Sunday, 31 March 2013

snow at Easter

I am beginning to get an inkling of how it must feel to be on an unsuccessful Polar expedition, beaten back repeatedly by the weather.  This morning really didn't look too bad.  The sun was almost shining, and I saw a bee on a flower in the front garden.  Just the one.  Swaddled in thermal leggings, thermal long sleeved vest, long-sleeved t-shirt, old office cotton shirt, thermal hat and neck fleece, heavy fleece jacket and jeans, I strode forth to garden.  The Systems Administrator looked at me dubiously, and I said encouragingly that it was really not too bad out there.

If it had not been such dreadful weather I would have been to the dump at Clacton, and if I had been to the dump I would have come home via the Clacton Garden Centre and bought a large tub of fish, blood and bone.  And if it had not been so very cold and windy the SA and I would have taken the truck to collect a big load of mushroom compost.  If it had been marginally nicer out then at least I would have taken the Skoda and collected a boot-load of compost to be going on with.  Because I had not done any of these things I had run out of mushroom compost, and soon ran out of fish, blood and bone, which put paid to further applications of Strulch.

I did plant out the remaining tray of seed raised oriental poppies from the greenhouse.  Since the plants come into leaf and flower in the spring and are pretty dormant over the summer, I'm experimentally combining them with a patch of perennial sweet pea and Geranium 'Ann Folkard', which die down completely in autumn and take their time to get going the following season.  My hope is that the poppies will have time to do their bit before they disappear under a tidal wave of pea foliage.  The seed came free with a magazine, and I can't think where else to plant them, so it is a low-cost experiment.  I'll let you know how it goes.  I planted some of the poppies last autumn, and it's interesting to see how much bigger and stronger the plants in the ground have grown compared to the ones that overwintered in their pots.

Half way through planting the poppies it began to snow.  It's Easter Sunday, after all.  Why wouldn't it snow?  I was about to give up when it stopped snowing.  I planted out five pots of Muscari 'Dark Eyes' at the front of the border, wondering why I had bought so few bulbs.  I love grape hyacinths. Some tidy-minded people grumble about their self-seeding habits, but I don't.  Extra flowers are always welcome, and I like the semi-natural, interweaving look that you get in gardens where self-seeding is allowed.  I don't even mind the spreading patch of Allium triquetum, which some look on as a fearsome weed.  Mind you, if it escapes into the wild then it is a fearsome weed.

I planted a pot of a miniature Narcissus called 'Baby Moon', then began to wonder if I had put it in a sensible place, or if the perennial pea would smother its little leaves before it had finished growing for the year.  I scooped up 'Baby Moon' and put it back in its pot, deciding it was too cold to think and I would weed the island bed and cut down the last of the old herbaceous stems.  It began to snow again.  I gave up.

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