March Hares

Spring is here at Stewart Park! A little bit of sun is all I need to make me feel that the long days of winter and behind us, well, we can live in hope!

Spring always makes me want to look forward and I long to visit every garden centre in the known universe. You see, I am totally addicted to buying seeds, I make any excuse to abandon the family and go to do a little seed shopping, or as I like to call it “research”. The brightly coloured packets make promises of Horticultural Heaven that I quite simply can not resist. After all these years of growing bedding in their thousands I am still amazed that these tiny specks of insignificant dust, that come out of these packets, when given light, water and warmth, wonderful plants emerge like household items from Mary Poppins carpet bag. Nature is truly amazing.

I do have a few plans for the Walled Gardens. Some plants have been behaving rather thuggishly, bullying their neighbours and quite frankly, taking over. In this age of zero tolerance, the two main offenders have been excluded and sent to the naughty step. Euphorbia, with its irritating milky sap was too close to the path. Geranium machorrizum hadn’t flowered for two years, swamped everyone either side and was full of buttercups. The geranium has already been replaced by a beautiful, delicate looking Kaffir Lily-great autumn colour and Michaelmas Daisy, again autumnal, but great for butterflies and bees. The Euphorbia will be replaced by Acanthus mollis (bears breeches), with its ancient origins interplanted with Pennisitum, a grass that has heads like hairy caterpillars – fun for the kids. Its a combination I saw at Sissinghurst, I hope they don’t mind me borrowing their idea.
I was trying to take the picture of the snowdrops and , as you know , they are low to the ground. Very low to the ground.  That was how I had to get, so with my mobile in one hand, heads down, bottom up, like a duck there I was. I heard crunching of the leaves getting nearer and nearer. Heavy, heavy breathing getting nearer and nearer, closing in. My hand instinctively reached for my secateurs, not for pruning, but for self defence. The breathing was almost upon me, then to my amazement and relief, a little black nose nudged my hand. “Come on Fudge, you nose old thing, sorry `bout that” yelled the owner. Well, turned out the owner of the nose was a sturdy little pug with a rather natty little coat on – never thought I`d be glad to see one of those little guys. Alls well that ends well and heres that pic of the snowdrop – minus Fudge the dog!

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