I spent a couple of hours on Saturday morning weeding, tweaking, cutting back, digging up, dividing, and generally getting to grips with the plants that looked in need of attention. I love unplanned gardening sessions like this, ones that happen because the sun is shining and for once, nothing else is demanding my attention.
This sort of slightly unfocused pottering is exactly what I need in order to reconnect with the garden when I’ve been feeling a little gloomy about it. As I work, I invariably spot things I’ve forgotten about, such as the little clump of violets above. Someone tied several bags of them to their railings last spring, with a note saying “take me”, so I took some and stuffed them in the corner of a bed without really thinking – I don’t even think I knew what colour they would be.
And I also find myself delighted by the sight of new shoots on plants I feel sure I’ve butchered or neglected – Clematis ‘Madame Julia Correvon‘, pruned to within an inch of her life, or so it seemed, just a month ago, is already on her way up the back fence. And C. Texensis Buckland Beauty, is showing signs of life too. Above is how it looked in July last year, climbing up through the Macleaya. I moved it at the weekend, so this year it will ramble through R. Veilchenblau instead.
Working in this way seems to free the mind and, more often than not, I find that by the end of the morning I have had at least one eureka moment regarding some aspect of the garden. And so it was on Saturday. Halfway through what was meant to be just a two hour session, a rather hazy idea that I’d been kicking about for some time now, came sharply into focus: wouldn’t it look wonderful, I thought, if I planted a row of Amelanchiers in front of the top level of the terracing.
Two hours later I was at Brackenwood Plant Centre wrestling four seven foot trees into the back of the car, along with a tray of fabulous Hellebores which had called out to me as queued to pay. You know how it is with garden centres. I dithered for a moment, winced at the price tag and then I had another eureka moment (aka clever bit of justification for overspend): if I planted them in and around my tulips, the razor-edged leaves of these big, well-established plants, would keep Sybil at bay.
It’s hard to take an interesting or informative photograph of a tree that is still pretty much only one step on from being a twig. But there are lots of buds, so photos of blossomy loveliness will follow soon. Hellebore photos even sooner.