This is my first attempt at creating a collage. I think I'd rather go on working in the garden.
We had a gorgeous weekend, the sun shone, it was warm and the birds sang. Gardener came and we worked for seven hours, with a short intermission for a hasty lunch and frequent cups of tea provided by Beloved.
The flowers shown are Chaenomeles, white anemones, blue anemones, miniature tulips and yellow primroses.
Gardener and I have been taking a close look at the shrubs, flowering, evergreen and ordinary deciduous ones.
There is a lot of winter damage; most of the hebes have succumbed to the frost, the leaves on the bay tree and an ancient and very large cistus have turned brown and shrivelled, certain to crumble and drop soon. Olearias, nandinas, a hydrangea or two barely hang on, one or two of the Japanese maples have suffered severe wind damage, and all phormiums have rotted away.
Abelias, caryopteris, and ceanothus show no, or very little, sign of life.
So much of the backbone of the garden has been destroyed this winter that it breaks my heart. Herbaceous plants are easy to replace, either by division, root cuttings or scrounging, a favourite way of enlarging your stock among friends and fellow gardeners.
Unless you are a gardener you probably think 'what a lot of fuss over nothing'. 'Just buy new plants'.
Most of these plants have a history; I remember where they came from; some were swapped for other plants, some were grown from tiny cuttings (one or two of which I might even have taken from famous gardens, with permission from the head gardener), for some I travelled to specialist nurseries all over the UK, some have come with me from a previous garden, been dug up and transplanted. Some were given as presents for a special occasion, their growth measuring somebody's passing years.
Of course, they can all be replaced, but it takes a long time for shrubs to grow to maturity. There is still the possibility that some shrubs might recover after serious pruning later on this Spring; sometimes new shoots and leaves will sprout as much as a year later. In the meantime, I will have large gaps in my borders, to be filled with my least favourite gap fillers, here-today-and-gone-tomorrow annuals, silly and brazenly colourful show-offs, only good for tubs and pots and window boxes normally.