2012.02.29 End of Month View – Pruning and new life

At the end of last month nothing was happening in the garden or with me.  In fact I was feeling down – illogically really because winter has been very short, intense but short.  This week we’ve had warm sunny days and also days when the wind is so cold and so strong it was bending the trees in half.

The snow has all melted and with the warm sun much is growing; I found that Iris unguicularis has flowered for the first time – I know that they don’t like being disturbed but I had hoped for flowers last year – so far there is one bloom, I hope there will be more.  They are planted under  Rosa mutabilis and I would really like to move them to a better position but it would be sad to lose the flowers for another couple of years.

I love this Iris unguicularis, despite its horrible name

Under the snow I found an Achillia blooming, but the cold wind has burnt the flowers now.

Tulips are emerging from the soil, I am so happy as I held to my resolve and I didn’t buy or plant any bulbs last autumn.  I long for their bright hues and beautiful forms to fill the garden with colour and announce that it really is spring!

When I read the Alberto at Altroverde was cutting back his grasses I thought he was being a little premature; last year I did mine towards the end of March.  But I thought I should check and almost all the grasses including the Miscanthus (that I consider to come into leaf late) had fresh green leaves emerging from the base; the wind and snow had burnt some a little but not enough to do permanent damage.  So another job to be completed ASAP.

On Sunday I decided the time had come to remove some of the Gaura that smothered the roses in the circular rose bed.  The roses are planted in four groups of three and Gaura had germinated close in around the roses to the extent that last autumn it seemed that the lower growing Sophie’s perpetual was almost completed buried.  From the original 12 Gaura plants that had been planted between the groups I removed about 36 plants that had grown since 2009.  I had already removed many, very many seedlings from this bed and used them on the slope and in client’s gardens.  I don’t really understand why they self-seed so much better in this bed than anywhere else; it could be because this bed has irrigation for the roses.  So the question was, what to do with all these plants, the compost heap seemed an impossible choice, I love the butterfly blooms of the Gaura floating amongst plants for so much of summer and into autumn.

September 2011, where are the roses in the rose bed? UNDER the Gaura!

They are one of the few consistently flowering plants in late July and August.  I have been considering adding another something to join the Perovskia in the formal beds.  The front two are under-planted with white tulips and Allium although I’m not sure how many will regrow this year, they were planted in 2008.  I was already thinking about transplanting some of the many dwarf hyacinths that are becoming overcrowded in other beds and under the olives.  So I decided to experiment with planting the Gaura into the back two beds.  I’m half way through planting one bed and I’ll use some of last year’s seedling plants to complete at least one bed.

This month I have pruned the Wisteria ‘Prolific’ on the pergola.  I made the decision to prune all the roses despite the fact that they had retained most of their leaves and were in no-way dormant, some including ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ even had new viable flower buds; like ‘Wellywoman’ despite wearing leather pruning gloves my wrists and the backs of my hands are covered in scratches!  All the Perovskia has also been pruned; again much earlier than I have pruned them before.

As soon as the sun shone Lonicera fragrantissima opened new buds, I have this shrub planted near where we park so when you get out of the car you are greeted with its delicious perfume.

small but deliciously perfumed Lonicera fragrantissima

The very best thing about February is that sunset is later and later each day; very noticeable on sunny days, it is now gone 6pm when the sun sinks below the horizon and at 5pm it feels like the middle of the day instead of dusk.  The disadvantage of being closer to the equator and having more light in winter is that in summer it is dark earlier than I am used to in Southern England, but it is a price worth paying.

Thank you Helen, the Patient Gardener for hosting this useful meme; if you would like to see what others have been doing in their gardens this month follow the link to see what’s happening around the world.

17 thoughts on “2012.02.29 End of Month View – Pruning and new life

  1. Your Iris unguicularis is lovely Christina, Mine only had one flower for quite a few years, this year it has gone mad, only stopping flowering for the couple of weeks when we had frost. Love all your Gaura, they will certainly look lovely in their new home, do wish I could grow it, but then, we are too wet!!
    Today is so sunny and warm, the birds are singing and starting to build their nests, spring has arrived!!

  2. So much is changing in your garden, and it is lovely. I like the blooms display…beautiful. Things are changing in my garden as well as we are having an early spring. It is time to get outside and work the garden. I do look forward to it.

  3. Apparently you have a lot of new plans in mind, that’s good, I’m looking forward to seeing the results!
    Composting gaura seedlings is a kind of a sacrilege! It’s such a beautiful plant even if it becomes a little weedy sometimes. I’ve noticed that my gauras self-seed profusely on pebbles, normally it’s a drought loving plant, I’m not sure it’s because of irrigation… maybe you have more drainage there?

    NB: I still have some grasses to chop, you are not alone…

    • Yes, all my soil is very free draining; its all tuffo. I’ll have to check if some of the Gaura planted on the slope have self-seeded. I do love the Gaura and promise it is a last resort if the seedlings go intot he compost. NB my grasses are all done now, finished today! Christina

  4. I think your Gaura looks wonderful though I appreciate you would rather see the roses. I agree with you that February is wonderful in the way the days get longer and every extra half hour before sunset is special

    • Well the best outcome is that I can see the roses and the Gaura do their thing behind and between but not in the middle of the roses; that’s the plan anyway – I hope the Gaura will co-operate. Christina

  5. I planted Gaura last year and was pleasantly surprised that it held it’s own. I wonder if its going to take off like yours?! I’m hoping they will have self seeded..

  6. Oh,Gaura! Another plant that refuses to grow for me, though I have tried in several places with all the care and love a plant can get. I bury it with my lavender and admire yours instead.

  7. This end-of-month-view is very different to last month’s! Spring is definitely arriving. White Gaura is a weed here and I now pull out any seedlings I find, as they just take over, although you can cut them back by about half in early summer and they’ll grow and bloom more compactly. But in the early days of my garden, in the middle of a drought, I loved it because it was a magic plant that filled spaces and never gave up. I thought the pink forms were better behaved, but it just took a couple of years for them to settle in and now they’re seeding everywhere too, although they are not as tall and so don’t swamp other plants too much. My roses always have new shoots and buds swelling when I prune them, and they just take off immediately. I’ve found it’s the best time (August here). Can’t wait to see the changes next month will bring in your gardens.

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