I’ve recently planted broad-leafed lime trees to act as a screen to cover up the background of a town that we overlook. I planted ten of them along a hedge line with wooden stakes, tree guards, ties and Rootgrow. They will grow up to 35 metres tall and the broad leaves will make an effective screen, but also wildlife love these trees; including bugs, birds and bees, moths and butterflies and their caterpillars. Hopefully, they will create a fantastic screen in about 10 years’ time; I’ll let you know…
I have committed to ensuring that they’re looked after by watering if necessary in the summer if it gets to drought conditions and keeping the base clear of weeds or grass so that rain and nutrients feed the trees, not the grass.
We are on limestone with a clay topping and opposite us is a farm with a line of ancient lime trees, apparently dating back to Elizabethan times, over 400 years old, which look gnarly and characterful, however, they do take a long time to grow into the magnificent trees seen today. The Chinese saying that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago and the second-best time is to plant now, certainly rings true.
I have also just planted some wallflowers in our newly created formal garden area, where we have also planted a beech hedge, which will reflect the beech hedge that is on one side of our drive. I do like beech hedging with beautiful green leaves throughout the summer, the changes over the autumn and even now retaining their russet-coloured leaves.
The wallflowers will bring a buzz of colour from yellow, red, orange and pink and look particularly good when planted with tulips to give the spring a sense of occasion.
I even gave in to my romantic side and gave my wife a shrub rose, Fritz nobis, for Valentines’ Day, and I will be giving one to my mother for Mothering Sunday – at the end of this month, on 31st March. As our March newsletter pointed out, don’t buy droopy garage flowers for your mother, get her a rose, plant it for her, put a ribbon around it and show it off on the day.
Bulbs, bulbs, beautiful bulbs – these were planted over the past few years, but supplemented this year to give a real sea of daffodils down our drive. It really makes you feel a sense of change and plans begin to ferment for the rest of the garden for the summer; with cosmos and sweet peas being two of the flowers that we grow in pots and planters around the kitchen and what we call our garden room.
It is an interesting time of year for the gardener, last weekend was wet and windy, the week before a heatwave, this week rather rainy with cold evenings. The planting season for hedging, ornamental trees and fruit trees can go on through March and April, with cosmos and sweet peas taking over.
It really is the perfect time of year to plant.