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Sandie’s life in the garden – First day of spring

I cannot believe it is the first day of spring-March 20th. Where has the time flown.

Here in Dorset, we have had a mild winter with lots of rain. Now, the daffodils are opening, and many tulips, with some already flowering.

There are more and more each year. I have spent many hours relaxing and splitting the bulbs whilst having a mug of tea. I do this when they have died back. When all are done, I sometimes put them into large containers, old wooden barrels and even the odd chimney. The different heights of the containers make a wonderful backdrop in the courtyard area of the garden, especially at this time of year when the bright blue muscari (grape hyacinth) are in full bloom.

At the front, these little plants make up in colour what they lack in height. Splendid when mixed with  daffodils and tulips. I am lucky this year to have a stoney soil which I usually moan about, but now I am thankful for it, because with all the heavy rain I am not suffering from flooding as so many are. However, this type of soil needs compost adding, as much goodness is leached away by the rain. I have cleared a large area at the far end of the garden, out of sight from the house. Here, all the leaves and grass are collected where they will break down into compost ready to add to the borders. More is still needed which I can purchase from Country Gardens. This is needed for the remaining parts of the border and the many pots that abound inside and outside the house. The grass also needs raking to get rid of any moss after all the rain. Once it is aeriated the grass grows back quickly. I have also noticed how much the west facing border has encroached on the grass area. I was looking through some old photos of the garden and was shocked how at least two feet of lawn has been lost to the border. I then cleared back two feet, keeping some of the bulbs that had sprung up and masses of the dreaded ground elder. I spent too much time slowly teasing the roots loose and digging down as far as possible to gently pull them out. Only time will tell.

Having raked over the cleared soil, I was now ready to order the turf. Sherborne Turf delivered about one and a half square meters in 5 or 6 rolls and kindly staggered them along the border for me. They were very heavy. By now it was getting late, so I left them in place until the next morning. Not the best idea. It rained heavily overnight and so the rolls of turf were even heavier. I had to roll and drag them into place. Not for the faint hearted. I laid them out quite quickly after all the  puffing and heaving, cutting the edges into a curved shape to match the border edges. Any small pieces I put into gaps. I am afraid I was a little adrift with my measurements and still have a few spaces which I am filling with grass seed.

Watch this space!

How are you getting your garden ready for spring? Tell us in the comments

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