5 April 2013

Wrong turn!

In my blog on the first of February I optimistically wrote 'there are signs that spring is, if not 'just around the corner' at least in the right postcode'. Well it seems that Spring's sat nav has been playing up and it has spent the last two months heading in completely the wrong direction!

Like most of the country, we've had snow, frost, biting arctic winds and the result is that plants in the garden are three to four weeks behind this time last year. It's as though someone pressed a giant 'pause' button in early February and it got stuck on. I'm told it is going to warm up soon and when spring finally does arrive gardeners everywhere will be working flat out to catch up with all the sowing and planting that's been delayed. And the spring flowers will overlap with the summer flowers and...it could well be a hectic year!

But every cloud has a silver lining and the late spring has meant that I have had more time to finish the winter jobs that got put off due to the heavy snow.
The first was to replace a very wobbly rustic trellis at the side of the house. It had been in place for quite a few years and was only being held up by the rose that was attached to it. Needless to say, it came down very easily and I replaced it with one made from ash saplings from one of our woods (they needed thinning out anyway). A few hours with a saw, a drill, a hammer and some big nails and I was quite pleased with the result.

New trellis
I also took a trip to Barrow to collect a trailer load of compost from the local recycling centre. It's made from the contents of South-Lakeland's green waste bins which is shredded up and put in a big heap where it breaks down, producing much heat which kills off weed seeds and other nasties. The result is a beautiful dark compost which will add much needed organic matter to the rain-washed Hill Top soil. I took a Land Rover and trailer with me and came back with 1.2 tonnes of the stuff which seemed like an awful lot when I tipped it in a pile by the farm gate.

Black gold!
When I started barrowing it around the garden though, it quickly became apparent that I could have done with twice as much, so I might just have to go back for another load.
I also collected about half a tonne of horse manure from a local stables but it was a bit fresh to put straight on the garden so I filled up one of my compost bins with it and will use it later in the year.

My third job this month was a quick trip to a bustling Wray Castle to spruce up last years planters a bit and plant up two half-barrel tubs at the front entrance which are strategically placed over unsightly manhole covers. If the deer will keep off them they should provide a nice splash of colour outside the mostly grey castle. 

Planters and new tubs
That's all for this month, by my next blog we'll surely be basking in lovely warm spring weather and everything will be blooming marvellous(ly). If not, I'm emigrating!

Words and pictures by Pete the Gardener.