Monday, 7 March 2011

divide and rule

This is why I love perennials - every few years they increase exponentially. I spent the afternoon moving eryngiums and Achillea ptarmica, finally I might even have enough for a while. In fact I probably now have far too much Achillea pastel colours, I moved small clumps last year rather too late and never gave them any water or attention and they sulked, but a year in their current site, and a good winter mulch of masses of muck and I'm overrun.... I tried to get rid of a load of Oriental poppies last summer, but it's never easy to get rid of them as every bit of root colonises if it likes its home. That would be fine but we popped echinacea plugs in the same piece of ground that I thought we had cleared reasonably, so I fear they may all have got swamped, there's no sign yet. I also seem to have an unreasonably large swarm of heleniums which obviously like their site, I now wish I'd labelled them all as I remember that I didn't like using some of them and now of course I haven't a clue which ones..... catanache also seems to be making a bid for bed domination in one area, now I know it's a beggar to pick, and slightly temperamental to pick, but I am rather fond of it. I am not fond of the bright yellow rudbeckia though, and am planning to take them all out. Some people love them, but I just didn't want to use them last year. The trouble is, if I do give them all away, I'll probably suddenly find I want them. But I'm keen to use their space as I decided not to plough up another patch (yet) but to use every space within the existing fenced area instead. I am about to make more beds in the orchard area as that would be so much more useful than mowing grass, then when I really can't squeeze more in I'll move out to the next acre or two. I have an idea it may be sooner rather than later!

Sadly my pale yellow lemon scented nepetas seem to have frozen to death. And I had to uproot corpses of every pittosporum even though they should have been the perfect stage for good pickings this year. I guess I'll just have to keep being inventive with the foliage side of things. (But I never liked pittosporum anyway, that's probably the real reason it died, not just the extreme cold!). Eucalyptus have also been sawn down or taken out, some probably will survive, they are not my favourites but they are such incredibly useful shrubs and their foliage can be very beautiful and such a lovely colour so I hope some will re-grow after their winter blasting. Large bay trees have also gone which is more of an issue.

Now I know that some things are not as hardy as others so I really can't complain if things turn up their toes, it's my fault for planting them really, but we have become rather conditioned to thinking that most things will survive. I am quietly pleased that many dahlia tubers seem to have come through the winter in the ground, we ladled about a foot of well rotted horse muck over them and I think it seems to have done the trick, I dug a couple up to check and they were fine - but of course they might have been the only two healthy ones!

But this year I will concentrate on finding more seriously hardy cutting options, I am yearning for some rather tender scented foliage plants but will resist, though I am considering a new foliage tunnel at some point.......

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