Ready, steady but not quite go...

Tiffany Daneff / 26 March 2015

The changeable spring weather means that a lot of jobs need doing in Tiffany Daneff’s garden.



This spring is yo-yoing wildly back and forth. One day it’s warm and sunny and, on investigating the borders, I see that loads of new growth has appeared. The next a sharp north easterly is blowing along the valley and it’s on with gloves, hats and scarves around our necks.

But that’s how the mid seasons operate. It’s to and fro, touch and go, back and forth and animals and plants do their best not to catch sniffles or freeze their fresh young fronds.

So it was that on Friday afternoon I was out in the gardening playing catch up with the weeds. Bittercress, couch grass and frilly young nettles had popped up, seemingly while my back was turned. But the ground was soft (thanks to the ruddy moles who have been doing a grand job of aerating this sticky clay) and the weeds came away easily with the dutch hoe. The difficult part was deciding how many of the self seeded poppies I should leave to grow.

The sun had enticed out most of the perennials; a huge relief as I thought I had lost a lot.

Up and out of the soil are the tufts of bronze fennel, the tiny reddish green persicaria leaves, large fresh clumps of campanula (already twice the size they were last year) and even some of the asters.

Meanwhile the cutting of perennial wallflowers given to me by Val Bourne has bulked up without me noticing it (because when it’s cold here, it's very very cold and consequently I haven’t been outside looking at the borders.)

The downside with all this warm sun is that the rabbits are rabbiting so, after the weeding I topped the most vulnerable greenery (campanula and fennel) with plastic cloches. Last year I swore I was not going to spend good money on rabbit protection but this year I have invested in three rbbit-wire proof cloches. Gosh, they are expensive, but the trouble with the cheapo plastic ones is that the dog keeps pulling them out and running around the garden like a loon. Which I find very hard to laugh at.

By Saturday, we were back chopping wood and lighting fires. Weeds? Nothing in its right mind would be growing anything but chilly.

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