Thursday, 31 December 2015






'Lime washed' white Hellebores on the Lime Walk the other day.

On Monday (28th Dec') I heard my first Song Thrush of the year, by 'year' I mean this Spring, I've heard this bird sing this year; but it was last Spring, if you see what I mean. I know Winter isn't over and for the benefit of chefs us gardeners try to quantify the seasons for planning of menus e.g Winter is December, January, February and we'd be foolish to think that the risk of frost and snow is gone for another year; but Spring is definitely afoot. Seasons do not obey Greenwich Meantime; they merge and pulse over the previous one and retreat randomly before the next one, day length is the big catalyst for change, tempered by the vagaries of temperature.

The song of the Song Thrush is a repetitive in your face signal to others that this particular bird is laying claim to this particular part of the neighbourhood; whereas the song of the much bigger  Mistle Thrush is a wistful almost, apologetic affair that questions it's own validity; but quite lovely. The Mistle Thrush has been singing for over a month now; the Blackbird, another Thrush is yet to start and when it does...well it is the quintessential sound track to the English garden in Spring, I can't wait.

Small drills of the winter hardy Pea 'Meteor' that were sown in late October in the Potager, these will provide an early crop if all goes to plan! The edging is Hebe sutherlandii that we are trialling as a Buxus (Box) replacement, they will be trimmed in late March/April.
Between now and when the Blackbirds sing, which wont be long, there will be lots to see. We have a small collection of Snowdrops and yesterday Eleanor and Catherine split up our colony of the variety 'Rodmarton' and planted them throughout the Lime Walk, around the bases of the Limes. Other varieties are the prolific 'Atkinsii' that we've spread through the Laburnum and Winter Walks as well as the nearby Bob Dash Beds, 'Elwessii' at it's peak now throughout the garden....there are a few more including my favourite 'Augustus' that comes slightly later and which we have been introducing to the Wilderness over the last few years.

Autumn sown Sweet Peas behind and slightly later sown ones too, foreground, in the frames and grown quite 'hard' for planting out in late March.





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