Saturday was forecast to be dry, sunny and wind free so I’d planned a day in the garden doing some work. It may still be winter, but there’s plenty to do in the garden and fitting in a day at this time of year will hopefully pay off. You have to be careful though as we are still likely to get another cold snap and possibly even some more snow.
The sun did come out but it was fairly cold and it never really turned into the day that was promised. I even got caught in a few showers, but I did manage to get quite a bit done.
I cut back lots of the old dead growth from last year. Not all of it, as it provides protection from the frosts for the new, tender shoots and also provides some shelter for the birds, moths etc. Ive cut lots of it back though and it was reassuring to see lots of fresh green shoots on many of the plants.
The spring bulbs are coming along nicely as should be expected. Snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils and bluebells are all on their way. There aren’t any flowers yet but it won’t be long. It was good to see plenty of fresh green shoots on the irises and crocosmia, and the marsh marigolds are on their way too. These are usually one of the first things to flower so it probably won’t be long before we have a splash of colour.
I was surprised to see quite a bit of life on some of the woody shrubs too. The honeysuckle on the pergola has quite a bit of new growth on it, as do the hydrangeas, buddleia and spirea. Even the sweet peas have some fairly long, healthy looking shoots. I tidied these all up a little and now just hope we don’t get any really cold weather that will set them back.
I cut down the willow and poplar along the fence line to shoulder height to keep it in check for another year. I left the willows behind the compost bins though as I like to leave some shelter for the birds and they tend to perch here before heading to the feeders and the water feature.
Talking of compost bins and the water feature, I cleaned out the filter in the water feature and got it all going again. The bowl at the base took quite a battering in the cold weather around Christmas, but it still just about holds water. I dug out some compost from the compost bins, forked it all through and then filled them back up with everything I took out of the garden.
I weeded and lightly forked over the soil in the main beds and put a thin mulch of compost on them which will enrich the soil ready for the spring growth.
Some things haven’t fared so well. As I mentioned previously, the cordylines have really suffered. Not just ours, but all of them in Ynyslas, and elsewhere. Some of them are almost definitely dead. Others might sprout from the bases, but I’m not that hopeful. It’s a real shame as they were all dong so well. The one in our back garden had branched for the first time and was becoming a lovely specimen tree. Elsewhere in Ynyslas, even the tallest, oldest cordylines that were pretty impressive have succumbed to the cold weather. Even if they do survive and re-sprout I think it’ll be a few years before they return to their former glory.
I’m not sure how well our Phormium has survived either. It should be evergreen (even though its red), but it doesn’t look too lively at the moment. I’m hoping it will recover though. Only time will tell how well other things have survived as it will be a month or so before they start showing signs of life (or a lack of life).
It was a very cold winter so we probably should expect some casualties, but some things are looking fairly promising for many things at the moment.
It was good to get out into the garden for a day and see the first signs of Spring. It also feels as though I’ve now got a bit of a headstart on the weeds and have got a few of the larger tidying up chores done ready for spring. The garden looked good last summer, so hopefully with a little bit of work it will be even better this year.