My garden was in a bit of a sorry state by the end of last year and although I've made a start on getting it all back together again, it's going to take quite a bit of work. I've decided that if I devote Thursdays to being in the garden - outside if it's fine and in the greenhouse if it's cold - then it should only take a month or so for me to get back on track again.
So far, I've done some clearing out and some cutting back. With the help of small daughter, my wooden pencils are all newly painted and ready to be put back into the ground. I'm all ready for my new strawberry runners to be delivered at the end of March, and I've ordered some new perennial plants too, which will help to fill a few gaps (assuming that the slugs and snails don't munch them all before they've had chance to grow).
Today was cold and windy - an ideal day to finish clearing out the greenhouse. Not only have I got a seed stash thing going on, I'm also a terrible hoarder of plant pots. I always like to hang onto used plant pots thinking that I'll re-use them, but in reality I have more than enough already and often the ones I'm hoarding aren't the sort that I'd want to re-use anyway. It didn't take too long, luckily, and I was able to get started on my seed stash. As you can see, my essentials are all there on my potting tray ... pots, plant labels, seeds, mug of tea and solar/wind-up radio. I love my radio - it's years old now (newer versions look like this) but it works very well. It's best in the sunshine as the charge from winding it doesn't last very long - the number of times I've thought a song was fading out and then realised it was the battery!
My normal method with seeds is not to plant them all in one go. It's sensible advice that any gardener will give you, simply because sometimes there are hundreds of seeds in one packet and you really don't want to be pricking that many seedlings out. However, I have a serious stash to deal with and some of the seeds are quite old now so instead of throwing them out, I've just planted the lot. I've put them in larger trays so that if they germinate, I can simply split the trays up and pot them on more easily. Having said that, I'm not entirely sure what I'll do with 25 sunflowers - maybe I should have thought of that before I planted all the seeds!
Some of the seeds need to go in the propagator as it's still cold at night. I could bring them into the house but these are just a few of the pots that I've started off today - I could easily fill every windowsill in the house and then probably a few more, so that's not really an option.
On my way back into the house, I stopped to admire the hellebores along the path. I transplanted lots of hellebore seedlings a couple of years ago and it's taken them until this year to start flowering. Most of them are white or shades of pink, but look at this one! I just love those speckly petals!
I also spotted some purple crocus heads just beginning to flower. I planted hundreds of crocus bulbs when we first moved here and the mice ate the lot. I don't know how these ones managed to survive, but I'm glad they did.
This is another bulb which appears to be a tasty treat for the mice - Anemone blanda. It's a beautiful cornflower blue and closes up at night like a daisy. There was a sudden flash of sunshine so I snapped a photo quick! I've found two flowers this year, out of the masses of bulbs that I planted. There must have been some very fat mice walking around our garden the year I planted all of these!
It's tempting for me to say that I haven't done enough in the garden today - I can always look around and see more to do - but knowing that I've given myself a day a week to get stuck in makes me feel better and I know that by the summer it will be looking much more like the garden I've got in mind.
Hope you've managed to stay warm and dry today!