Tuesday, March 03, 2009

First of March

The snowdrops are flowering

The crocuses are peeping through

The hellebores are still flowering happily (this is a lacy one that Penny and Steve gave me last spring)

And the froggies are back and have been busy

It was the first of March, according to some the first day of spring, and we actually managed to get into the garden for a few hours in the afternoon.

The Builder has cleared loads of blanket weed, rampant oxygenating plants, water mint and water forget me nots out of the pond. We had to time this quite carefully (having failed to do it in the early autumn!). We needed not to disturb the fish while they were hiding at the bottom away from the snow and ice, but to get in before we were over run with frog spawn. The frogs came back to the pond and pretty much beat us to it - but The Builder thought that if he was careful he could clear some of the vegetation away without disturbing the frog spawn. And he has. The fish have now spread out around the pond again, rather than having to congregate in the very tiny bit of clear water that hadn't been over run by plants! The frogs have enjoyed it too - they were bouncing around on top of the remaining weed and chasing each other around the now cleared water and puffing up their throats and croaking. I don't think they were just intent on producing zillions of tadpoles. They looked to me as though they were playing as well!

Alas - the pond pump did not survive the winter. We have had to go out and buy a new one. Mind you, we've been saying since we moved in that it would need replacing. It's never had much strength. So it hasn't done too badly to say we picked up the keys three years ago at the end of April! The new one is fantastic. It has a proper umbrella shape when the fountain comes on! The frogs enjoyed that too.

In the meantime, I have cleared out the first flower bed. Mostly of stray weeds and alpine strawberries. Had anyone told me how tenacious alpine strawberry plants are I would never, ever, EVER have planted them!! I am hoping to get the next bed done this coming weekend, and perhaps the "prickly corner" where I want to transfer my yellow, scented rose bush from the back of he pond (where it looks lovely - but you can't get anywhere near it once the ferns come back to full strength, so no chance of dead heading - or even picking the beautiful flowers).

I am also planning to set some seeds for black/purple/scarlet sunflowers, hollyhocks, cornflowers and foxgloves ready for planting out in May. And we must crack on with prepping the veg beds. I have onions which are very ready to go out, it won't be long before the potatoes can go in (though I think I might wait till we come back from Cornwall after Easter) and we cold certainly get a sowing or two of broad beans in. Must get up to the allotment. Beans and peas, going up there this year.

Must organise a garden and allotment plan!

In the meantime, we have reverted to winter conditions. It's chilly outside, pouring with rain and the wind is positively howling! It's a long time since we've had any proper rain
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