While Saturday began most promisingly in a blaze of early sunshine, I was quickly driven back indoors by showers of rain; Sunday, however, remained dry, with sunny spells sometimes breaking the clouds, and I made the most of the chance to get out and catch up on some tasks that I have been intending to tackle for weeks. I began by potting up our dahlias in the greenhouse, and pricking out part of a tray of Bergenia ‘Winterglut’ seedlings that overwintered here.
The larger of two clumps of Monarda ‘Cambridge Scarlet’ in the long border found itself amid a blaze of pinks last year, and I earmarked it to be moved to a less strident position. With autumn turning out to be too wet for trampling in the borders, this was my first opportunity. I dug up the clump, splitting it into several robust pieces in the process.
In the gap left behind, I planted out my young Paeonia mlokosewitschii, which should hopefully produce gentle primrose-coloured flowers in the years to come. I am fascinated already by the red finger of new growth which beckons me to take a closer look. Across the garden, plump red shoots of a Paeonia lactiflora are emerging with similar flair; a year or two since planting and I am still awaiting its first flowers, which should be vibrant red. Perhaps this will be its year?
Two smaller monardas also succumbed to my spade, as I brought them forward to more prominent positions, and then I turned my attention to our clump of Leucanthemum which seems to need regular division to maintain modest proportions and even flowering across the clump. Having hefted this out in three large, heavy pieces, I replanted one of the vigourous outermost sections, slipping a piece of the scarlet monarda into the ground beside this daisy.
I moved a huddle of self-sown forget-me-not seedlings, which were rather clumsily congregating at the brink of the lawn, to the top border; tucking them in among the emerging tulips to later envelop these in their gentle haze of soft blue. There are more forget-me-not seedlings alongside the tulip spears pushing up in the front garden, where wallflowers are already forming tight buds.
The trio of hellebores that I received at Christmas (Helleborus x hybridus Blue Metallic Lady and Red Metallic Lady from the Lady series, and a sterile White spotted hybrid) also found homes in the field border beneath the old birch tree, while I planted out another gift from my Mum – Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’ – in the top border.
There were little surprises to be found all around the garden; bees drifting in and out of the pulmonaria flowers and pollen-flecked crocuses (sadly only captured sans bee – they had moved on by the time I had a camera to hand), the first flower on a Polyanthus ‘Gold Lace’ and our first self-sown pink primrose, a welcome Primula vulgaris mutation. After admiring Kate’s colourful mix of meadow primroses this year – heck, last year too – this peep of pink particularly thrilled me.
Along the front fence, a small pointed bud peeking up between two strapping leaves suggests that it won’t be long before our chorus line of Tulipa sylvestris is up and dancing. The garden feels as though it is tumbling into growth.
The last hours of Sunday’s light were given to moving and stacking barrows of firewood around the garden: invigorating work to finish on. Once showered and fed, I settled back with satisfaction to catch up on this weekend’s episode of Gardeners’ World, to find Monty Don dividing and moving plants and potting up his dahlias. The timing put a little smile on my face – I appear to be bang on ‘schedule’!