Saturday, 31 January 2009

Early clear-up

The first two hours solid gardening of the year, on a dry and slightly less cold day than we've had up to now. Austin, the gardener, and I cut back most of the roses, a job which should have been done long ago. we also started on cutting down last year's perennials, which really don't look very good anymore. The birds have had the seed by now and the partly dry and partly slimy old growth is pretty unsightly now. Some of the huge growths of clematis have been thinned out, particularly the ones which have been smothering the house at the back. we found five old birds nests in one climber.

My eternal war against my arch-enemy, the evil lesser celandine, has resumed. Such a sweet little flower, and such a pest at the same time. I swear somebody comes at dead of night and digs in thousands of little bulbils as soon as I have dug them up during the day. They are very pretty in the grounds of the Castle around the garden but I DO NOT want them in the garden.

Clearing the last remains of autumn's leaves off the woodland beds we found the pink pulmonarias in flower and the hellebore flowers are well on their way too. Was it as early as this last year? In spite of a harsher winter than usual the new growth on perennials and budding on shrubs is well under way. even the rhubarb heads are sitting up rosily.

We used to say that gardening here in the Marches started about two weeks later than in the South East, where I gardened 12 years ago. If that is still so than work there must have started in earnest mid January.

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