21st February 2020

Garden Notes – Spring?

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Spring has come so early this year. I am writing this at the beginning of February (Jill likes her contributions in good time). The daffodils that should follow the snowdrops are so tall they are hiding them. The early crocus and iris could not wait and are out with the aconites. My camellias are showing colour in their buds and cornus mas is out. The birds are singing and this morning I saw two hares chasing each other around.

The wet weather that is frustrating Julian is frustrating me. Yes I can cut down the dead stems on the borders but weeding is impossible. If I pull out all those self sown forgetmenots I shall pull all the top soil off the border, the earth is so damp and clinging.

What can one do. I have cut back all the late flowering clematis that already have green shoots on them and am doing some major pruning of deciduous shrubs which I want to do before the end of March. I am removing older stems and cutting back those wayward stems that are annoying other shrubs. Don’t cut back those shrubs that give you early flowers or you will lose flowers for this year. Leave them till they have finished flowering. I am thinking of forsythia and flowering currant. We all know that we should pick shrubs that fit the space we have for them and we all cram too many in and have to cut them back.

But that is what gardening is, controlling nature to suit ourselves. Think of those Bonsai trees and do not feel guilty. The evergreens I shall leave till I think winter is over.

Are we going to have a really cold spell as Julian promised at the harvest supper? Just in case I have wrapped my artichokes in a blanket of leaves to protect them from a deep penetrating frost. My four year old granddaughter loves them so I must do my best.

Meanwhile I am amusing myself by going to one of Rosy Hardy’s talks. Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants at Freefolk near Whitchurch is a fantastic nursery, and Rosy who wins gold at Chelsea every time has events all through the year. Either she gives talks or gives demonstrations or has guest speakers. Look at her web site and book yourself on one. You do not have to be an RHS member. Include lunch at the Watership Down inn just below the nursery and you will have a really good day out.

Stella Strachan

[Please note that this message is not posted on behalf of Bentworth Parish Council and does not necessarily reflect the Parish Council’s policy]

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