The joys of spring

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Glorious May sunshine, a soft breeze, all shades of green, Queen Anne’s lace in bloom, birds singing their hearts out… This is the Kent countryside at its most promising, heart-swelling, springtime best.

 

It’s been a productive few days in the garden. The same can’t be said for indoors, though – there’s a huge pile of laundry, the food stocks are low (voracious children eating EVERYTHING), paperwork to deal with. But the sun is shining and at this time of year it seems daft to spend time inside when there is so much to do in the garden.

We went along to the local National Trust plant fair last weekend armed with a basket and big box to see what treasures there were. There were plenty and we brought a few home with us: Osteospermum, Polygonatum (Solomon’s seal), Acanthus spinosa, penstemons, Alchemilla mollis (Lady’s mantle), Geum ‘Marmalade’, Nicotiana and some marigolds.

Our plant fair haul.
Our plant fair haul.

There is a particularly tricky area (doesn’t every garden have at least one?!) that is mostly shaded alongside a mixed hedge, and very dry. It’s also overrun with ivy and covered in a thick layer of discarded holm oak leaves from our neighbour’s (very large) trees. The plan is to clear it and plant shade-loving, or at least shade-tolerant, plants that don’t mind it being dry. We’re going to try the lovely grass Luzula nivea (Snowy wood rush), Acanthus mollis, Bergenias (that we’ve propagated) and the Polygonatum and A. spinosa from the plant fair. While some of these plants do prefer sun, they are tough and tolerant, so we hope they’ll bear up.

From left – Bergenias, Luzula nivea, Acanthus spinosa and Solomon's seal.
From left – Bergenias, Luzula nivea, Acanthus spinosa and Solomon’s seal (the tall plant behind just in view).
Polygonatum (Solomon's seal) – nodding stems bearing scented white flowers.
Polygonatum (Solomon’s seal) – a graceful plant with arching stems bearing white flowers in spring.

I’ve also planted some companions for the French beans. The beans, by the way, have been sulking rather. I think I must have been over-keen and planted them too soon. They were looking rather sickly until a few days ago when the warm weather perked them up and they started greening and growing again. Anyway, I’ve put some marigolds and Verbena bonariensis in the same bed and planted sweet peas to climb up the spare pole. I’ll also plant some of the Tithonia here – these are almost ready to come outside. All these flowers are great for bees and other pollinating insects.

Marigolds to keep the beans company. More flowers coming soon.
Marigolds to keep the beans company. More flowers coming soon.

 

In other news… My eldest returned from his DofE expedition with several whopping blisters, a sunburnt nose, a raging hunger and a rucksack full of smelly kit. It’s good to have him home (and it’s probably why we’ve gone through a couple of loaves, several packets of biscuits and a bunch of bananas in two days). Tomorrow the weather forecast is for rain, so I’ll pop to the supermarket then.

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4 thoughts on “The joys of spring

  1. You came home with some amazing plants friend! I really enjoy Solomon’s Seal in the garden as well! And your veggies look fantastic! My beans eat all of the time….I so get that! Keeping up with feeding kids is a job in itself!!! Sounds like he had a successful and busy trip!!! Have a great Thursday! Nicole xo

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  2. Oh dear, oh dear – it sounds as though you are Knowledgeable about Gardening so you will quickly realise that I am making most of my posts up as I go along. On the plus side I have lots of experience of laundry after DofE expeditions in my past. It is a rite of passage for every mother.

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