The Slope on Thursday – Winter and Spring

I am aware that last week, after a week of dull grey days I sounded rather negative; all that has changed this week.

Sunday was sunny and surprisingly warm but I was out all day so unable to work in the garden, this was followed by a truly freezing cold day on Monday when it was absolutely bitter cold even if standing in full sun and out of the wind, I was cursing my bad luck in not being able to garden on the previous day.  But then Tuesday arrived looking as bright as it had on Monday but with no wind at all – a wonderful day; I was able to begin the spring tidy of the borders.  I weeded and removed dead stems and leaves and cut back the grasses in the Spring walk so that when the bulbs flower the beds should not look untidy.  Worryingly I did find some evidence of some mouse holes in the ground (well that’s what I’m assuming they are).  I do hope they haven’t eaten all my tulips!  Time will tell.

Yesterday and today have been glorious too so work has continued alongside a little pricking out in the greenhouse and the potting on of some cuttings.

I photographed the slope at about mid-day and the light is entirely different than it has been since autumn.  I feel spring is on the way even if some clouds covered the sun this afternoon and rain is forecast for tomorrow afternoon.

The greens are brighter

The greens are brighter

The rosemary is still flowering.

Stipa tenussima is looking greener agaon too

Stipa tenuissima is looking greener again too

I planted one of the small Cistus that I grew as a cutting into the space left by the Weigela I removed, it had never done well and its moment of glory was far too short for it to retain its place.  I want to add more Cistus as I’ve mentioned before but also some upright rosemary that I’ll prune into spheres, some Marjoram that I grew from seed last year which will also be kept as a sphere and lavender, I don’t have these yet but intend buying some different varieties as well as taking some cuttings of the ones I have.

Looking across the slope

Looking across the slope

Melia azedarach berries shining against a deep blue sky

Melia azedarach berries shining against a deep blue sky

Sorry about some of the dark marks; the old camera I’m using has marks on the lens too now; the camera I was using has been sent to be cleaned.  Maybe this is caused by my using the camera with earthy hands?

Have you been able to begin the spring clean of your garden or do you do it all in autumn?

38 thoughts on “The Slope on Thursday – Winter and Spring

  1. The slope is looking lovely and green – the cold doesn’t appear to have had any effect on the plants. I love Cistus, and have planted a row of them along one of the fences: here, they flower for the whole summer, rather than just that first month and I love their green-grey foliage in between blooms

  2. Nice to see your blue sky and some fresher colour. Enjoy your garden clean-up! We still have snow and ice so I won’t be doing any clearing up for a while yet!

  3. What a difference, and just hearing you were able to get out there and do some cleaning up really gets me excited! You’re right how just a single day of nice weather out in the garden can turn your opinion on so many things…. I can’t wait!
    I did leave a large part of the mess from last fall. It seems so much easier to clean up in spring after everything has had a chance to dry out and shrivel up. Unfortunately there are also so many other things on the list at that time too!
    The blue of that sky is awesome 🙂

    • You were right when you commented that spring would come. We’ve had a lovely week even if MONDAY WAS THE COLDEST DAY SO FAR THIS WINTER, THE REST OF THE WEEK WAS wonderfully warm. Today has a cold wind but the sun is shining, that’s the most important thing.

  4. Spring certainly looks as though it’s on its way in your area, Christina. I’m glad you got some good time in the garden and I hope the mice have left your tulips alone!

    • Mice have never been a problem before but if they find they have a good food supply they may become a big problem. I don’t have any cats although neighbours’ cats visit and all cats here catch mice, it’s the reason most people have cats.

  5. I can see the difference in the sunlight through your pictures! Happy springtime, Christina 🙂 I hadn’t given it much thought, but now I am wondering when a good annual clean-up will be best here. Probably autumn will work nicely though I can imagine trying to tidy up just before everything gets too hot…. My little garden has yet to experience its first summer…

    • By the way, having fallen in love with the bronze fennel you showed last year, I finally located some seeds and have sown some – a little late, but that couldn’t be helped… Hopefully they will come through all right 🙂

    • You will need to decide depending on your plants, Amy. Autumn is easy but doesn’t leave any places for wildlife to over winter. Also seed heads look lovely during the winter. If you have grasses some need to be cut back before the new shoots grow so you may need to do that quite early in the year, I’ve just done my Miscanthus as they already have about 4 inches of growth.

