Gardening with Nature on the Edge of the Atlantic

In Spite of the Weather!

This feels like a strange spring and while I have not kept detailed records, it seems as if everything has come into blossom at the same time this year. Blackthorn, Prunus, Crab apples, Clematis and even the Salmonberry shrub are all covered in flowers and dare I say it parts of the garden look a little hysterical. The pink crab apple blossoms are usually the last to come out but are well worth the wait.

This photograph was taken on one of the few sunny days since Christmas. The lovely structure was built by a local craftsman and artist and hides my rather ugly oil tank. At this time of the year the blackthorn bushes make a nice backdrop.

It took a long time to take this photograph of the Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-Mai’ as the winds have not died down for weeks. Despite this the blossoms remained on the trees making this a resilient as well as a beautiful and elegant prunus.

I have started to plant clusters of tulips in pots around the walls in the garden and have been delighted by those organic bulbs available from Crooked Boot Farm. I am converted to the idea of massed planting of one colour as I think that it shows the flowers to perfection.

A small miracle. The recent storm was from the North West and although it swirled around the garden these tulips survived. I think that they must have been in a little nook that did not catch the wind.

This is my favourite Magnolia (grandiflora) of all time. It is relatively delicate and I took a great risk in planting it here even though it has some shelter. Last year it lost its protection from the north and northwest winds when a camellia was blown down in the storm. This year I took the precaution of wrapping it with bubble wrap something I usually don’t do and it seems to have survived the winter, and the winds, intact.

Details of Magnolia grandiflora as it loses its petals.

As usual the bluebells appeared almost overnight and are often joined by violets and greater stitchwort on the bank behind the house. This is an area that I leave alone and the wildflowers will flourish until well into the autumn. Mind you I might leave the area untouched but as usual the dogs are having a digging frenzy as poor small creatures try to make their homes under the large rock formations. I do wish I could channel their digging skills to help me in the garden rather than create new hidden holes for me to fall into.

The vibrant blue of the young bluebells on the bank behind the house.

I have never planted a primrose in the garden but they appear each year and are gradually creating nice groups in the copse. This year they have started to appear on the driveway without any help. This is gardening the easy way and I highly recommend it.

The Cornus Controversa has settled in very nicely with the shelter that I planted some years ago. I often take the risk of buying small plants that will manage behind my low dry-stone walls until the shelter belt has matured. In fact, I rarely buy mature plants as I think that they have less chance of establishing themselves in the tough climate. Pieris Forest flame also does well here and I think that they complement each other perfectly .

Another view of my planting in the small copse behind the house.

My first bowl of nettle soup for the season. This was a novelty in my childhood but is now a Spring ritual. I nurse the plants in a number of areas in the garden and the young leaves are perfect at present. I use my favourite bowl made by Nigel James to round off the culinary experience.

This may be one of the last visits by this gentleman for the season. I have been reducing the bird food each day and the last feed is to hand. At least five of the six pheasants (two males and three females) have survived the winter and I may have seen all four females together last week. I will miss them, but like to think that I have helped them through a difficult winter and that they will all go on to have families and return to the garden next year.

I really don’t know what to make of this. I bought the Amaryllis Royal Red in December 2021 but it failed to produce any flowers last Christmas. I banished it to a corner of the utility room and forgot about it. Two weeks ago, I noticed some slight growth and moved it to the warmer kitchen. It then proceeded to grow two feet in one week. The flower is impressive but I can’t help feeling that the overall effect is a bit grotesque. Regardless it is heading back to the utility room, until I decide what to do with it next, as the flower has died.

Beauty or beast?

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