Hyacinth, Delft Blue, April 2002

Above: Hyacinth "Delft Blue"

Garden diary: March

29 April 2005

The swifts are here! The swifts are here!

25 April 2005

Waheyy! Blue tits have been building a nest in the nest box! This major garden news deserves a page (or several) of its own, so please see Garden birds: blue tits, for more information, and (lots of) photos.

I've spent a lot of my spare time since last writing standing on an upturned bucket in the shed taking photos of the blue tits, but RSI/carpal tunnel problem permitting I've also at last relaid the limestone chipping areas, repointed the brick paths, mended a few other structural bits, and emptied the compost heap. Phew. I also sowed some seeds, but I'm too tired right now to remember what they were.

The garden last year, on reflection, was starting to hit that point when 'established' is in danger of becoming 'wild'. I've got rid of some plants that weren't working, and drastically pruned some of the climbers on the boundaries. This, together with the attention at last given to the paths, means that the garden looks almost as tidy and together as it did circa 1998-99, when I'd first laid the paths.

There's still a 'problem corner' (isn't there always?). The corner at the far end of the garden, opposite Woodland Corner, near the mini-lawn, facing roughly south-west. It needs something impressive planting there, or some sculptural object, or at the very least, an even surface for standing a chair on. Or maybe an impressive plant in the ground with a chair on an even surface in front of it. I'm collecting bricks, but not sure about the plant. I've fancied an Itea ilicifolia for some years, but have never seen one in a real garden, so if anyone reading this is growing one, particularly in the north of England, please let me know whether you'd recommend it.

8 April 2005

We've just had a bit of a snowstorm, with white flakes whirling, all blown about on a nasty north-easterly. (It might be wind from another direction - let me just visit the BBC weather centre to check.) Actually, it's a plain old northerly wind, but I think 'nasty north-easterly' sounds better and more accurately conjures up the bleakness of the icy blasts out there, so I'm leaving it as that.

Yesterday we had a hailstorm, as I was out and about in the town centre, which meant I wasn't able to do anything to protect the garden against the icy onslaught, and was distracted from my shopping tasks by worrying about my hostas.

The snow flurries have now stopped, and the scene from the window is once again bright and beautiful, all sunshine and blue sky, as if I just imagined that storm. April is full of this weird weather, and in some ways I quite like it - as you often get bright sunlight slanting in low across the garden while dark grey moody clouds hover on the other side of the sky, forming a dramatic backdrop to cherry blossom and new green leaves.

Anyway, enough about the weather. Apparently it's going to get mild again, and at least the wind has dried out the ground, which is good, as I need to tackle relaying some gravelled areas and possibly replacing a couple of damaged bricks in the paths in the garden. I'm not sure how much I should try to do, as I've got to think about this pesky problem with carpal tunnel syndrome in my wrist, and mixing mortar and carrying heavy things is maybe not the best thing to be doing. I'll just have to make sure I have even more tea breaks than I usually do.

I've just popped out into the garden to cover some vulnerable plants with fleece, as temperatures are low and dropping, and I have dahlia tubers in pots, and other things that don't like this kind of weather. While I was out there, struggling against the wind, trying to stop the fleece blowing away, I heard some people passing by on the street on the other side of the garden wall. 'Yes, it's a bit chilly', said one, in what can only be described as a major understatement. As the wind chill factor made my ears go numb I admired this as a fine example of Yorkshire stoicism, before dashing back inside and shutting the door.

Back to April highlights and diaries


Tulip Queen of the Night

Above: Tulip "Queen of the Night"

Garden diary: May