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Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Liz's Log - Fair Weather Gardener

Get Set - Not Go!

View from the bottom of our garden (one of two Hawthorn trees in the foreground mark the boundary)

I am going to be brutally honest here... I'm a fair-weather gardener, and I'm fed up.  England in the midlands can be miserable this time of year.  I've got itchy green fingers and thumbs, just waiting to weed, prune plant and sow, but I cannot get out in the garden because of where I live and my health.  Gardening just on the outskirts of Derbyshire has it's rollercoaster of advantages and disadvantages.  We have fields at the bottom of our garden as far as the eye can see, which is undoubtedly picturesque, and a clear advantage in winter, as deciduous trees reveal the landscape in all it's glory.  We do however, feel the full wrath of mother nature as she takes advantage of her clear run.  When north winds are blowing, and rain is falling, even the dogs don't want to stay in the garden too long.  That together with the fact I have asthma, is a sure recipe for disaster.  I dared to venture in my garden for an hour five weeks ago, and ended up in bed with a chest infection for three weeks.  It's the way I am, and I have to accept my limitations, but it's not going to stop me gardening when I can.

I may not be able to garden in the rain and the snow like other people, but what I lack in health, I make up for in enthusiasm.  Like a clucky mother hen, I get ready for my brood.   Trays and pots are washed.  Seed, compost and plants are purchased.   Plans are drawn up, seed is sown until at last new hope appears from a bleak and solemn winter. 

As the days get longer, sunlight beckons us with it's brief but warming rays.  In December, we were plunged into darkness at 15.30pm, seeing little life among the herbaceous borders, as they laid dormant waiting for the bad weather to abate.  Now though in March, with three hours more daylight, it is altogether a different story.  It would seem something new appears every few hours as plants respond to the lengthening days.  Just this week, Drumstick Primulas, Cowslips, Bleeding Heart, Peonies,  Pulmonarias, and Aquilegias have all made good growth, in direct response to more daylight and hence warmer soil.  Now is a tentative time though, as tender young growth buds can get a false sense of security as they push through their winter blankets of soil.  Sharp frost, snow and ice can still loom over their heads many times before the end of May in England, so let's not throw caution to the wind just yet!  

Time to put the kettle on for another cuppa I think.  There is a bookshelf of gardening books and magazines to stop me craving for the earth between my fingers; I'll just have to be patient.