January 23, 2019

Caroline’s Garden Diaries 23.4.13 : Spring Work

As predicted, Spring’s here and there’s a lot to do. Weeding, cutting back old stems of last year’s perennials, mulching round new shoots, planting new things (which usually involves moving round several more that have been displaced by the favoured newcomer), sowing seeds, pricking out seedlings; it can feel a bit overwhelming at this time of year especially after such an awful autumn and winter when things didn’t get done.

Not sure what to do first, so delay by looking round and admiring. I’ve just read a justification of this in a definition of a plantsman “ one who looks at every single plant every single day”, so now I’m calling myself a plantswoman. But of course, if you look at every single plant every day, you will also notice the problems they’re having; seeing the wood anemones just appearing under the apple tree, I realize the comfrey I’ve also planted there 2 years ago as good groundcover is too greedy in the ground it covers. Similarly, there’s a dear little pale-yellow anemone that needs help as it’s trying to grow in the middle of a clump of tough old Geranium magnificum. Decision made, attend to the anemones.

Paradoxically, in a so-called “natural” garden, there is always a need to intervene in the tussles that the plants have in living together, because if you don’t, the strongest will take over and the garden would be very limited in its appeal (sounds like society at large). The aim is to allow the plants as much freedom as possible by self-seeding and spreading into others to make interesting combinations, but also to live in some kind of harmony so the garden as a whole is a pleasure to be in. Natural gardens are not low maintenance.


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