My allotment ground is still far too wet to dig, but as I said in my new year’s resolutions, I will not panic about it! I do miss walking down with my spade and digging for a few hours on a sunny day. I find the process very therapeutic; being able to dig and having time to think through any problems, set aims and generally ponder on life!
For now, it is back to the garden and everything is shooting away due to the mild weather. Herbaceous perennials are already beginning to cover bare earth with vibrant spring growth and I have cleared the old leaves from many of the borders and put on a thick layer of mulch from the compost heaps, which are going down rapidly! Much of the rotted compost that was bagged up last autumn for the allotment has also been used on the borders, so I will need to visit one of my horsey friends to swop a bottle of wine for some more manure soon!
Any activity in the garden brings the Robin within a few inches of me, searching any exposed ground for insects and worms. Once I have spread mulch over the soil, many more join in looking for food. The Blackbirds and Thrushes flick mulch everywhere with their beaks but are already repaying us for their bounty with a wakeup call at first light outside the bedroom window! Great Tits also are beginning their chiming spring song on warmer days and will soon be pairing up and looking for nest sites.
This week, I am going to prune some of the long growths from my Honeysuckle plants and tie in others against the trellis and fence panels. The ornamental vine (Vitis coignetiae) that gave us such a good show of orange and scarlet autumn colours on its heart shaped leaves also needs a prune before the sap begins to rise. I like to take this back to a few buds from the knobbly frame work that is covering a wire trellis outside the dining room. If not pruned whilst it is dormant, the plant ‘bleeds’ clear sap which can weaken it, so this is now an urgent job!
During a visit to our local garden centre a few days ago I came across yet another plant that I could not resist buying! The Fuji Cherry (Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’) is a slow growing, shrubby cherry that will not get more than one metre high. I was tempted by the deep crimson flower buds that are smothered on the stems at the moment, waiting to open to soft pink flowers. The plant has a ‘double whammy’ with orange and red autumn colours before the leaves fall and the process begins again. For the time, I will grow it in a large container on the patio near the kitchen, but eventually I will need to find a permanent position for it in a semi shaded border, where it can light up the garden in late winter and early spring.