When I decided to embark on this project to post 20 photos of our garden each month during 2020, I’d thought it would be a nice way to practice my photography and appreciate the little details over the course of the seasons. Now that we are at the end of March and, like many countries, the UK is in lockdown following the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, it seems to have taken on a whole new meaning. It’s likely that this little green space at the back of our house is going play a very large part in our lives for the next few weeks, or even months, and I’ve honestly never been so grateful to have a garden or be a gardener.
Our Tiny Garden
During March the garden has really started to burst into life. Most plants have started to develop new growth and as a result everything looks lusher and greener and fuller. In amongst the green, more colour has also appeared from bulbs and foliage.
It’s been a plan for a while that we would lift much of the paving in the garden to make space for a small lawn. In truth I’ve never been much of a lawn lover, but with the arrival of our little boy hard-standing is just a little too unforgiving. I’d planned to do this in the Autumn but as with many things in life didn’t quite get round to it. Then I’d thought we could get some turf down late Winter with a view to it getting established in early Spring, but the horrendous weather of February put paid to that.
So, fairly early in March I’d lifted the paving with a view to ordering and laying turf when we next got the chance – probably after we’d been away on holiday. In the event, the holiday hasn’t happened and it’s felt like a race against time to acquire the turf before the entire country ground to a halt. The introduction of the ‘social distancing’ policy between placing an order and the planned collection date scuppered the first attempt with a local supplier. In the end Online Turf came through with a hastily arranged next day delivery. It arrived before 9am and we had it down by 11am, much relieved that we would not be living with a mud/dust bowl for the foreseeable.
Spring has Sprung
I’ve been really pleased with this East facing bed (above). I replanted it last year including lots of plants that are tolerant of shade and deliver interest in the earlier part of the year. It’s the area most easily viewable from the kitchen window and so works well in late Winter and early Spring when we are mostly enjoying the garden from indoors. It’s a bit of a jumble of all sorts but I like it like that.
During March the purple Periwinkle have started to flower contrasting with with the acid green of Euphorbia amygdaloides var. Robbiae. An unexpected Fritillaria meleagris has also appeared with its nodding snake heads emerging discreetly amongst the other foliage.
A number of plants that have flowered during March have brought with them some amazing fragrance. The clusters of star-shaped flowers on the Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ are always a winner, filling the garden with the sweetest smell, especially in the evening. Happily the daffodil Narcissus ‘Falconet’ planted in the Autumn have also brought not only multi-headed blooms but the most also wonderful aroma.
We don’t really have a front garden to speak of, just and area under the front window which is largely filled with Osmanthus x burkwoodii shaped into a hedge which is covered in small white flowers giving another hit of scent as you leave the house.
I’ve had this Pieris stuck in a pot for many years and it has followed me from one house to another – I think it’s Pieris florabunda ‘Forest Flame’ but it’s been around so long I honestly don’t know for sure. It’s been treated pretty badly at times and yet it still delivers this stunning splash of new red foliage and drips with clusters of bell-shaped flowers. It’s a great plant for any garden.
Bulbs keep coming
Making an effort to plant various bulbs in the Autumn is certainly well worth it’s while because from late Winter through to late Spring you can have a succession of flowers brightening up your space. I’ve really enjoyed the Muscari armeniacum ‘Alida’ which have formed striking clumps iof cobalt blue in the border. Early appearing pollinators like the amazing Bee Fly Bombylius major have also been feasting on their nectar. The rather more delicate Russian Snowdrop Puschkinia libanotica have also been a delight. Meanwhile Tulipa triumph ‘Purple Flag’ which have been enjoying a sheltered spot in a pot by the back door have flowered early after a mild Winter.
I have a wooden trug planted up with alpines and the reddish Sempervivum provides interest whatever the time of year. A clump of fresh new foliage has also emerged from the dry stems of last year’s Hylotelephium spectabile (the artist formerly know as Sedum).
We routinely keep our bird feeders well stocked all year round and enjoy the company of a fairly wide range of small garden birds as a result. This is slightly undermined by the presence of grey squirrels which, though quite cute, do like to gorge themselves on the sunflower seeds and suet balls that are intended for Blue Tits and the like.
The promise of things to come
There’s lot of seedlings on the go in our little growhouse as well as windowsills in the house, planning ahead for summer flowers and produce for the allotment. Towards the end of the month the Wallflowers planted in the Autumn have developed buds ready to burst into flower as the days grow warmer.
You can read about what was happening in the garden in February here.
To see what came next in April, click here.
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