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).
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.
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).
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?