It's been quite whirlwind month here - good and bad. To begin with the bad: my second chocolate Burmese cat was put to sleep early in the month.
Fortunately Aldi had a special offer on Magnolia soulangeana (already marked in my diary since I'd been planning to plant two in the Hornbeam Gardens). So he's sleeping peacefully down below now, bless his affectionate little soul. Unfortunately they did not have a special offer on chocolate Burmese kittens; I had to make do with gazing at pictures of them on the internet for hours that night.
Nick says the cats will rightly be frightened of the month of March from now on (beware the ides and all that ...), since this is the second year running we have lost a chocolate boy in this month. We have two little brown (nervous) ones left, dreading the arrival of next March. My second post ever on this blog was about the first chocolate boy, Musha, now fertilising a spectacular growth (after only one year!) on Rose 'Blairii No. 2' in the Iris Garden. Below are pictures of Eirig being comforted by a friend on the night before his death and the amazing basal growth on Musha's rose. Always fertilise your young roses with dead cats.
The Long Border (below) is cleared for planting in April and there are plenty of tulips coming up (cheap from, you guessed it, Aldi.) I was very excited to see I had acquired a little Anemone nemerosa - possibly on the roots of the hosta given me by a friend last year. I'm still anxiously awaiting the arrival of the hosta itself, and I've found plenty of holes in the grass in front of the border indicating the activity of the voles. But no lives lost yet, and Syringa 'Charles Joly' is restored to his place on the Long Border (he was savaged last year and left with just a few roots). Note to one of the remaining Burmese cats: you are no longer allowed in the house Dill. Out there and on with it!
So much to say, so much to do, but I'm off to a good start for this year. Before I go, just a few plants that have made me happy in the course of the last month.
Lots to hope for (below). I noticed that my red peonies thrust their way through the ground earlier than the pink. Although the pink are in a much warmer position, I am only seeing their little noses now, virtually the last day of March. The red have been warming me with their colours for the last fortnight.
Meanwhile rose 'Souvenir de la Malmaison' is already budding up - in March! A little more as per schedule are the buds on 'Canary Bird' and R. banksiae 'Lutea' - this last is going for the 'chapeau', to my great delight, since it has only been in the ground for a year.