Saturday, March 1, 2008

February - a month of two halves

The early part of February was really very cold - down to minus 7 at night and only a few degrees above freezing during the day. I nipped out to the orto and put fleece over the young pea plants but otherwise crossed my fingers. Then all change and it was bright blue skies and up to 20 degrees in the later days of the month. Bulbs began to soar out of the ground and blossom pinging out in the trees. All far too early but what to do about it?
I relunctantly pruned the roses as there was so much leafy growth but normally I would wait until March. The first bulbs to show their faces were the little yellow species crocus followed but the rather more brash yellow hydrid crocus - why the yellow ones first? The purple crocus made a happy combination with wild violets which have self seeded. My iris unguicularis (Algerian iris) has finally flowered after years of waiting. The tiny tazetta narsissi are a real delight too. Almond blossom is in great profusion and in the breeze the white petals fall like snow flakes. The arbutus has strange pale bell-like flowers.
The huge bay shrub which had reached about 10m tall was hacked down this month and a made a great heap of aromatic firewood. I filled the gap with Ceanothus delileanus 'Gloire de Versailles' as the low growing Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var. repens has already done surprisingly well in the same location.

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