It is nearing the end of March and though the weather is still quite wet, it is time to put some of the plans that I have made for the garden into action. The frost is gone and the temperature is now around 18 degrees. The soil temperature was 11 degrees Celsius today. However, the soil is still very wet. I’ve been working at the back of the garden taking roots out of the soil, roots from ivy, black currant, and nettles from a patch where I want to grow our potatoes this season. It’s hard but rewarding work and I just love working with the soil, feeling it and finding little creatures in it, even the colours of different soil is interesting. The plot that I’m currently working in has always been used to dispose of organic matter, and it has benefited this soil very much, its colour is more brown than the surrounding black. Originally our soil was mostly clay but over the years I’ve been changing it to loam by using lots of composted garden and kitchen refuse. So anyway, my plans for this year include introducing some of my favourite perennials and annuals, some of these I will be sowing and some I am buying. We do have two excellent garden centres here in the town, I can get anything I want. Talking about anything I want… one of my dearest wishes for many years is to get a small green house, think of what I could grow off season…
During the winter I covered the patch that I planned to use for the potatoes with canvas, it did make a difference when I uncovered it yesterday, a lot of the grass had wilted. Two robins where looking for grubs in the newly disturbed soil, they are so lovely and not a bit afraid of us humans.
Some of the vegetables that are currently growing still and ready for eating.
And some of the flowers that are heralding spring, they seem to brave the wind and rain so easily!
And these above are some of my more wild plants which I treasure too, some for cooking, and some for the enjoyment of the flowers when they show later in the summer. They all grow so easy and start to grow very early in the year, such a joy, so green and healthy looking. In fact most of these plants overwinter here as the climate is mild, we did get some frost, even a little snow, but mostly temperatures are a few degrees above zero during the night and in the day they vary between 8 and 10 Celcius.
During the past three years I’ve added several shrubs to my collection, and this year I’m thinking of buying a Mahony shrub, I see them growing in tubs around the town and love them. Their honey scented yellow flowers are beautiful and also flowering early in the year. The leaves turn a lovely colour in autumn. Inside I’m starting a Ribes plant from a cutting, and I’ve got a Skimmia sapling still sitting on the kitchen window-sill ready to plant out soon, it is a male plant so I will be looking for a female to join it, it is the female plant that develops the deep red berries. I have sweet pea seedlings on my bedroom window-sill, a bit too soon those plant out. It’s time to sow a selection of summer flowering annuals inside, but the marigolds I’ll be sowing outside during the next week, they thrive very well in our garden. I’m also setting a myriad of gladiola bulbs.
I am not your regular gardener, though I love the physical work that gardening involves, mostly I like to experiment and I like to see what comes growing into my garden without me planting it, I like the element of surprise and discovery. I like taking note of what my soil needs and so testing the soil, taking its temperature, making note of how much light a certain plot receives, how acid the soil is, and much more. I also like to propagate plants, grow from cuttings etc… It’s something I’ve done all my life. And I like to provide fresh vegetables for my family… well, my husband and myself that is, I love cooking with fresh produce that I’ve just plucked from the garden whether it’s wild or cultivated, a combination is great. Right now the wild plants that are plentiful are three cornered leeks, succulent tops of cleavers, young dandelion leaves and tender nettle leaves. The earth gives abundantly!
Gardening can be such a pleasure.