you tell me what the plants are, if it’s not too much of a bother? Thank you 🙂
Hi Cal, There’s hellebores, box balls, Narcissi February Gold and Narcissi Tete a Tete. Clumps of snowdrops which have just finished flowering. There’s a euphorbia but I can’t remember the name at the moment. The tall plant at the back is a fatsia japonica. Hope that helps. Any questions just ask. 🙂
That does help, thanks very much for taking the time to answer 🙂
Would just like to say what a delight it was to receive your book yesterday,everything about it is just wonderful! I discovered your blog only last week after searching for flower growers and I am sooo pleased I did! Looking forward to following your year ahead and also putting the book to good use,
Many Thanks to you,
Aw! Thank you so much Wendy, that’s such a lovely thing to say. I’m very pleased you’ve popped by. 🙂 Louise x
Delighted to see you’re in full gardening swing, Louise! Look forward to seeing more of your garden. I’m very lucky as the mules produce plenty of good manure. Still haven’t brought it all out…will continue this afternoon though.
Weeding the Web said:
Your border’s looking glorious.
There have been some lovely spring days: longImay they continue! I too love the thrill of seeing something emerge from the ground that I half-feared had disappeared completely. My husband tidied up our shed at the weekend too, I can almost walk a few paces in there now :).
I found myself smiling and nodding in agreement when I read this post. It’s good to see that you’ve done so much, and now ready to plant and sow.
I especially like your last paragraph as I always find pleasing when plants do reappear, and there are always welcome surprises.
Happy gardening. xx
That prolonged dry spell has come to end here WW but wasn’t it brilliant whilst it lasted. Your allotment plot is looking so spick and span now that I think that any weeds would be too frightened to germinate there. I’m going ouch at the mere thought of you pruning your raspberries without gloves but then I’ve done similar silly things too 🙂 Hope that your spring is full of surprises.
PS Thanks for your recent comment on my blog which confirmed that my mystery plant was the white butterbur. Had just about reached that conclusion.
I oftentimes look at my garage and storage and wonder if gardeners aren’t all just a little bit messy. Is it the working with dirt thing? But then some of their houses are immaculate. Is it because they’re outdoors constantly?
Your allotment looks like a spring paradise with a nice layer of muck. Sorry it’s such trouble to find. Here’s to more nice springtime surprises!
I think we can all relate to the shed situation but despite a clear out a few weekends ago, mine is filling up again. I blame the pots. My shed is supposed to be for our bikes but it’s a long time since any bikes would fit in there. I can get manure from our city farm – it’s a wellies on, get stuck in and dig operation, then it has to be barrowed to other end of the farm. Quite time consuming and it’s been raining heavily all night here so probably not the best day for it! Your newly dug plot looks full of potential!
Isn’t it lovely seeing neat bare beds ready for lots of goodies to grow? You don’t often see that in my garden but now I have 2 small cutting beds ready and waiting and seedlings coming along nicely! Thank you for the motivation to take this step.
Hah! Your shed sounds esxactly like ours, except that in our case its made worse by currently holding the kayaks. We plan to get a new smaller shed to separate boat stuff from gardening stuff, but quite when that will happen… I share your manure issues, though we at least have a towbar. One day maybe we will add a trailer, I would dearly love to make it to one of the green compost give-aways with the energy to make the most of it! In the mean time we get it delivered in bags on a pallet, so that I can do the mulching in stages. As for the magic of spotting plants emerge in Spring, I’m not sure anything quite beats it in the garden, particularly if it is a new plant that has endured its first winter.