2 Apr 2017

Ransoms, rhubarb + rosemary beetles - My March Garden



The garden has really come alive in the past few weeks so this End of Month look-back makes for a really useful record for future years. March is the first month of spring in the gardening calendar but I don't remember seeing spring unfurl quite this quickly before. By mid-March, February's hellebores, snowdrops and crocuses had given way to primroses and daffodils. The little violets that I look forward to each year have been and gone but primulas, muscari, wood anemones and forget-me-nots have opened in their place. I breathed a sigh of relief that winter was over and spring beginning with all the anticipation for getting the garden started again.

~ Some of the tulips in the spring border ... All from a £5 supermarket bag
except, top left, 'Exotic Emperor' from Sarah Raven ~


But that rapid turnover wasn't the end of it. By 20th March, I was posting photos of open tulips on my Instagram feed. The crocuses in the sieve planter had been replaced by bright red dwarf tulips, the borders were brightened by purple wallflowers, honesty, cerinthe, cowslips, primulas and lungwort (a name that does no justice to pretty Pulmonaria) - even the pear tree had buds about to blossom.

Main pic pear blossom
Right row from top: blueberries, honeyberries, strawberries
Bottom row from left: quince, gooseberries, apple, plum

In the last week of March tulips were in full swing, beautiful white daffodils had bloomed and died (so quick!), petal confetti from fruit tree blossom covered the garden and regular pickings could be taken from rhubarb stems and purple sprouting broccoli.  (As well as overwintered kale and chard.)



The weather of course has been all over the place which explains the early arrival of so many flowers. Temperatures up and down like yoyos, clear blue skies tempting us outside into bitingly cold winds only to be followed by mild cloudy days. We've even had a couple of days when it felt hot like early summer. No wonder spring is rushing by! Hopefully April will be a steadying influence on the garden - I've already had to get the hosepipe out for the plants in the middle garden waiting to go into the soil. I'm also on a daily watch for rosemary beetle - there have been nibblings on my lavender (I can't grow rosemary here anymore thanks to these brutes) and I must have squished 30+ beetles in the past few weeks, with bonus points for the ones getting busy with the baby making.




I was curious to see whether spring was this early last year and checked back on photos.  The first tulip opened on the 2nd April but it took until the 11th before the display had any impact. A similar story is repeated throughout the garden - asparagus shoots, ransom buds, cherry and apple blossom are all a good two weeks ahead of last year as is the rhubarb (first pickings were on 16th April last year).

Spring has definitely come a good two to three weeks early here in the South of England. Mild winter? Climate change? All I know is that four years ago settling snow fell in the run up to a bloggers meet up at Great Dixter on the 28th March. I remember it clearly because the meet up was two days after my birthday and it was my first visit to Dixter. I was desperate to go and, serendipitously, the snow melted away on the day.  This year, I'd have driven down to Sussex in warm sunshine. It will be very interesting to see what effect this has on the garden in weeks to come. Let's hope that it doesn't mean we'll get autumn in July!

Linking to 
Helen's End of Month View for March at the Patient Gardener
and to Sarah's Through the Garden Gate at Down by the Sea

and looking forward to reading how everyone else's plots and gardens are faring.




16 comments:

  1. It is lovely tp see everything coming alive in your garden. It's interesting to hear that Spring appears to be 2 weeks earlier than last year. Thank you for joining me too looking at the progress of the garden each month. Sarah x

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    1. It must be getting slightly warmer in the south, Sarah - I see that your garden is a couple of weeks ahead as well. Thanks for adding my link to your post! Caro x

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  2. Beautiful flowers, fantastic photos. I remember being at Jekka's Herb Garden last year when she pounced on a rosemary beetle. Mountains of rhubarb here today. I was down at the allotment earlier and my plot neighbour is giving up his plot so he told me to help myself to rhubarb. He's keeping on another half-plot that he has. Rhubarb everything for the next few weeks! Gloriously warm here today. I uncovered my asparagus earlier on and found a handful of early shoots under the plastic - presumably because it's extra warm under there. Hope you have a good week. CJ xx

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    1. It was Jekka that first alerted me to rosemary beetles after a visit to her herb nursery. Gosh, she would have to be super vigilant if they've found all her lovely herbs! No wonder she pounced! My asparagus is not doing anything yet - one skinny shoot, that's all. I know it's early days but I feel this might be the last year for the asparagus, although it's possible that I'll move it up to the allotment. Hope you get a nice replacement plot neighbour, one who keeps the weeks under control! Wishing you a good week too - Easter hols, so I expect you'll be busy! Cxx

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  3. Replies
    1. Thank you Endah. I picked a few tulips for the house yesterday as a treat. It's not something that I usually do as I like to see them blooming in the garden where everyone can enjoy them.

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  4. The climate changes every year doesn't it as any gardener knows. Next year it most likely will change again!

    I hope that those beetles don't travel northwards.

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    1. I think if you look on the RHS website you'll see that they already have, Sue. There's an interesting video that shows their spread over a twenty year period: https://youtu.be/y-BUNHiA1N4 For organic gardeners, the only solution is to squish them if you value your lavender or rosemary!

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    2. I'd better keep a lookout then

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  5. I had never heard of Rosemary beetle before, so I have just read up on it. I am obviously very fortunate not to have them.

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    1. Hi Libby, welcome to my blog - I've enjoyed having a quick read of yours, too! I thought the same when I first heard of rosemary beetles and then noticed that my rosemary was looking particularly ragged - and then spotted the beetles. Grrr! I now know just to keep looking and try to keep one step ahead of them but I know it's a battle that I won't win.

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  6. I thought of you on Sunday Caro when I spied some tendrils of bindweed shooting up at the allotment. I hope that your plot has escaped. You are ahead of us when it comes to pear blossom - my trees have just opened their flowers in the last couple of days. The apples have still to show. Fingers crossed that frost is not on the cards. I echo Sue's comment - those rosemary beetles look attractive but we don't want them!

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    1. Have a look at the RHS video of their distribution over the past twenty years, Anna - I really hope that your area of the country has escaped so far but they seem to be quite widespread. Obviously they've adapted to our climate like so many other pests brought over from abroad. And I'm afraid I haven't escaped the bindweed! The beds that I've dug over seem to be free but I noticed several tendrils sprouting among the raspberry canes last weekend and there's not a lot I can do about that except to keep chopping it back! Wishing you a good week!

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  7. Spring has sprung early here too, it was really late last year, the rescue was quiet for ages chick-wise then got absolutely hammered! I love those tulips, such lovely colours, and all for a fiver? You can't argue with that!
    Our weather is up and down as well, but like you we have the pear and plum blossom out, hoping any young fruits don't get blown off. Soooo glad those beetles haven't arrived here...yet!
    Happy belayed birthday, hope you had a good one.xxx

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    1. Thanks, Dina - birthday was nice and quiet and filled with gardening so can't really ask for more! Will probably go out with my son when he returns from uni next week for a belated celebration. The tulips are brilliant aren't they? I've planted more up at the allotment for cutting, so I have some for cheering up the community garden and some for me indoors! Yay! Great that you've got some spring weather too up in Liverpool, it's so exciting to have the world waking up around us again! C xx

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  8. Beautiful!Your Garden is definitely alive.Love the tulips,Spring is such a wonderful season.;)

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Caro x

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