The First Cut and The Late Finish.

Waterford, south-east Ireland. 6th March 2021

We, The Head Gardener and I, shared the credits yesterday by separately breaking two spring gardening barriers. This week has seen more activity in the garden than the previous month. We might call it “work” but as we enjoyed it so much that would be inappropriate. Last Sunday and Monday were especially beautiful days, sunny and warm, and we spent all of each day outside. The other days were dry though not at all as warm but that was good enough to allow us spend the days outdoors.

From the garden during the week: Galanthus ‘Lady Moore’ Iris unguicularis ‘Kilbroney Marble’ and Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’

We spent most of the week tidying up the beds, picking any weeds found, some cutting down and pruning where needed and freshening up the surface of the soil. This created quite an amount of material for the compost bin and several hours with the shredder before piling on to the heap. As material was added to one compost heap, I was taking it from another and spreading it on two of the beds – all part of the cycle of gardening.

So, these broken barriers? Mine was the first cutting of the grass. At long last the ground was dry and firm enough to allow me take out the mower and make a cut without doing damage to the soil surface. It’s a good sign that the grass is growing for it shows temperatures are rising and plants are coming into growth. Thankfully, I had managed to cut the grass quite late into the winter so there wasn’t a great amount to collect. There have been years when the weather has warmed, with strong grass growth, while the ground remained so wet that cutting wasn’t possible and eventually there was a lush meadow waiting to be mown.

With grass cutting, grass edging and spreading of compost, I had enough by 4.45p.m. today and went indoor – now, don’t think bad of me for I went and made the dinner for the Head Gardener who was in one of her “lost time” episodes and worked away until after 6p.m. – the second spring barrier broken which I always regard as a bit step forward towards summer and warmer days, more growth, more flowers and more pleasant times in the garden.

For the moment, let’s take a look back in photographs at the past week beginning with the cutting of the grass. Now, obviously, I couldn’t take photographs while on the mower but did take a walk around afterwards – which showed me I had missed one square of grass but I came back to it later. Cutting the grass is a three-phase operation here: most can be cut with the ride-on mower; the push-mower will get the corners where the bigger machine can’t reach and then I trim the edges with a battery-operated strimmer.

And, then there was the compost – I’ll let the photographs tell the story:

Crocus continue to provide lovely patches of colour in the garden. Crocus tommasinianus is first to come into flower and also first to go over but there are still some looking well. It is good to see the crocus attract bees and there was a steady flight of honey bees and bumble bees to the flowers all through the week – I managed to capture one with the camera.

Primulas are a favourite flower of mine, the ordinary everyday primulas that have been grown in old gardens for generations. I imagine many of these are crosses between the native primrose and other garden primulas – the Wanda primulas especially seem to do well in this regard and the crosses lead to nice colours and even the occasional double-flowered crosses. These are simple flowers and the most wonderful flowers of spring.

Hepaticas don’t grow especially well for me but then, perhaps, I don’t give them the attention they require. They came as a gift from a friend who grows them to perfection, each a perfect jewel, and when he offered me plants I told him that I only wanted those which would grow without any attention from me, ordinary ones which would simply get on with the business of growing themselves. They have managed to stay alive and to flower each year and one had been good enough to self-seed and spread it itself about a little – all without any help from me!

The snowdrop season has not finished yet though it is certainly winding down at this stage. I hope I have not repeated too many of those I have posted in previous weeks. In my defense, I can say that these were all photographed during this week and are all still in flower:

It has been a busy week in the garden and elsewhere. It started with A Beautiful Day, then my Zoom talk on our Snowdrop Garden, with another Zoom talk scheduled and there was also a nice book.

I’m sharing this blog with a group of fellow bloggers who contribute to a “Six on Saturday” theme which is hosted by “The Propagator” on his blog site. To read more contributions to the Six on Saturday theme go to The Propagator’s entry for today, scroll down to the comments and you will find other bloggers have posted links to their Saturday entries there. Lots to read!

41 thoughts on “The First Cut and The Late Finish.

    1. I’m up earlier than usual and am surprised to find I have company! We have had a good week’s work here and have put a bit of a shape on the garden.

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  1. The gardens looking good Paddy – very neat and tidy. The photo of the crocus with the bee is fantastic. They were going at the ones here with great enthusiasm too. The hepatica photos are stunning too. You’ll be encouraging more of us to try growing those tricky little gems.

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    1. Helen Dillon used always relate how when Christopher Lloyd visited her garden, he complimented her on how well kept it was. She was fit to strangle him! I heard her on a video snippet, visiting a garden and commenting “you garden is in a beautiful setting” – one must compliment the garden/gardener in some way but it can be difficult to do so and still remain honest! LOL We have had great laughs about her comment.

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      1. There are several clumps of snowdrops which need to be lifted, split and replanted! The job is never done!

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  2. Love the picture of a bee feeding on your crocuses. It seems that your composting process is yielding good results. Do you shred all garden waste and add to the pile or are there some exclusions (weeds, woody material, etc?).

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    1. I shred everything that can be shredded – not paper or cardboard and certain leaves which don’t shred – watsonias, and the likes, which are too stringy. Your link didn’t work earlier by the way, must go back and check again.

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  3. It’s a nice feeling to be back cutting lawns (I cut a customer’s yesterday, although not my own yet). Beautiful compost; the compost heap is the engine room of a good garden!

    A lovely photo of the bee on the crocus flower – it can be surprisingly difficult to get a decent, in focus photo. Also, the three vases look particularly nice.

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  4. Paddy, I have serious Primula Envy … these are a tonic! You gave me some recommendations a few years ago and they are becoming established in my little cottage garden. Thank you!

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  5. The first cut is the deepest, Paddy. You make your posts an art form. Hepaticas are beautiful if demanding plants, I find. And your final flourish of snowdrop varieties is wonderful. Good gardening.

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    1. There may be a few straggling snowdrops left but they have been going since September and other things are catching the eye now – a bit more colour!

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  6. Very nice pictures of hepaticas and primulas … Primroses have spread all over my garden around the greenhouse in recent weeks and the more the years go by, the more I have!
    Good slide show of the compost bin

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  7. You’re doing well with those hepaticas Paddy – glorious. I too have only planted ones which should succeed outdoors with no attention from me but as I said in my blog this week, I’ve only got one returner so far. Keeping my fingers crossed there’ll be more. I read on the Pottertons website that they are very long lived plants and that Rob Potterton has clumps that are 35 years old. Pretty amazing.

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  8. I’ve just come back from dropping off five baby primulas at a friend’s house, as I’ve dug lots up from the lawn to make way for our new path. Still have loads left over. I’m planning to put them all in a glade area with newly purchased hellebores and crocus – this plan is inspired by looking at your photos over the weeks Paddy!

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  9. I see you have clever way of fitting in more than 6 photos. Paddy! Much as I enjoyed looking at your fascinating snowdrop varieties I found your crocus photos especially charming 😊

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      1. Yes, and thinking out of teh box is a great skill. I very rarely just have six photos anyway, although I suppose it would save me time if I did…

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      2. I don’t think – though, I am very new to the group – that it is more than a catchy title for a Saturday post, along the lines of “Wordless Wednesday”

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      3. Oh, good. Collective tongues in cheeks put my mind at ease! I had been doing a kind of weekly review before coming on the Six on Saturday and joined in but was not going to change how I presented things any great deal. If it doesn’t suit, that’s fine!

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    1. Grass is a magic component in the compost bin as it heats it up wonderfully. I have another few hours of shredding waiting for me! Mary has been busy!

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