A weekend of contrast

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Acer griseum in the early light of dawn

Saturday proved the ideal day to get on with the final phase of cutting back the borders and the herb garden – cold, dry, no wind with a bit of sun thrown in. We’ve been cutting back the borders in phases this winter, trying to leave features of interest for our winter visitors, human and avian! But now, there are signs of life, green shoots on stems, swelling buds, clusters of new leaves, emergent bulbs – living interest, and it’s time to clear away the brown to make way for the green!

Another day’s work or so should clear the herbaceous borders, and then it’s on with the hybrid tea roses. I like to leave them until late February/early March as it’s much easier to see where the new growth is coming through, making it easier to know where to prune. I also think that leaving the old stems in place perhaps provides a bit of winter protection, reducing the risk of post-pruning winter die-back.

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Verbena bonariensis

I’m not sure the Verbena bonariensis is going to pull through this winter. It is a bit of a tender customer in this part of the world. The plants were grown from seed in 2011 and sailed through last winter but it was very much milder. I’m hopeful that at least some will survive and, a little like the roses, I don’t prune them hard back until they are showing signs of active growth, which should be around April/May. We can always grow some replacements from seed; planting them in April, they should be in flower by late August.wpid-20130224_081338.jpg

And then the snow returned! Overnight, the garden once again turned white, showing that winter isn’t quite over yet!

For as long as this cold weather remains, this could be an excellent flowering season for the snowdrops; wpid-20130217_143210.jpgI note that the carpets of them in the old pleasure grounds are still not fully out yet.

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The Woodland at dawn

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Bamboo etched with snow

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22 Responses to A weekend of contrast

  1. Bill S says:

    I think we all get a bit impatient to see the back of winter but some lovely sights still to be seen. Like you, I hold on a while to prune the roses, one of the most satisfying of jobs in my view. I don’t think you will get rid of the bonariensis that easily by the way !!

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  2. Helen Johnstone says:

    I am becoming weary of the cold and snow. I have started to wonder whether when we do get warmer weather whether its going to be a leap and everything goes mad and we are left trying to keep up!!

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  3. There is something special that happens to the light in mid-Feb. It isn’t just brighter its quality seems better too.

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  4. CherryPie says:

    Thank you for commenting on my post at CherryElsewhere:

    http://cherryelsewhere.wordpress.com/

    I love to visit and photograph gardens, I find them inspiring and relaxing. One of my current inspirations is my local Attingham Park walled garden, which is undergoing development.

    I have added you to my links so I can follow your garden too 😉

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  5. Anna B says:

    It’s funny still seeing all your snow! We had a few flurries this weekend but it’s amounted to nothing. I need to do more removals in my borders too, once the new growth comes through seeing the old brown stuff really makes it look a mess doesn’t it! It’s so lovely seeing all the new green growth coming through and I love following the updates from your gorgeous garden : )

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  6. Acer looks gorgeous even without its leaves…

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  7. I lust after your garden wall! Perhaps in my next life. In the meantime, kindly visit my blog for updates on my major garden accomplishments this weekend.

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  8. If your Verbena doesn’t make it it is more than likely you will get seedlings. You have a lovely garden.

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  9. I adore seeing your garden in snow….another interesting sight is bamboo in snow. We have 6 inches still left from a seasonal total of 14 feet…I am anxiously awaiting spring so I can finally get out to do some chores.

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  10. Kevin says:

    Our blizzard is melting away slowly — and there is crocus just beginning to appear! The next phase of clean-up will be to repair the damage. It amazes me that February is the longest month of the year. Great photos!

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  11. Not yet dawn here, but I know the picture outside is a wet one rather than a white one. We did have a dusting last weekend but I was away to visit family. In addition to snowdrops we have early daffodils. Mid February always seems to be a turning point for us. We’ll have some cold weather yet, but winter is losing its grip.

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    • Thanks for your message, Marian. Snowing heavily outside now, but I don’t think it will last! Interesting to hear about your daffs; ours are getting nearer but we don’t have any particularly early varieties like February Gold, for example which we used to grow in a previous garden (mind you, I don’t ever remember them flowering in February :-))

      I know what you mean about mid Feb being a turning point, though – much brighter even on cloudy days…

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