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02 March 2009

Come Into My Garden - February

I'm going to do this series of monthly blog posts again as I do like looking back on them when the weather is gloomy and it's lovely to see the garden developing year by year. I've also found them enormously helpful for thinking about what else needs to be done. So these posts are mainly for me.

If you're still reading, here for comparison, is what the garden looked like last February (about six months after it had been installed) and here is what it looks like now.


Everything's filled out a lot more, and even in the depths of winter it has more structure to it than last year. And I'm pleased with how the chairs brighten up even the gloomiest of days.

We've had a lot of snow by Seattle standards this winter and spring seems much further away than it did this time last year, so thank goodness for the hellebores which are romping through the shade garden at the back under the tree and looking truly amazing. I think they may be my favourite plants in the world (they certainly are at the moment).


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The garden designer paired them with sarcococca ruscifolia or sweet box, which this year has beautiful glossy evergreen leaves and shiny black berries - a truly inspired plant pairing. The flowers of the sarcococca are small, white and insignificant, but also give off a most beautiful scent.

I'm also liking the way the hellebores work with the pink-edged heucheras and tiny pink cyclamens I planted last year. Unfortunately the heucheras to the other side of the tree don't appear to have made it through the winter - a shame as they also work hugely well with geranium Anne Folkard in the summer and only one little snowdrop of all the ones I planted last year has so far appeared.  A flurry of snowdrops below would be perfect, so I will buy some more in the green now and try and get them established next year.

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The nandinas have also been in berry and really quite pretty, though I was intrigued to note that this time last year they appeared to be in flower.  The vegetable patch is looking a bit sorry for itself with only the rocket and a few tiny carrots showing through, whereas this time last year we had broccoli and lettuces. Last year we already had tiny narcissus in flower, and this year they're hardly poking up above the ground.

And, finally, in really sad news, I think the snow has done for the beautiful mature orange tree which had been put in by the previous owners. (There appear to be two trees - I'm assuming a male and a female - the one that seems to have died is the female fruiting one).

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             Last February                                                              This February

But really this February, it's been all about the hellebores.


Notes to self: Buy couple of extra hellebores. Plant more snowdrops and tiny cyclamens in pink and white.  Replace dead heucheras next to daphne. Replace orange tree?


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Lovely! Your hellebores are kicking ass! Mine just look like ass. Harrumph. Sad about the orange tree (I lost a lot of plants over the winter, too) - I didn't even know we could grow them outdoors here in the PNW. Do you know what variety it is/was? What did the oranges taste like? (That might seem to be an obvious question, but indulge me!)

I'm going to have to convince you to submit photos for the Heavy Petal garden tour this year!

PS: Nevermind about the orange question! I just read back through last February's post and see that they're nothing to write home about. Too bad. But still... I have a bit of a citrus (colour) theme going on in my garden - why not make it literal with a citrus tree? I'm tempted.

I would love to submit photos! (As long as it's just photos and not lots of people trampling on the lawn and tutting over the weeds..)

Also please yes, do get an orange tree. Then you can find out which variety I need to buy and give me advice. That tree was planted close to the house against a south facing wall, so it got a ton of sunshine. It's also under some quite high eaves, so I don't think it got as much rain as it could have done. I think I'll definitely plant another one, it was too cheerful not to...

When should one decided to yank out the dead ones from this past snowy cold Seattle winter?

I have a possible dead jasmine, dwarf elm, and possible snowdrop tree that may have gone too.

Did you take down your orange tree or are you waiting?

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