9 March 2012

Spring, pruning and rabbits

primroses - a sure sign of Spring

I’m led to believe that climate change is making spring start earlier and earlier every year, but at Hill Top spring is 'springing' at roughly the same time as it has for at least the last ten years. Usually by March 9th the daffodils in the garden are just beginning to bloom and, as I write this, they seem to be bang on schedule. Meanwhile, there are other signs of spring too.

The first pale yellow primrose flowers are coming out just as the snowdrops are beginning to fade. Elsewhere, the birds are tweeting a little bit louder and the rabbits are chasing each other round the paddock; there have been sightings of frogspawn around the village and Jemima Puddleduck’s rhubarb is uncurling its first crinkly, pink-tinged leaves.

This is one of the busiest times of the year in the garden with much tidying, digging over and lifting-and-dividing to be done. It’s also time for pruning roses, black and red currants, gooseberries and for cutting back buddlieas as hard as you dare.

Hill Top was overrun with rabbits last year and while it’s nice to see them in the paddock amongst the fruit trees I really don’t want them in the garden eating my carefully grown cabbage seedlings or biting through the stems of my runner beans!

baby rabbit (an unusual black one) in Jemima's rhubarb patch
With this in mind I’ve been replacing some sections of our chicken wire perimeter fence which had some suspiciously rabbit-sized holes in it and I’ve made a new gate for the bottom of the vegetable garden which will deter even the most athletic of Peter Rabbit’s distant relatives. Watch this space…..!

Post and primrose photo by Pete - Hill Top gardener
Rabbit photo credit |skjoiner on Flickr