Ever since Germaine Greer said that hanging baskets reminded her of heads lining the road to the Forum, I’ve found it hard to like them when used for their intended purpose. But I do find them perfect for discreetly protecting precious or vulnerable plants like these cyclamen. They don’t need to be as decorative as this one.
- Keep an eye out for them in junk shops or car boot sales, avoid white ones which will stand out rather than provide discreet protection.
Things are definitely on the move. Walking round the garden it is great to see the first proper signs of new life. I didn’t spot the Iris unguicularis flower until it was looking quite tatty, but even so it’s a treat. If you’ve got a sunny corner it is a lovely winter flower to include in the garden. I’ve also seen furled cerise buds on the cyclamen and the earliest hellebores are in flower. Then there’s the Daphne odora aureamarginata and Daphne Jacqueline Postill, both of which are showing colour in their buds and will soon spread their divine scent in the cold air.
Daphne odora colouring up and preparing to flower
Sunday’s beautiful weather meant that I could do some proper gardening. I was out in the garden by 9.45am and didn’t come in until 3pm, and then only because we had to go out. In my usual style, I went out intent on doing one thing and in fact did something entirely different. Walking down to the greenhouse I got waylaid by the state of the shady bank on the edge of the path. There were old hellebore leaves that needed removing and as I tidied around them I found the first cyclamen buds begging to be revealed.
One thing led to another and before I knew it I was rebuilding a terrace edge with lengths of branch recently cut from the tulip tree by the Ollie the tree surgeon. The effect is extremely rustic but sturdy and it won’t be long before its deficiencies are disguised by new growth. I did have fun!