January-March, 2022: garden diary

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need” – Cicero.

Well, what can I tell you? We moved into our new garden (house attached, always useful!) towards the end of January. This is one of the smallest gardens we’ve had, but in some ways no less exciting than the biggest. Completely lawned over, except for the greenhouse, patio and sheds, on day 1 it was a blank canvas …

It’s strangely reassuring to have some continuity with the garden we’ve left behind: a pair of large trees, one either side of the end of the garden – a sycamore and an oak – and a farmer’s field to look out on, complete with tractor from time to time, just as before.

There’s work to be done to establish some borders. So I’ve been slicing away with my spade, making narrow cuts through the grass, across the width of the intended border; then chopping across every foot or so and finally lifting the turves, shaking and bashing out all the soil to produce what turned out to be a quite decent quality border, teeming with earthworms – always a good sign.

In the interests of speed, I ordered some small plug plants by mail order, just as I did last year, as my readers may recall. They were quite successful in terms of delivering a varied and colourful display in rapid order, at a time when our concentration was mostly diverted to preparing the property for sale. Now that we’ve moved, our focus is again distracted, this time by everything involved in settling in.

We may lose a few, but hopefully, warmed by the early Spring sun magnified by the greenhouse, they’ll quickly grow on and we can have some good colour from early summer through to mid-autumn. There’s a mix of annuals and perennials. More news later about these, as well as any successes we have from seeds Lynn harvested from our previous garden (yet to be sown).

Being particularly fond of stews, we did have the foresight to take cuttings from that large bay tree. They seem to be doing well …

I’m not sure whether we should have risked cutting sections of our rhubarb plants. They were magnificent specimens, but we’ve bought two new ones by mail order. The variety is Victoria. We’ve placed them in what is currently a quite shady spot. I’m banking on the summer sun being high in the sky and providing enough direct sunlight to ensure an ongoing supply for Lynn’s excellent rhubarb crumble …

Old seed collections are always a source of curiosity. I discovered that we have five different varieties of tomato. So I’ve sown some of all of them. Some are a few years past their ‘use by’ date, but I can already report that some of all five varieties have germinated.

I’m looking forward to an interesting summer ahead!

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