The first day of this new year, we finally found an opportunity to spend time in the garden.
While King of the Hill was tidying the patio, I spent time weeding the borders, and sowing a few more seeds that require stratification. The air already seemed brighter, although barely a fortnight since the solstice. It felt strange weeding again in the depths of winter but satisfying, while sowing fresh seed on the first day of a new year seemed most fitting.
Making such close contact with the soil and plants after a few weeks’ absence was very pleasurable, and I discovered that the Geranium macrorrhizum plants dotted around the field border, besides still not wearing their autumn colours, were in flower. These came from my mum and dad’s garden, a clutch of pieces pulled from their borders that were amenable to being transported without soil or pot, and happily settled into their new positions where I pushed them into our borders. Their scrambling nature makes them good groundcover, and they are easily pulled out when they creep to somewhere they are not required.
This Omphalodes cappadocica ‘Cherry Ingram’ that I picked up from an NGS sale in the summer has also produced its first tiny blue flower. After languishing in a pot for a few months until the borders were ready, I am pleased that it seems to have settled in; it should provide a good burst of brilliant blue as it spreads and self-seeds, with similar gusto to its cousins, the forget-me-nots.
The Echinops ruthenicus on the kitchen windowsill continues to push up serrated leaves; sadly its sibling in the greenhouse was covered with grey mould on my last visit, so my experimentation on overwintering such small seedlings seems to suggest that the winter ventilation in the greenhouse was not enough for such a tender young plant. The verbascum seedlings nearby seem unaffected, however, despite their diminutive size.
Several times we returned to the house to wait out fine showers of drizzle, before returning to our tasks, until finally a heavier rain settled in mid-afternoon and our first day in the garden was brought to an end. Since the weekend, the winds have been furious, tearing the felt from our shed roof and sending garden furniture tumbling. Showers of rain and hail are interspersed with spells of sunshine, and the wet ground squelches underfoot, as we try to limit damaging excursions across such wet terrain.
I hope that the winds abate soon, so that we can escape into the garden once more this weekend, and repair our ailing shed roof before too many leaks appear.