I walked out of the cottage almost as soon as I arrived, past the church and the old forge, so that I could see the sun set over Dartmoor. The hedgerows are starting to fill out now and I picked violets, pink campion, stitchwort, cow parsley, and bluebell. Just enough flowers to go into my tiny sample bottles and bring the hedgerows into the cottage for the weekend.
Wednesday 29 April 2015
The first flowers of the new Geranium have appeared, inky black-blue and floating elegantly above the lemon green leaves. I love geraniums but always feel that somehow, despite planting new varieties conscientiously every year, there are never enough. This one charmingly highlights the wicked blue Vinca that is creeping through the rambler rose, growing always in places where I will be scratched if I try to remove it.
Tuesday 28 April 2015
Here is a list of things that I have not done which I ought to have done. Plant five 'Queen of Sweden' rose bushes before which dig a trench and prepare soil by adding farmyard manure. Finish digging border in back garden and plant new Clematis montana. Prune Spiraea and plant second Hydrangea 'Annabelle'. I am afraid that I am a lazy gardener and I particularly dislike digging. The apple blossom is good though.
Monday 27 April 2015
The tree peonies are in full, flamboyant bloom. To be strictly accurate there are three deep pink blooms and one apple blossom pink bloom but they are each so huge, so frou-frou that the colour dominates the garden. It feels like a guilty extravagance. I am sure that proper gardeners do not approve of tree peonies.
Saturday 25 April 2015
Little dog violets have appeared in profusion under the Spiraea where I cleared the soil last year - they are so pretty and I hope that there will be even more next year if I remember not to weed them in the summer. There are bluebells too and tiny Herb Robert, all reminders that once, long ago, this garden was woodland.
Friday 24 April 2015
A loud knocking and I find Little Boy Next Door on the doorstep writhing with excitement. He is in charge of the school guinea pigs, Fudge and Smudge, for the weekend. I admire the aforementioned guinea pigs. We discuss their likes and dislikes. I propose that I contribute some of the dandelions in our garden. The Little Boy graciously accepts this offer. I feel a mixture of delight that the dandelions are going to an appreciative home and sadness as each shining head is chopped off to go in Fudge and Smudge's bucket.
Thursday 23 April 2015
The birdsong in the morning is louder than I can ever remember. I lie in bed and listen to the layers of sound and it feels as if we are in the heart of a wood. Yesterday I heard a terrific snorting sound outside the kitchen door and when I turned on the patio light there were two hedgehogs circling each other. It was impossible to say if they were fighting or courting and as soon as they heard me they froze into prickly statues in the vain hope that they would become invisible.
Wednesday 22 April 2015
I did the most impulsive thing today...I planted seeds! The earth looked warm and damp so I rushed indoors and grabbed the packets of seeds that I bought last summer. Before I could change my mind I had sown Ammus majus, Scabiosa 'Crown', Gypsophila, Candytuft 'Crown', Larkspur 'Imperials', and Nigella 'Dark Blue'. I feel rather doubtful about the success of this project because it seems improbable that I will get flowers from those tiny little seeds which I have thrown onto the soil but I will try to forget that they are there so that anything that grows is a bonus.
Tuesday 21 April 2015
It felt like the start of summer today but Jim the Nurseryman warned me that there could still be a frost. I left the nursery with tiny fuschia plants, bright pink ivy leaf geranium and two small pots of mauve Brachysombe. I have planned a calm, cool colour scheme for the patio so I went disastrously off plan with the geranium.
Monday 20 April 2015
The cherry tree is in full bloom under the cloudless blue sky and I can hear the bees ecstatically foraging when I stand underneath. Drifts of petals fall with every slight breeze so that the lawn is covered with a thin veil of white. The apple tree is just starting to flower and the crab apple will not be far behind. Today I will take the spring bulbs out of their pots and start planting for summer.
I restarted gardening last year after a long break and this is my record of the changing seasons, of plans, of success and failure. I am not an expert gardener or even an industrious one but I enjoy writing about the process and taking photographs. The garden itself is long and thin, stretching behind our Victorian red brick house. I do not grow vegetables and I am not ambitious in my landscaping but it pleases me, this little space of lawn and flower beds. There will be occasional diversions outside the gate but I will always come back here to sit in the sun at the garden table. Welcome!