  6. I love the clear bright spring sun, we have had some sunny days too, and while cutting back grasses, ,some mouse tunnels! I too am hoping the tulips are unnibbled. The local supermarket had really reasonable lily bulbs, so I comforted my self with them the idea of the topiary.

  7. Thank you for this post. It is so cheerful to see the garden once again taking colour and shape. Even the dandelion and the daisies are welcome after another winter.
    “A Spring morning
    A warm Breeze
    doves cooing softly
    Pollen dusted trees

    A few brave violets
    A red streaked dawn
    A very early robin
    Earthworms in the lawn” – a poem by David Whalen.

  8. I hope the mice have not eaten your tulips! I like to do a lot of my clean-up in late winter. We had some great days last week, and I was able to get outside some. It was wonderful! But winter has returned with a vengeance, just to let us know that spring is not here yet. All this coming week will be freezing, with winds to make it worse, and possibly ice or snow to make it memorable.

    • I think even just a few spring-like days make us feel better and more ready to deal with the rest of what winter has to throw at us. It is when it is very grey for weeks on end that depression sets in. Keep warm this week Debbie.

  9. Oh how lovely to read that you have blue and warmth Christina. It makes such a difference to how we feel about the world and to energy levels. My garden spring clean started yesterday but was on hold today as it seemed to be rather too chilly for prolonged outdoor work. Even though well wrapped up I had to give up after half an hour or so as my hands were cold. Once that happens I have to retire 🙂

    • Definitely the right thing to do Anna; cold hands are not a good sign when you’re gardening. Do you wear gloves? Not that I think they keep your hands warm but it stops them getting too wet.

  10. The slope looks lovely in the early Spring light. It has been wonderful here today. The birds certainly think that it is Spring. What a pleasure it is to get outside and feel that you are catching up with all the garden chores.

  11. I will smile and say there will be no spring clean up until all this snow melts and that is not happening soon….we are just getting more every day and the temp has just warmed to zero with 30 below wind chills….so luckily I sis most of it in fall….so by April I won’t have much to clean up hopefully except the mess the voles are making under the snow.

  12. Christina your opening sentence made me smile as with the weather I have here most of the time you would be almost permanently negative!
    you might not have the traditional spring flowers in many UK gardens but rosemary in flower in February, you also plant a lot for foliage and you always/all year have a good show of interesting foliage,
    I thought your weather would be a bit colder and wetter than the Canaries, I think you are on high ground too though I might be wrong, the Canaries also get very strong winds from the Atlantic, I experienced some while there,
    last Saturday was good so I made a tiny start in weeding and tidying but since then even when it isn’t raining it has been cold, wind chill cold, Frances

    • Frances, I know I would be depressed if I lived somewhere that was almost permanently grey; I know because I often was when I lived in southern England where there can be weeks of low cloud. I would have to buy one of those special lights. Rosemary flowered at almost the same time in my garden in England. We aren’t very high but high enough and far enough from the sea not to have a Mediterranean climate. I enjoy the sunny days of winter even more than those in summer even when it is sometimes cold it is rarely damp so doesn’t feel as cold. I have been surprised by how the humidity changes the perception of temperatures, high and low. Christina

      • I was surprised by how different hot can be without the humidity and we all know how much colder cold can be when damp is involved, regarding high enough for a non mediterranean climate, when I went walking in the Atlas mountains in Morocco I was surprised when on one holiday in February we were on the western edge of the Sahara desert in the mountains and it snowed! I had been brought up to believe deserts were very hot in the day and chilly at night but never told there could be snow, Frances

        • It does make a huge difference. I’m the UK I always suffered on the few really hot days but here I cope with high thirties quite well. When it is damp even 10 degrees can seem very cold but dry sunny cold can be ok even at 3 or 4. It is all about our perception. Many plants survive low temperatures easily when the air and soil are dry but die in damp conditions even when it isn’t that cold. That is one fault with the RHS hardiness recommendations.

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