February 2023 – Almost opening

We are just a week away from opening on 1st March. Our volunteers are back and working away cutting back and weeding.

The early snowdrops are up and flowering, later varieties are pushing their noses through with as yet unopened flower buds. I’ve seen one solitary crocus so far and the winter aconites are flowering in a tiny group.

The Vine House Café has reopened. February opening hours are Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 3.30pm with lunch served from 11am to 3pm. Personal disclosure, the mushroom soup is superb and I couldn’t resist the olive and feta scones.

It’s all happening. It is seedtastic in the Orchid House and the polytunnel with Robyn and some of the volunteers seed sowing vegetables for the Kitchen Garden and annuals for the Cutting Garden.

We’ll direct sow some of the annuals later but for those we sow earlier, it gives them a chance to get away and make a show a bit earlier. The minus is that it takes a lot of time to do the pricking out and potting on with all the other jobs that need doing at this time of year.

Spring is the busiest time, and it gets busier up until June when the dahlias go in and the last of the seedlings are planted out. Then is the time for gardeners to, not exactly put their feet up: more take their foot off the gas.

It moves into consolidation with deadheading and tidying and hopefully some time to step back, smell the roses and look carefully at the bits that will need work in the autumn.

List making comes to the fore. What areas need overhauling? Which areas need the perennials lifted, divided and replanted? Has anything died leaving a gap that needs replanting? And so on and so on.

Sometimes the weather will play a part. I know for my own garden I had plans to move some perennials around as they were either too crowded where they were or not as tall as I had thought when I planted them and needed to move forward in the bed.

Maddeningly, I never got a chance in autumn as every weekend it was pouring with rain. If it was sunny, that would be the weekend I was in some other part of the country.

So those jobs have now been assigned to spring. A bit annoying as it will set them back and they will likely show that by not growing as robustly as they would had I been able to shift them last year.

Still, c’est la vie, that is the way of it in gardening. Between the weather and the garden, is a salutary lesson in never thinking you have control.

There is still a brisk breeze out there but I would urge you to get out into your gardens and just enjoy being outdoors. Getting outside myself made me realise how much I had missed it. Here’s to the weekend everyone.

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