Springtime: Six on Saturday: 12 March 22

We’ve been enjoying the sunshine this week, it’s almost impossible to resist the temptation to go outside and get gardening. There’s plenty to do at this time: cutting back of dead growth to allow the new green shoots to come through unhindered, moving plants to better locations (an unhappy Rugosa rose to a sunnier position), weeding (or in my case eating my weeds – if you didn’t catch my post earlier this week on Cardamine hirsuta, let me inspire you to make a salad with it!)….The garden still looks a bit bare and drab in places, and the lawn needs some attention where it’s got compacted, but every moment you spot a tiny new shoot or miniscule geranium leaf poking through the ground, you know a transformation is underway.

This has also been the week of the first sightings of queen bumblebees, a hoverfly and a painted lady butterfly, coming out of hibernation to enjoy a meal from my primroses.

The queen bumblebees appreciate the Chaenomeles (Japanese quince), so valuable for its late winter/early spring colour and food source. The bumblebees have it pretty much to themselves, as my neighbour’s honeybees are not yet out of the hive. The quince is located very near our log pile, which one bumblebee was investigating very closely, possibly checking out its potential as a nesting site.

Chaenomeles japonica

Just above the quince, my Clematis armandii sprawls along the wall. I feel that this climber is so vigorous that it exhausts itself, and isn’t able to sustain the metres of growth it tries to put on each year. I discussed this briefly with N20 Gardener, who suggests it might not be getting enough water in the summer. She’s probably right, as this is a dry spot. This means that there’s quite a lot of dieback of shoots and browning leaves, not the best look, but on the other hand it does make up for it by still managing masses of new buds. As you can see, they are just about to flush. The honeybees will definitely be out for this.

Clematis armandii ‘Apple blossom’

The unfurling leaves of this Acer palmatum are especially lovely and feathery. It’s been put in the ground after spending a year in a plastic pot while I hesitated over where to put it. I’m not sure if it’s going to like its new home or not, they can be tricky customers. It’s got good shelter from the wind (from the hedge behind it), it’s got sun but not too much as my garden is always partly-shaded by the house, and it will soon get a mulch of garden compost.

For colour at this time of year, I’ve got a little patch of Narcissus tete-a-tete which are undeniably cheerful and I’ve been told by many a blogger that they come back reliably each year. But I’ll have to think of something clever to avoid a bare patch in summer, any ideas?

Narcissus tete-a-tete

There are also crocus dotted here and there, but in the borders their appearance is a bit sporadic and bitty. I prefer how they look concentrated in this big pot, with tulips that will come through underneath to replace them. This variety is one of the best for naturalising, they say, so I’ll replant them, maybe under the hazels.

Crocus tomassinianus ‘Barr’s Purple’

My main preoccupation now is mulching, as the borders really look like they need it, both to improve their appearance and to nourish the soil. I was happy to see that the local farm had a large pile of material to give to local residents, what they call ‘Broyat de resineux’, resinous shredded material, so I collected five compost-bags of the stuff. I do have my own shredder now, but not quite enough material to fill all the borders. So this is a god-send!

It’s going to be a busy time for me, with the gardening workshops I’m running starting next Saturday, so I’ve got lots to organise! I may have to pause Six on Saturday occasionally, but I’ll continue to post even if it’s not the usual format, so stay tuned. Have a great and hopefully sunny springtime weekend!

30 thoughts on “Springtime: Six on Saturday: 12 March 22

  1. How fortunate to have a farm supply nearby. My neighbour retired from dairy farming some years ago and up to then I had an endless supply of manure available…but no longer!

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      1. Yes, there are stable nearby but it is a bit of a bother. I produce a good amount of compost in the garden at any rate.

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      1. I was surprised that most of the seeds weren’t attacked, and I have a lot of S&S. Time to order some nematodes. The Californian poppies were very successful.

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  2. It was fun to see how everything starts to grow in you garden. Springtime brings a lot of work for gardeners so I fully understand that your blogging rithme will be changed 😉
    Enjoy the weekend.

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  3. Lovely japanese quince – I had some in the old garden, it was great for early colour. The clematis looks good – we just have to hide the brown bits!! I’m agreeing with Hey Jude – I try to drop in some annuals around mine. Either sprinkle seeds or plant out seedlings. They have a short root growth to start with to it seems to be easy to push them in above the bulbs.

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    1. Yes, I managed to get a photo without the brown bits! I think I’ll do that with annuals around bulbs, but I’ll need to make sure the slugs don’t gobble them all up like they did last year!

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  4. It seems we are all envious of you mulch supplier! I just admired N20’s armandii and now I am admiring yours, it is beautiful with or without crispy bits. Your acer is further on than ours, I am also thinking of planting one of ours out, but which one? And where? We will see. Please send some of your sunshine to us! Enjoy your week and good luck with the garden courses.

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  5. The flowering quince looks lovely trained against the wall. I have daffs coming up all over the rose garden, since they were there already. The geraniums , astrantia major and alchemilla mollis seem quite happy growing up through them.

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  6. The flowering quince is a beauty. There’s one that grows over a fence on the way into town that I always admire at this time of year. The crocus look lovely. I may have to try growing crocus in pots as they never seem to look all that impressive dotted about in my borders. My RHS lecturer mentioned you could eat Cardamine hirsuta when we were studying weeds. I pulled up a few today and forgot all about them being edible. I’ll have to look for some more tomorrow and read your post.

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  7. Your garden really is romantic! ❤ Love the flowering quince. The garden mulch looks so much better written in French!

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  8. Love seeing all your updates! I’m off now to read your blog about cardamine hirsuta which THRIVES in my garden. We actually grow such similar planty friends, from the c. armandii to the quince, but yours are way ahead. Enjoy!

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  9. I use my own leaves in autumn to mulch and I find that it does keep down the weeds although I think it spreads some like the Lords and Ladies. I think perhaps the resinous mulch will have a stronger anti-weed effect. Amelia

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  10. What beautiful spring colours and a perfect blue sky. I think Mr Propagator has sorted most of my problems with WordPress, although I haven’t managed to view Fred’s post yet. 🙄🤔 I have a “thing” about compost and manure but haven’t done much this winter. What a wonderful source of free mulch you have.

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  11. Spring is coming quickly to your garden. I loved your post on hairy bittercress btw and your salads look very tasty. I’ve been eating mine in egg mayo sandwiches, which worked quite well. 😉 I am jealous of your mulch supply. What a great resource! I’ve been trying to decide if my oldest compost is ready or not. I am probably going to use it whatever as it is desperately needed for the driveway long border. Hope your acer does well in it’s new location.

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  12. Your quince is so pretty trained against the wall. I wonder if there is something more elegant to do with mine? I look forward to hearing what you find to interplant with your daffodils. The crocus do indeed look more like a statement grouped together. So pretty! When I read that you have a chipper, my mental to-do list just pinged with an addition. We tried one once and it just didn’t work well. I don’t know if we have the same types of equipment available here as there, but would you be willing to share what brand you have and how you like it?

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