‘It often happens to children – and sometimes to gardeners – that they are given gifts of value of which they do not perceive until much later‘
I started gardening a long, long time ago – about 40 years ago I think. My Mum gardened when I was little; she still does – but only when it’s sunny. She gets my chap to do the heavy work now like digging or pruning. My Mum, Dad, little brother and me moved into a new build house in the early 1970s – I was four. The garden had 6 foot fences, a tiny patio and a lot of sticky, London clay and no grass at all.
I don’t remember much about this time but I know my mum and dad put in a lot shrubs that didn’t need much pruning, including honeysuckle on the fence by the back door and vibernum which also has a beautiful scent (in May/June). They put grass seed down as soon as they could so we had somewhere to play. Random plants grew too from dormant seeds in the fields that the house was built on. The best were blackberry canes and my Dad cooked a lot of Apple and Blackberry Pie. When I see these plants in other gardens it reminds me of my childhood and my parents’ garden.
My mum took a cutting from the replacement honeysuckle a few years ago and gave me a bit which I put at the bottom of the garden. It took a good few years to get going but soon clambered over the fence onto bushes in my neighbour’s garden. It smells wonderful and is even stronger in the evening; its scent wafts across the decking at the bottom of the garden (Where I Sit Part 1). I don’t know the variety (said I’m an amateur gardener) and don’t have any photos – I’ll take some later in the year. Honeysuckle is great for growing through other plants though and it’s the unexpected flowers peeping out that I like.
My mum also rescued a silver birch sapling that had been ‘run over’ by the council grass cutting chaps (in a skip she claims) and planted it in the back garden – it’s now a 40 year old, 40-foot beauty with plenty of birds using it as a base to nip down and eat the strawberries, etc.
My mum did a lot of pot gardening with your typical ‘council park’ style bedding plants, like violas, pansies and begonias – it was the 1970s and there was less choice than there is now – none of these huge garden centres. But every pot had a fuchsias of one sort or another – some standard height, some trailing and some bush varieties, pinks, purples. I adored the flowers which I imagined were ballerinas. Often, I helped her put broken pots in the garden for drainage, fill with compost and plant the flowers – and a lot of watering and dead heading flowers (to keep them flowering). She had pots full of plants that wouldn’t grow in the garden because of the clay soil – rhododendrons, for example.
My mum still loves fuchsias, still pot gardens and has a huge patio covered in pots.
So when I moved into my house, the first thing she did the following Spring was buy me some terracotta pots and some bedding plants. Here’s what I planted:
I’ll let you know what I plant in the pots this Spring but there will definitely be fuchsias – I’ll tell you more about my love of fuschias another time.
Things to do in the garden – February
There are all sorts of suggestions online and in magazines – mostly for people with huge gardens, loads of time or very organised – I’m none of these. Here are a just a few:
- plant veg seeds indoors – I’ve only got v small window sills so it’s tricky deciding what to plant. Whatever you choose it’s got to be worth it in the garden either flowers or vegetables.
- tidy the shed (yeah right I haven’t got space for a shed) and scrub your seed trays (I’ve only got two).
- prune autumn raspberry canes – there are two sorts of raspberries – I’ve got the kind that fruit in the early summer. Now’s the time to plant raspberry, gooseberry and blackberry canes too. Blackberry and Apple pie – Lovely!
- plan your borders and new beds – oh yes I’m definitely doing this but more about this soon.
Have you managed to do anything in the garden in February? and what do you fancy planting?
Have a lovely week
love Bec xx