Tuesday 29th March 2022 – cheating just a little bit

Much work was done in the garden over the weekend of 2nd and 3rd April, but not by me, and there is no photographic evidence as yet (apart from the pic above). I’ve been away for the weekend and Chief Engineer has been working through a list of jobs solo, well apart from the close supervision of the Under-Gardener, of course. I took a few photos earlier in the week, mainly to chart the progress of several plants in Soggy Bottom, so here are those, just so I can keep up my run of more or less weekly blogging. Normal service will resume this coming weekend, I hope!

Here follows some photos of brown lumps. I love ferns. I find them endlessly fascinating, especially when they’re just at the point of bursting into life after the Winter. This one is poised to start unfurling… I’ll be inspecting daily now.
I don’t actually know what sort of fern this one in the foreground is, other than a potentially dead one. I’ll wait and see what happens, ferns have a habit of surprising one. Further behind, I think, is an emperor fern, though it’s a mystery what it’s doing over there as I have no recollection of lifting and planting any there, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t do it. My memory deteriorates at an alarming rate. This blog is partly intended to help with that!
More emperor ferns in unexpected places (I think – could be something else altogether.) Don’t those coiled fiddleheads look somewhat alien? I hope they proliferate here. I’ll probably have to contain the enthusiasm of the sweet woodruff breaking through around the ferns already – this stuff smells lovely and is so pretty, but if you turn your back on it it will envelope everything in a dense carpet of green starry leaves. There are worse things to have running rampant, of course.
These hellebores are such good value, they bulk up more each year and they flower for ages. They’re unusual and give great interest really early in the season. I’ve added a white one too, but it could be a year or two more before that one flowers. I’d love to see these pink ones self-seed around, but they don’t seem to want to oblige so far.
More coiled fiddleheads! The damp shade of Soggy Bottom really lends itself to ferns. These are asplenium, the hart’s tongue fern, I think. This one self-seeds itself all over the garden and I relocate any babies. Hopefully they’ll get really big here with the perfect conditions and then and give good structure and texture for most of the year (and if last year’s froglets return, cover for frogs too!)
The Under-Gardener participated in the inspection: fluffy bottom in Soggy Bottom.
I do not understand why it should be that the hostas in Soggy Bottom do not fall prey to molluscs, unless it is due to other inhabitants of the area keeping their numbers down (do we have frogs that I just never see, or perhaps a hedgehog?) Whatever the reason, there are three here and they go from strength to strength each year. I’ve probably jinxed it now and will find these rendered into lace doilies as soon as they open their leaves.
This self-seeded foxglove is truly huge. It’s seeded in the base of a laurel tree which is partly rotted, so presumably it is in some sort of symbiotic relationship with the decaying wood and this is contributing to its rude health. I can’t wait to see it flower… and hopefully it will disperse its seeds all over this bank at the bottom boundary of the garden, and we shall have a forest of foxgloves in a few years.
This whole bottom boundary of the garden is gradually coming together. This is where Chief Engineer hacked back the laurel, letting more light into this bank that rises up behind the parapet that spans the stream and looks down onto Soggy Bottom. I’ve planted cuttings of kerria japonica here and they’re starting to flower and sprawl around (the little yellow pom-poms dotted about). I don’t actually care for it usually but it brings a welcome splash of colour here and will hopefully cover the dead hedge in time (which itself forms good habitat for all sorts of things). I’ve transplanted lots of primrose here too and there is a hydrangea, some shade-tolerant roses, violets and cow parsley spangled about. It’s slow, but I’ve got hopes of getting a nice solid bank of semi-wild shade-tolerant flowering plants down here eventually.
The parapet spans this stream which runs along the bottom of the garden, along the back wall of Soggy Bottom, then past and under our neighbour’s property, via a culvert, eventually going under a main road before emerging again to join the nearby river. We have a makeshift bench here and it is so soothing to sit and listen to this mini waterfall.
This is the view back up the length of the garden, from the parapet. The compost bays on the right and the ramshackle gooseberry bed below the daffodils rather spoil the view! This is really the working and/or wilder end of the garden… but we still need to tidy up!
I’m trying to persuade this euphorbia to self-seed too. I don’t think it’ll need much persuading and its bright crisp green will really light up the shade down here.
Also lightning up the shade, this lovely acer. Tree surgery by some professionals and a bit of judicious hacking from Chief Engineer has introduced much more light to this end of the garden and I think this little acer is brighter than it’s ever been as a result. Shown here to its best advantage by whatever it is that has self-seeded underneath it – either that funny garlic-y Jack in the Hedge plant, which I quite like in salads, or perhaps it’s an honesty seedling. I’m really not sure, both self-seed prolifically throughout the garden and on the whole I let them get on with it as I don’t mind either of them.
Those gooseberries are bursting into life. I’ll soon be netting them and commencing the annual battle with gooseberry sawfly (nothing works besides daily or twice daily inspections and lightning reflexes in squashing every single one of the little buggers between thumb and forefinger!)
Isn’t this blue incredible? Appropriately named Lithodora “heavenly blue”, a gift from a gardening friend. I’ve been pampering it for some time and it’s finally rewarded me with blooms. It was well worth the wait!
The propagation station. Four grow lamps, three heated propagators, three unseated propagators… I keep saying I’ll stop, but it’s addictive! The grow lamps are an absolute game-changer.

Published by Notes from the Under-Gardener

Keen amateur gardener, tending a large home garden growing flowers, fruit and veg, ably supported by husband and dog.

4 thoughts on “Tuesday 29th March 2022 – cheating just a little bit

    1. I like them, I find them very obliging – as they have a sort of shiny/waxy leaf, they take a broader range of conditions than many ferns and can cope with a bit more light/heat. They love to self-seed in our old stone wall – several ferns really love lime and the old stone and mortar is delicious to them!


      1. Ah yes might be that, though these can take more drought/free draining than many ferns. Could also be slightly acid, heathland can be. You could try moving one to a pot to see if it likes a neutral planting medium better… if it does, then you can manipulate conditions in open ground to get it really happy 😊 they might also need to reach a certain age before they’ll seed… ferns are strange and mysterious things!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: