Onward, SPRING!

The lingering chill of winter may still be upon us but there are signs of the warmth and light that beckon just around the corner.

Tá sé early Spring i sa ghairdín and the daffodils, hyacinths and tulips are all right on time.  Every year I forget how striking the front garden border is with the spring colours bursting forth from the beautiful winter bleakness.  Every season I think, "This is my favourite season",  and when the season changes I am left, once again, spellbound by the beauty that is the next season.

Spring excels in a burst of colour and shape where we have become accustomed to none.  I am pleased that the narcissi are continuing to spread and the hyacinths, which haven't performed very well in the four years we've lived in this house, seem to be on the up.  I don't bring up my tulips and I'm very happy with how they continue to perform and divide.  This is the fourth year these bulbs have been in the ground and they appear no less impressive.  The white tulips come up first and just as they're totally fading the black (dark red/purple) tulips take centre stage.  Its a glorious handover to watch.

Just up the road, in Howth, the council has planted large (1000s) of daffodils in public spaces.  Just as they're starting to lose their glow they are replaced by the red tulips, which burst forth and last until weeks later, when the large purple alliums take their place.  I should be inspired to be so well organised in the planning of my own garden, which is, I admit, much more haphazard.

The garden has generally fared well over the winter, I still have kale and leeks although not many left of either and I'll probably lift them both out by next week as the kale is starting to shoot.  If you over-winter kale and are happy to let it flower, the display it puts on at this time is really worth it.  I'm nearly due turning the soil in the beds again and lifting out the moss that likes to grow in the back garden veg bed that is closest to the house.  This area is the dampest throughout winter and I'm of a mind to see what bog-friendly plant species I might try in this area.  Bizarrely, the lavender at the front of the house, the driest and sunniest spot, struggles more than the lavender I put at the bottom of the back garden veg beds, the darkest and wettest place.  We make plans, the universe laughs.

Winter is always a good time to focus on indoor plants and so I've added to our vegetation menagerie this year with a variety of cat friendly species.  I also tidied up and repotted the various bromeliads I have in the front window, which seem happier for the larger living quarters.
Prayer plant1 
Prayer plant2 with 2 african violets and a baby fern
Bromeliads & cacti in cat napping window
Spider plant, aloe & fern as a screen in upstairs bathroom

I reckon I have another two weeks of prepping the garden for the growing season to come.  I need to wrestle an out-of-control apple tree in the back and I think I'm going to invest in nematodes this year to keep down the slug population, but that should be easy enough to sort.  The job I'm really NOT looking forward to doing involves a drill and securing a trellis to the back (concrete) wall for the clematis.  I've been putting it off for years and its time to bite the bullet.  I've all my veg & herb seeds (I think, unless I get tempted by some unusual heritage variety) so its just a matter of deciding what to plant where.

Sin é! As the days lengthen may you & yours enjoy the fine stretch in the evening.


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