The best of the weather seems to have saved itself for the start of the working week, somewhat typically, but nonetheless the weekend granted us some welcome opportunities for gardening.Narcissus and crocus

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.

Monarda 'Cambridge Scarlet' surrounded by shades of pink

Digging: clump of Monarda 'Cambridge Scarlet'

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?

Paeonia mlokosewitschii & lactiflora shootsShoots of Paeonia mlokosewitschii; Paeonia lactiflora

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.

Buds on Erysimum cheiri 'Blood Red'

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.

Gold dust of pollen in Crocus Negro Boy flower

Crocus 'Negro Boy'

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.

Self-sown pink primrose

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.

First Tulipa sylvestris bud

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’!


14 thoughts on “Brink

  1. What a satisfying stint in the garden – great to be able to get on with all those jobs and notice all that’s new as you do so. I envy you having monarda clumps big enough to divide, but at least mine seemed to settle in well last year so will soon become established. I too am noticing buds on some of my species tulips and am eagerly awaiting the first show of colour.

    • Very satisfying. Now I just need to catch up on my seed-sowing! The monarda was only planted the autumn before last – this particular one has romped away to form a huge plant. I wouldn’t have split it yet, except that it naturally divided as I dug it up to move it. It’s very exciting to watch the tulips coming up.

  2. Your weather was probably better than yours. We had such strong wind that trees were bent almost double and it was almost impossible to stand up outside. I’m envious of the Monarda too, I sowed seed but it has alomst all damped off, one of the very few seeds to do so. Roll on proper spring when we can all GARDEN!

    • Our wind was mercifully light this weekend – a pleasant change! I have a stack of seeds waiting to be sown, so need to catch up with those in the next few weeks. Hope that some of your Monarda seedlings escape damping off. I’m eagerly anticipating real proper spring indeed!

  3. We keep coming back from the brink of spring, which is not a good thing. I find that Monardas are one of those plants that always take being moved in stride.

  4. it is good to get out and feel you have achived something in the garden, like you it was too wet to do much last autumn and through winter, March has been changable! like you I am feeling better for having got at least some of the numerous jobs done and need to sow seed which is a new enterprize for me, spring exquinox Thursday, Frances

    • Hurrah for the approaching equinox. Changeable is certainly one word for March! It does feel good to have made a start in the garden as it begins to surge back into life.

  5. Oh you got more done than me. Are you sure you arent planting your peonies too deeply, that often stops them flowering?

    • I hope not! I planted the red peony at the depth it was in its pot, so it shouldn’t be too deep. It was a very small plant and has only been in the ground 18 months or so, and I believe they take a year or two to start flowering. If it doesn’t flower this year then I’ll try lifting it a bit higher in the autumn just in case!
      The molly-the-witch is a tiny plant, and they are notorious for taking a few years before they begin flowering so I shall not be impatient with that one, though.

  6. You have been busy – making me feel quite guilty / idle…

    Hooray – welcome to the world of the pink primrose! You’ll be getting salmon-coloured ones next…

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