23 February, 2013
Spring was on its way until about 3 days ago. All the hellebores are up and flowering, and continue to flower for about three months.. We cut all the leaves off round about Christmas time, and do not put them on the compost heap. We have a mixture of yellow, blue, white, various shades of pink, and green. They will not pick to put in a vase, but you can float the heads in a shallow bowl of water which looks very pretty on a dining room table. Digging them up and you need a huge amount of strength. When it is really cold the hellebores lie down flat which I can hardly bear to look at, but they then stand up again as if nothing has happened. The ones near the house we have surrounded with named snowdrops, which have nearly all done well. Polly has worked very hard to improve this bit, and really for the end of February this looks very pretty with a lot going on. It is important to try and achieve this as otherwise winter seems so long. We have a lot of aconites which have seeded around, and the crocus tommasinianus are showing on the crocus lawn at the bottom of the steps. When you are near the parterre you get a strong scent of the sarcoccoca of which we have two huge bushes.
Last weekend James and I went to Colesbourne Park, near Cirencester,which was inspirational. Acres of snowdrops under deciduous trees, it has taken over a hundred years to achieve this marvellous garden. It made me long to rush home and start dividing all my snowdrops. We bumped into John Grimshaw there who has written the definitive book on snowdrops and used to be in charge of Colesbourne.. I bought 4 called James Backhouse, which he said was a very good doer.
It has taken about 10 days to cut down the autumn border, it must be much bigger than I realised. We have lost all the poppies in it, and it shows how plants hate to be covered up by other things. In the Burgundy border allium Globemaster has taken over, and one has turned into about 30. The leaf is very attractive, and this is my favourite allium. There is an article on alliums coming out in The English Garden in May, and quite a lot of them are in my garden. The eremurus out the front are coming up, and some have increased from one to seven. There we have put all the Rosa mutabilis together, and just hope that they will do better than last year and that there will be some sun. The exciting thing about gardening is you always look forward to next year being better, and if not better it is usually different.
My little dog Tensing has been very ill for about 2 weeks, but finally with antibiotics and a change of diet he is much better. It is such a relief. All the grasses are cut down now except the cortaderia. We are longing for the cortaderia richardii to flower on the right hand side as the two plants look very healthy, but did not produce a flower plume last year.