Brighten up your day with Sue Grant’s weekly updates of what’s happening early doors in her garden this spring.
“Rain? What rain? Friends around the country have been reporting deluged gardens. Here in the village we’ve had even less than Keswick: on average, apart from one wet night, 20 drops for five minutes. But even with that the garden has looked refreshed, and things have started to grow. Unfortunately, that includes WEEDS.
Last week I described some little conflicts between resident birds and insects, but the worst was still to come: myself against the weeds. No, I’m not talking dandelions, docks or even creeping buttercup. They’re easy. And enchanter’s nightshade, goosegrass or even ground elder? They’re all there, but they are a Doddle! I first noticed my little enemy a week or so ago, thinking to myself “Ah, I wonder what that is? Pretty!” A smattering of tiny green heart shaped leaves coming up through the bark chippings. Five days later they had tripled in area. Time to whisk them out. Question: Have you ever met Oxalis? No, not the decorative little pot plant or the pretty woodland sorrel, but the pernicious Creeping variety. It took me a while to identify it. Here’s how one website describes it: “a perennial creeping rhizomatous dicot, mat forming with prostrate growth habit.” So there you have it, or rather, you don’t, I do! I spent a whole morning digging out the tenuous white stringy roots. Ground elder, it’s your turn now. Only the hedgerow nettles are excused execution on condition that they welcome the butterflies.
To happier thoughts. My favourite rhododendrons, Nancy Evans, now glow in the morning sunshine. Fat buds tinged with rose-peach open out into golden globes, contrasting with their red and orange neighbours.
Growing well too are the perennials: peony roses, acquilegia, delphiniums and sidalcea, the promise of colour when the rhodis are gone.
The birdworld has gone relatively silent while eggs are carefully guarded. Here in the garden they are fairly safe, but In the woodland and across the river the cuckoos are calling. Warblers beware! And the behaviour of the house martins and swallows is puzzling. More next week.
See all articles from Sue Grant’s column about what’s happening early doors in her garden.