An End To March

I’m taking a short break from ‘The Anxious Gardener‘ but meanwhile, and after months of winter drear, it seems a shame not to share some images from the last days of March.

Daffodils

Daffodils aren’t around for long but The Priory’s brief show is hearty.  I’m so used to their regular, faithful appearance that I don’t even bother photographing many of them any more.

February Gold

(But I made an exception a month ago for Narcissus ‘February Gold’ – which lived up to its name with about a day to spare).

Daffodils (2)

I’ve written before about the dozen or so varieties I’ve planted since 2008 but many Priory daffs pre-date my arrival and, names unknown, continue to thrive.

spring bank (4)

I have an irresistible urge to show the bank below the greenhouses at this time of year.

spring bank (3)

Other than now-over crocuses and snowdrops, I haven’t added anything to this slope.  But unlike the previous gardener, I don’t strim it; at least not until the autumn.  How he strimmed this splendour is beyond me.

spring bank (2)

I say every year how I love this bank in springtime and especially so as I do nothing to it … other than that one autumnal strim.

DSM_6073

The big weeping willows are coming into leaf and another irresistible urge is to lie down beneath them and, fighting to keep my eyes open, clear my head for a few moments to appreciate scale that most gardens can’t accommodate.

Bergenia

A month or so ago, I cut off all the leaves on my bergenias.  You don’t have to but I don’t like the black-splotchy old leaves and prefer to start the season with a clean slate: fresh green leaves, clearly visible flower stalks.  But do as you like – I shan’t judge.

Magnolia stellata (2)

I’ve only ever known one Magnolia stellata intimately.  The Priory’s is a little tree and only reaches my chest.  It has barely grown taller during the nine years of our intimacy.  In the past, its flowers have been browned by frost but this year they are unblemished.

Magnolia stellata (1)

Other than giving it an ericaceous feed (about now), a winter mulch of leaf-mould and keeping its planting square free of weeds, I leave it be.  I’ve never pruned it.

Magnolia stellata

It’s a beauty and when I finally settle into a house for good, with no plans to move, I shall plant one (and hope for lichen too).  And honestly, there aren’t many trees or shrubs I can say that about.

Male pheasant fighting (2)

Male pheasants make an awful racket in March.  It is particularly their loud, short, territorial proclamation that makes me jump and sets my teeth on edge.

Male pheasant fighting (1)

These two were having a protracted battle for the Bird Feeder Territory.   The scatterings from the feeders make this the must-have territory.

Male pheasant fighting (4)

Their sporadic fighting drifted back and forth across the lawn, including a dunk in the pond.

Male pheasant fighting (3)

I don’t know who won the war but I suspect whoever did, will end up the fatter of the two.

DSM_6055

Wood anemones are another rich reward for not mowing and not strimming – though you can see where I cut a path to the bridge when mowing starts again.

Canada goose (2)

Every spring, at least one pair of Canada geese arrive to pooh on the lawns and honk repeatedly.  They honk a lot, Canada geese.  And pooh.

Canada goose

Their arrival is as much a spring marker as any number of daffodils and anemones.

Auricular

By the greenhouse, one of my few auriculars flowered on Friday.  I love auriculars – as perfect a flower as I could wish for.  And I love how they almost stare back at you, demanding your approval.  An approval I give readily.

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60 thoughts on “An End To March

  1. What a beautiful garden David! I love your daffodils, as well as the rest of your pictures. I’ve thought about getting daffodils for my little urban garden, but not sure how well they would grow in a container. Thank you for sharing!

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  2. Hi David, I really enjoy reading your blog posts. They are so insightful and give me a lot to think about when i am busy creating the perfect landscape designs and the perfect setting for my clients. Your advice has helped me to incorporate the right kind of plants within the best locations, at the right time of the year. Keep them coming!

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  3. Hi David, good to see this update as I too really enjoy your blog and have been very grateful for all the referrals from your new blogs post!
    I love Magnolia stellata too and have been considering planting one in our new garden – am I right in thinking they don’t usually grow too big? Best, Ciar

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  4. The fresh green leaves on the Bergenias do look good. I tend to trim off the old leaves throughout the year as they become ragged and scruffy, but I’ve never stripped them all off. Don’t you find it opens up the ground beneath them for weeds to grow?

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    • Hi, I haven’t found that actually. Taking off the leaves reveals any weeds if anything and I take the opportunity to easily mulch the bed too. The downside is a few weeks of denuded plants of course. D

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  5. Oh dear, I’m going to reiterate the thoughts of everyone else here and hope you won’t be away too long. Enjoy the break but know how much we appreciate what you choose to share.

