Now the weather is finally meaning the garden is becoming plantable, I'm spending a lot of time scratching my head and talking to frozen plants in their temporary boxes and bags. "Hello, who on earth are you?" is the common question. Of course they can't reply, and usually I can't answer either. By a process of deduction I've just about worked out which are phlox, and vaguely which phlox are which - largely only because some of the clumps of soil around the roots are different from other clumps, depending on where they were originally dug up from. Solidago now seem to be just about identifiable, and some of the asters, but goodness knows which are Alma Potschke and which are others. As to heleniums, they're there somewhere, and one dumpy bag labelled echinacea is definitely something else. Which are veronicastrum is a mystery so far, or rudbeckia.....As things are shooting I hope identification might become easier, white brunnera are finally saying hello, and some large yellow centaurea. I'm very thankful to plants that have hung on to their leaves such as francoa, tellima, some campanula. I'm a bit scared that all the agapanthus, of which there are many clumps, are unhappily frozen, time will tell. I hope they will thaw enough for me to be able to weed out the couch grass before replanting but that looks impossible at present.
Most clumps look as though they will survive the frosts even though they are not planted, largely because they were dug up in the wet from clay so have a large ball of mud around the roots. I've managed to wash some off and plant them, but many are still too solid to attack.
The autumn sown annual have not fared well, apart from nigella, so annuals will not be early but I hope tog et some cloches set up in the next week or so so I can sow in the ground as soon as possible. But I'm rushing about for the next fortnight, back to the Herefordshire gardens to see when bulbs will be ready, and to collect iris, more heleniums and some ground covering centaurea, lysimachia, more brunnera and lots of my lovely willows and dogwood cuttings. I'm also cutting them for my son's wedding in Suffolk the weekend after next as I'm making large living chandeliers for which I'm hoping to use early catkin producers and good coloured stems as the base. It might work!
Today it was on the road again to Gloucestershire to see a lovely Barnsley House bride. Not that convenient from here but always delightful. Next week is a Herefordshire bride's meeting before sorting out the flowers for Suffolk. It seems the year is getting going with the usual rush. And somehow I have to fit in a trip to my dentist (hay on Wye or Devon) as I managed to split a front tooth vertically which is emphatically not a good look for my son's wedding. Otherwise it will be the Blutak and Tippex option........