Friday, March 8, 2013

Periwinkles and caviar

Here's the spring posting. Bumble bees! Big buzzing in the Grove, a queen taking an early drink from yellow crocuses and white hellebore.

Two weeks of dry weather meant I could finally do some weeding. Just in time - it's been impossible in the garden since god knows when - this time last year probably. The veg garden isn't too bad as I cover that with black polythene, but the ornamental garden fills up with creeping buttercup and creeping grass creeping creeping everywhere.

It was cold though! Weather from the east. Breezes on which I swear I could smell the mountains of Greece and Turkey. Full thermals and woolly hat weather. But dry. Oh joy.

Rained again this week though. The up side of that is warmth, and at least the ground is no longer saturated. A bucket a day keeps the weeds at bay.

The lesser celandine is another creeper, but so pretty and one of the earliest flowers in spring. You mustn't mind thinking hemorrhoids of course when digging them out. All those little roots giving it the name pilewort. I rather think I wrote about that at length last year, so won't go into it again. 

There are many hazel trees in and around my garden, very useful when coppiced, the tall straight branches shooting skywards from the base. I cut them for bean poles, trying, but generally failing, to remember to cut them before the sap rises as they last longer.

I also have a Corylus avellana Contorta. It has two common names: contorted hazel or the less uncomfortable corkscrew hazel. It could make a good measure of personality - contorted or corkscrew, glass half full or glass half empty.

These hazels, unlike their straight cousins, are very slow growers. They send out sports at regular intervals, trying to catch up with the other family members, but they don't succeed. Snip snip with the secateurs (or chop chop with the loppers), otherwise the head of branches will corkscrew no longer, an Irish dancer without her ringlet wig.


A couple more photos to complete the early spring picture - primroses and variegated periwinkle.


And finally where would we be without these sparkling jewels, this caviar of the garden pond:

The period of amphibian bacchanalia seems to have been shorter this year, with frogspawn after about a week. The frogs started singing later than last year too. Less time for romance. 

Looks like we're in for a good batch of froglets anyway.

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