It is the first of April and time to sum up the garden developments in March. We had a few lovely warm days but also some cold spells with rain and a few frosty nights. It has in many ways been an ideal gardening month and we planted a few things we still had in pots and moved around some of our perennial plants and grasses. Hear is our main circle in March, still looking a bit drab but teaming with life.
In autumn our local supermarket was selling out primroses from the Irish primrose collection very cheaply and we bought about fifteen of them. They are very beautiful at the moment, starting to flower in different colours and some of them have lovely dark leaves. Hopefully they will colonise large areas of the garden in the coming years. We still think the native yellow primrose is the most beautiful though.
Along our road boundary some ash trees and a larch was growing up onto the telegraph wires creating a tangled mess and we took some time to pollard them. We think they will grow back strong; we are planning to hedge them by bending down the new branches to the side and create a nice high hedge in the coming years. It is better to keep a tree if you can, by pollarding as it already has a strong root system and can continue to be beneficial to wildlife, act as a windbreak and prevent flooding. In this case something had to be done, as the trees were causing a hazard, but we are very happy with the solution.
Some trees in our garden are just starting to flower and it is such a welcome sight and a promise of spring. We admire the small potted Japanese plum, the flowering cherry and the quince at the moment.
We have also been busy digging more drainage trenches for rainwater, as we do get a huge amount of rain at times and the land can’t cope and so it floods sometimes. We will use pipes and stones to create our drains.
A lot of the vegetables are starting to peak out of the soil but so far only in pots. We grow most of our crops on to a reasonable size before planting them out, to give them a fighting chance against the slugs. This year we are planning to grow things in the traditional Native American way of the three sisters. Corn, squash and beans will grow together in the same area. The corn stalks provide support for the beans and the squash acts as a ground cover. We are also experimenting with mulching our whole kitchen garden in straw. We will make holes in it where we want our plants to go and give each one some manure when we plant them. It will be interesting to see how it all pans out.
We have managed to do almost all of the cutting back of old perennials that we had left in place over winter for wildlife, and we have pulled up more creeping buttercups than we care to remember. All in all a very enjoyable month in the garden, and we are very much looking forward to what April will bring.