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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Win ‘The Thoughtful Gardener’ By Jinny Blom

It has been over six months since I gave away a new, shiny book – which is far too long and I’ll rectify that right now.  ‘The Thoughtful Gardener’ by Jinny Blom will be published by Jacqui Small on 16th March 2017, with an RRP of £35.00 … but I have a copy up for grabs. 

the-thoughtful-gardener

I had planned to review Jinny’s book – as well as hold this competition – but The Thoughtful Gardener’  is so new that my review copy won’t arrive before I leave on a short walking holiday.  In haste then, and instead of my review, here’s a little about the book from the press release:

A prolific designer, Jinny Blom embraces a wide variety of styles, from formal walled gardens to contemporary installations. What defines her work is her skill with plants and her ability to create a garden that responds to the history of the site and the wider landscape. In this book, Jinny shares her insight into the creative process she has developed while designing more than 250 gardens around the world.

For Jinny, design is more a matter of intelligence and appropriateness than imposing a particular style. As such, her approach can be applied to any garden. You can take inspiration from Jinny’s principles and apply them to your own garden, whatever the shape, size of plot or aspect, to make it work for you and for your situation, giving enormous satisfaction for years to come.

Reflecting Jinny’s highly individual character, there is plenty of wit and quirkiness alongside the expert knowledge, and it will appeal to the widest audience of garden lovers. Thoughtful and beautiful, yet practical and informative, this book marries artistry with functionality.

Jinny Blom has enjoyed a meteoric rise as a landscape and garden designer since she began her London-based practice in 2000. Jinny works on a wide range of projects, taking her across the UK, Europe, the United States and Africa. She has exhibited at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show four times, and was awarded the coveted gold medal in 2007 for her Laurent-Perrier garden. She won a silver-gilt medal at Chelsea in 2002 for her ‘Healing Garden’, created in collaboration with HRH The Prince of Wales, and in 2013 she designed a garden commissioned by HRH Prince Harry’s charity Sentebale. She has been a columnist for The Times and has appeared in a wide range of publications.

For your chance to win a copy of the ‘The Thoughtful Gardener simply:

say you want to enter in the “Any Thoughts” box below

and

(if you don’t do so already) follow ‘The Anxious Gardener’ blog; or follow me on Twitter; or like The Anxious Gardener Facebook page.  Or all three!  The relevant follow buttons are in the sidebar of this page.

You can also enter via Twitter or Facebook – check my Twitter feed and Facebook page for details.

Please note that the prize can only be posted to a UK postal address.

The competition will close at midnight on Sunday 19th March 2017.

I’ll draw a name from my cleanest hat, contact the winner and add the result to the bottom of this post.

Good luck!

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To order ‘The Thoughtful Gardener at a special 20% discount, visit quartoknows.com and use discount code: BLOM20 (at checkout).

Offer valid from 1st March – 31st March 2017 only.

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The competition is now closed.  Thank you to everyone for taking part and the winner is Brad Willet via the blog.  Congratulations.

Ooops.  Well, it appears Brad doesn’t have a UK address after all.  The final (?) winner is Ann Dukes.  Congratulations.

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