I had been planning this morning on getting out onto my big patio at the back of the garden, stripping off the table covering and giving the whole thing a good scrub. But sadly, this morning the sun has disappeared and we are back to grey chill, so here I am at my desk. But as you can see, there is definitely action in the big bed which encircles the patio. The cotinus are in leaf, as are the roses and the acers, the rosemary is in flower – and the heuchera are going mad! There are two lime green ones, three black leaved ones which are, surprisingly, already in flower, one glorious claret red one and two stunningly vibrant and sun-glowing terra cotta ones.
To the right of the big patio is the pond, nestling under under the wall which is now largely covered by trellised mirrors. Up these are growing – although you cannot really see them yet – a pyracantha, a hydrangea petiolaris, a winter jasmine and a Virginia creeper. In the far right hand corner the ivy and an old honeysuckle are holding their own – and I hope are about to be set alight by my glorious flame coloured azalea. (Buds are promising and I did give it lots of fertiliser.) Next door to it is a new stunning white camellia called Nunccio’s Gem which I hope will come good for next year. As you can see, we are are looking quite wild and woolly and are currently subscribing to ‘no mow May’ – although since the only mowers I have are two elderly electric ones which have sat out in the wet for three years, I think no mowing is as much a necessity as a choice.
In front of the apple tree and to conceal a random piece of girder which protrudes just far enough out of the ground to trip anyone up – but not far enough for anyone to see – are my fuschia pots. These suffered badly in the big freeze up, so I am restocking. It is a bit early really for fuschias but in Columbia Road market last weekend I did find this guy – delicate mauve inner petals and deep rose pink curled back outer ones with the largest blossoms that I have ever seen on a fuschia – just the petals stretching maybe 12 centimetres, not counting the stamens.
Still lots of coir netting to be seen but the thyme and the ajuga have got the ‘you are meant to be spreading message’ – indeed the ajuga is already in flower – and given just a little more sun the erigeron’s tiny daisy like flowers will be be bursting forth too. Newcomers are some pretty pink alpine geraniums, some thyme leaved speedwell, a selection of tiny white flowers that I can no longer identify – and quite a lot of grass! Since grass on the bank was not really part of the master plan I have been digging it out with a knife and transplanting into the bald patches on the ‘lawn’. Not sure whether this will work but worth a try.
Meanwhile you might notice some balls of blond fluff lying between the plants. At long last – a use for Boris’ excess production of fur. A friend suggested I put it out to see if the birds might like to use it for their nests. And sure enough, I watched a great tit yesterday morning having a poke around and then flying off with a beakful – only to be back a few minutes later for a second load.
And finally, because I cannot bear to leave them out, tiny feathery lime green shoots on the mimosa tree, just pushing themselves tentatively out into the big world…..
…and down in the fern bed. One of the bigger ferns, gradually uncurling its furry copper fronds, like thoroughbred horses arching their manes as they emerge from the ground in a Lord of the Rings’ forest…..