Cruel April Frost

Sum and Substance hit by spring frost

Come on my pretties said the early April sun, so up they came and on came the buds, leaves and blossom.

Light frost on Tuesday morning – yes we can cope said most of the plants, a few with a bit of scorch – Impatiens tinctoria was the first major casualty. Dahlia White Honka displayed blackened tips on newly emerging foliage.

Wednesday morning

-2C at 6:00AM – but hey said the plants we’re getting by, except the emerging fig foliage got topped and the potatoes started to look depressed. Hydrangeas were showing signs of bruising and H aspera lost top growth.

Thursday morning

-4C at 6:00AM. Got home in the evening – gutted! All Wisteria growth scorched, hostas collapsed, lilies bowed, buddlejas toppled, ferns will have to start over again as will most hydrangeas.

Today still a slight whiff of green coming from frost bruised foliage on the morning air.

Yes I know there are so many far more important things to moan about in this world but I had been encouraging the woodland bed, hoping for some rain and looking forward to that delicious lushness of May – gone.

Kirengeshoma stopped in its tracks. It would have been nice to have seen some flowers on Hydrangea Grayswood this year.

The lilies in the minds eye were blaring out their perfume in July – not now. Brunswick was offering the first ever figs in this garden come September – no more.

That’s gardening!

Frosted Osmunda regalis

Posted in Diary | Tagged | Leave a comment

Racing into May

The woodbed this morning – Anenome nemorosa Vestal, Hostas and Molly the Witch

We’re positively zipping through spring, the candles on the Horse Chestnut trees are well lit and the Hawthorn blossom is coming out. The first rose is out, David Austin’s Mary Rose. The irises are all putting on pregnant bulges, I florentina is already out along with the dwarf irises Jewellers Art and Gingerbread Man. Continue reading

Posted in Diary | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Another very blustery day in February

Ypsilandra thibetica

Ypsilandra thibetica

I’m already behind on weeding and tidying the beds, last weekend I had had enough of turning earth, and weeding and last minute plant upheavals. All 3 Cornus Midwinter Fire have gone on the move recently having outgrown an allotted space. That space now needs further fettling but the ground is too wet. Continue reading

Posted in Diary | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Going to be busy seed sowing soon

Hardy Plant Society and Baker Creek Seeds

Hardy Plant Society seeds arrived today, I’m most grateful to the people who take the time to gather the seed and those who then facilitate the distribution.

It seems that many plant societies and gardening clubs are experiencing dwindling memberships. Our local village garden club appears to have folded as no-one has stepped forward as chairman, (Hey I’m not a joiner – OK?) which is one of the reasons for the decline I guess, nor are others – and perhaps I should? Continue reading

Posted in Diary | Tagged , | Leave a comment

frost world

Digitalis parviflora seedhead

Today at 10:43AM the temperature is -2C but rising. The sun is beginning to clear corners of fields, green re-emerging from the glaze of white, drips patter down lightly as the frost melts. The Snow Queen is banished where the sun touches.

Currently two squirrels (grey), chaffinch, greenfinch, bullfinch and blackbirds are under the bird feeder, there is incessant to-ing and fro-ing from the feeder filled with sunflower seeds, primarily by Great Tits and some Blue Tits with an occasional intervention from robins. One squirrel is a great burier so I have a feeling there will be sunflowers emerging in random places when the time comes. Continue reading

Posted in Diary | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The shortest day 2016

Cyclamen coum flowering in December

Cyclamen coum album

Typical run-up to Christmas weather, relatively warm, damp, often grey. Our village is living up to its squelchy name, particularly the green and the parish field.

Today shafts of midday sun cut through elder and hawthorn trunks along the by-way. The low light shimmered off gently clattering mature ivy leaves fanned by the light breeze; glanced along the sturdy mid green blades of Hart’s Tongue Ferns and highlighted the broken and yellowed fronds of the now sleeping Male Ferns. To me, some evergreens look stronger and healthier now than in high summer. Continue reading

Posted in Diary | Leave a comment

Molde warp


The earthmover has been working under the carpet of apple tree leaves and fallen apples. Around this apple tree the turf is totally rucked and rumpled by the handprint-like pink paddles of the mole. I presume flooding (the first of the 2016/2017 winter season) in the lower part of the garden earlier in the week has also concentrated activity. Continue reading

Posted in Diary | Leave a comment

Frost stops play

Frost got the dahlias

So typical of English weather, I could feel the frost nipping at my wellies as I tried to extract a sheep with its head stuck in the field fence in the dark on Wednesday night. Then 2 days later rain, everything soggy and miserable.

So that’s farewell to the dahlias for this year, Salvia Guanajuato which had so much going for it on Monday, and some fuchsias. Farewell forever to this year’s heliotropes, Solanum rantonetti and nasturtiums. Colquhounia frazzed, survival will depend on the severity of this winter. Banana nipped and will need digging up, chopping back and overwintering just frost free. Ricinus still standing but I’ve felled it today anyway to let more light in.

Bit sad to hack down the huge water-filled stems of Dahlia imperialis, not looking forward to digging that up, each summer it puts on more nuggets of tubers and the whole lump gets heavier every year.

Like others on Twitter today, I’m glad I anticipated the frost and picked the last of the dahlia flowers on Monday including Rip City, Chee, Karma Choc and Sam Hopkins.

Posted in Diary | Leave a comment

Last day of October

Salvia Guanajuato

Salvia Guanajuato with bee bum

After a foggy start this morning the sun is out, although there is a faint mistiness as I look across the field. It’s 16C mid afternoon. A huge streamer of spider’s web metres long gilded by the sun glides slowly westwards.  The tick and rattle of falling leaves is loud in the stillness, the ash and chestnut are nearly all done with shedding.

On the wing

An intermittent chack of jackdaws watching the chicken run for food and occasional burst of rook banter livens up the soundscape.  In amongst this the insistent calls of Long Tailed Tits and short bursts of Great Tit ratatat. Earlier the plaintive cry of a swirling Buzzard.

I’m waiting for the Fieldfares to turn up and feast on the fallen cooking apples (the fat Bramleys create a bit of aural drama as they clatter through the branches and thump to the ground). Continue reading

Posted in Diary | Leave a comment

It’s all over now


The final night flowerer attempting to open on a cold October evening, this is as far as Ipomea Bona Nox got, sadly it didn’t have the energy to fully open. It may look a lot like your common or garden pestilential convolvulvus at first glance but isn’t. It’s been in the greenhouse since May, slowly building up its buds but it’s too late in the year now. Perhaps we’ll have a better summer next year. Continue reading

Posted in Diary | Tagged , , | Leave a comment