It's a fairly strenuous task and takes forever, well, not actually the chopping down but the clearing up afterwards, as the garden is large and rambling and it's always a long way to either bonfire or compost heap. However, I couldn't really complain as Philip was doing an altogether more taxing job. We have a hedge which has grown into a mini-forest and he was hoping to reinstate the hedge, which involved chopping down many trees - oak, sycamore, beech, rowan (very wary of this one as there's an ominous tradition around here that you've got to ask permission first or rowans have a habit of getting their own back).
It turned out though that we both had a good day and managed to achieve most of what we set out to do without major or even minor injury. I had my camera in pocket and made a note of the flowers in bloom as I went along. Before I started I looked out of the window and thought how sad everything was looking, but once I got in the swing, uncovering plants that hadn't seen the light of day this year, they all perked up enormously, the hellebores especially when relieved of last year's leaves. So here's the roll call of the plants in the spotlight this week. Starting with the hellebores as they're just spectacular right now.
|Lovely white/green hellebore hybrid|
|Lots of big fat buds waiting to open|
|Note the fancy leaves|
The snowdrops are coming out all over the place now - I uncovered many clumps around the garden which were completely hidden by last years fallen leaves. I love the way they huddle together against the cold - always cheers me up to see them tucked in under a hedge or snug on a mossy bank.
Two shrubs that add interest in their own special ways, one for its colourful bark and the other for it's long and lustrous catkins.
|Red and green wands of dogwood|
|Garrya eliptica with its long silky catkins, which are actually flowers|
|Elephant's ears trying hard to be beautiful before they become raggedy|
|Wood spurge with its unassuming little yellow flowers|
|Mahonia in full bloom with heavenly scent|
|Daffodils in bud|
When we got here last week there was a lovely card waiting for us in the post. It was from a friend and master gardener and I was really taken by one of the things she said. I don't think she would mind me saying that she has been an octogenarian for quite some time, but still tends her garden, including vegetables, every day herself. She said I have my garden which sends me weary to bed and gets me up thinking of the jobs to be done. When I'm tired and aching I tell myself that maybe this is the key to a long and active life?