    And on wildflower banks – how can anyone have strimmed them to nakedness? Just now the primroses are flowering in great swathes alongside my particular unloved bit of the M4. They lift my heart every time. Ceri

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    • Hi Ceri, to be frank the previous gardener wasn’t really much of a gardener. He would strim just about anything and everything in occasional bursts of frenetic action to get the garden looking ‘neat’ – even flower borders. Whereas, I feel bad mowing over a primrose that has had the misfortune to seed itself on to a lawn. I like swathes, D

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  6. I just love your blog and wondered where you were. Is the break because the garden is too busy right now? I live in sunny South Africa, but think English gardens are the best. And your blog is wonderful, as you are. If it is a break to have a rest – take it easy.

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    • Hi Jenny, yep – busy at work, busy at home on renovation and decorating and busy on some other writing too. But I’ll try to take it easy too! Thanks for the kind words re my blog, D

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  7. Glad you stopped in for this update. Your slope is everything that’s good about wildflowers and I wish more people weren’t so scared of a little unruliness around their closely cropped turfs.
    I guess with a break scheduled an update on the house would be too much to ask for eh?

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    • Hi Frank, it is often the ‘wild’ bits of any garden that I like most. Naturalistic planting is certainly best left to er, nature. As for the house update post. Ah, I was hoping that no-one had noticed my failure to follow up on what was mean to to be a regular series. Sorry, will see what I can do. D

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  8. Another delightful meander around that enchanted Priory garden you nurture… Just when I think your photos are as evocative as can be… you come up with these stunning petalicious portraits… I hope you’ll return to the blog refreshed and ready to share your unique observations and stellar photos. There may be a revolt otherwise. #afan : ) x

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  9. I am afraid I have to agree too, please don’t be away for too long. Your blog posts are always an inspiration for me in my garden here in France and at this time of year with everything growing at an alarming rate and so much to do in the garden, I need all the inspiration and help visually I can get! Our daffodils were over by the beginning of March but now we have iris flowering and roses in bud. I love the bank of daffodils and your pheasant photography is truly excellent. Have a great break.

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    • Thanks but gosh, daffs over by early March? How controversial. But your garden sounds gorgeous and I’m almost jealous really, but the Priory is looking pretty nice too in its spring-time coat. D

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    • Those pesky pheasant are very good at swashbuckling. But would they do so in full sun-light for a crisp action shot? Nope. Still, never mind I had other things to do and the blurry affect gives an action-ish quality. Kinda. Dx

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    • I do really like having the pheasants about but they’re so tame at the Priory, they can be really close to me without my realising. And then the males do THAT call … and I spill my tea. Grrr.

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  10. Your photos of the pheasant fight are fantastic! What gorgeous birds, even if they have annoying voices.

    Last autumn, I planted some Narcissus ‘Golden Bells’ and hadn’t realized that they bloom a full month after the early yellow daffs, long after the foliage emerges–or at least newly planted bulbs do. I’m hoping they’ll retain that habit in subsequent years and fill in the period between the early daffodils and the Narcissus poeticus. That would extend daffodil season to encompass most of spring.

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    • I don’t know Golden Bells but yes, I tried to plant a range of varieties to give a long show too. From February Gold, normally early March for me, to poeticus – Pheasant Eye – which doesn’t flower until May at the Priory. But the sheer mass at this time of year is definitely the main show, named or not! Dave

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  11. I dunno! All around us gardens are springing into life and what do you do? Take a break! Well whatever you get up to, enjoy it, We’ll no doubt be hanging around, aimlessly, when you decide to start bashing hell out of the keyboard again. 🙂

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    • Hehe. Well, I’m sure you’ll manage to survive somehow Mr K and in the meantime you could answer that email I sent you. Actually. As well as some other stuff, I want to concentrate a little more on The Walking Gardener too. So much to do, so little inclination. D

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  12. Dear David, I have to agree with Andrea: we missed you! I know, it’s a rather selfish thing to say and I don’t want to put any more writing-pressure on you (well, yes, I do), but as we have moved in our first house with a garden in December, we depend on you as our main inspiration. I’m following some of the garden blogs you presented earlier, but yours feels like home …

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    • Aw shucks. Well, that’s very nice to hear. Thank you. I’m trying to concentrate on writing other things away from this blog for a little while but it shouldn’t be too long before I post again. D

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    • Thanks Andrea I didn’t word this post very well – what I I meant to say was that I had been taking a break over the past few weeks but actually, that aside, blog posts will be a little thin on the ground in the immediate future too. Sorry, but I’ve got too many irons in the fire and my fingers are burning. Ouch, D

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