The spring shrubs are preparing to show their finery in spite of the rain, wind and snow. The Camellia and its bigger siblings, the Rhododendrons are in bud just waiting to burst open in a few weeks. The Azalea is a little bit reluctant but there is still time for it to pull itself together and show what it’s made of.
I’m a fair-weather gardener and the weather hasn’t been settled enough for me to do much sowing. I started to cover the small patch of moss and grass I have the nerve to refer to as a lawn, with bark. This should save me mowing the grass and give me somewhere to put pots of flowers. Thus changing my plans not to grow flowers unless I can eat them.
My container growing at the rear of the building will be reserved for producing food although I do like it to look pretty while is is growing. My sweet peas are being replaced by more peas and beans. I was especially impressed with purple-podded peas with their purple flowers last year, and admired them probably just as much as rose growers would be in a euphoric state admiring their prize blooms.
The huge yellow blooms of the courgette family will be welcome and this year I am growing Tondo di Nizza again amongst a few other names new to me. Tromba di Albenga certainly adds interest and my daughter, who took some of my seedlings last year, grew one fruit to about three feet long, no wonder it has to climb. There is a lot of eating and almost no waste with a tromba.
Oca has sprouted and will soon be ready to get transplanted to a pot outdoors. It’s a very pretty plant although the flowers are a bit insignificant, the clover-like leaves give it a nice shrubby look, and can fit in anywhere in the garden with a bonus of a harvest at the end of it.
Some of the warmer climate plants I tried last year didn’t make it through autumn never mind winter in spite of it being fairly mild. Fuchsia was still blooming at the beginning of December. I will try to replant it to see if it will revive, there was green showing with a bark scraping, so I am ever hopeful. I am also trying geraniums, they were lifted at the beginning of winter, so it will be interesting to see if they also will grow again. I don’t normally overwinter plants, probably because once the greenhouse is closed at the end of the season, I seldom look in again until the weather heats up and by that time they have shrivelled to something unrecognisable.
Some of the January cold sown seeds have sprouted and seem to have resigned themselves to continue to grow in the five-litre water bottles, so I reckon if they have survived sub-zero temperatures, they must think above freezing is tropical!
I transferred some of the tomato seedlings into the greenhouse and in spite of the sleet, the frog chorus was in full voice. I am delighted to see them back and it amazes me that so many can squeeze into a very small pond. Even the frog spawn is built upwards.