'Gardens are not made by singing 'Oh how beautiful', and sitting in the shade'-Rudyard Kipling

I do love a quote! I was reminded of this by Kipling as the weather through March has seen me wallowing in mud one day and the next being in a T-shirt, whilst desperately trying to work through the list of jobs to get the garden prepared for summer. Hey! It is all good fun and there is nothing better than seeing the snowdrops and then the daffodils emerge to remind us that the season is changing. So what has been happening this month?

The new cutting garden is ready to rock!

This month has been particularly busy trying to get the new cutting garden ready for production. Until recently, the majority of our flowers came from the cottage garden borders. It is not my intention to stop this, as there are some lovely unusual varieties, that make great additions to bouquets but I wanted to expand the range of cut flowers that can be offered.

The planning of the area began in August and the 'build' started in September with the arrival of the polytunnel. After getting that up, other jobs took over and the winter hit. This month the focus returned and any spare time has gone in to making the no-dig beds, building a work shed, erecting rabbit fencing, planting the bareroot hedge and laying down a mulched area for the young perennial plants to stand out.

A great fertiliser find..

I think I might have mentioned that we inherited loads of farm waste when we moved here-I am forever digging up buried silage wrap and bits of farm machinery. However, I made a great find a few weeks ago at the back of the barn. There was an enormous pile of logs left there which has taken us 4 years to use. As we got to the bottom of it, I realised that there was a few tons of wood mulch. Needless to say, that has gone to make the perennial standing area. What was an even better find as I finished moving it, was a mass of silage wrap hiding some pure gold! The barn had housed cattle at one time and when the farmer had decided to put the logs there, he had just covered a few feet deep of manure and put the logs on top-enough rotted manure to keep me going for a couple of years. What a bonus! The perennial borders are now getting a generous helping-straight from the cows that lived here years ago! I love a bit of recycling!

The prairie garden...

Two days were spent clearing and weeding the prairie garden. This is an area I am still learning about as the first phase went in last year. The good news is that the majority of the grasses have survived the deluges of rain we have had this winter, so for once, our dry, shillit has helped the plants. The bad news is that I have lost some plants but you live and learn with gardening. Some of the annual grasses appear to have seeded but I am growing more- just in case. This year the area will be harvested to supply dried flowers and grasses. I have learnt so much about grasses as a result of having this area and in particular what to cut back and when to divide-it is not nearly as simple as growing the cottage garden flowering perennials that I love so much. I so wish I could have an hour with Piet Oudolf to learn more about plant and grass combinations! If any of you are thinking of starting a prairie garden I would definitely advise to do it. The colour and structure is wonderful and watching the grasses waft in the breeze is a tonic in itself.

Finally seeds and plants..

The polytunnel has been working hard nurturing seeds and young plants. These will go into the borders and cutting garden and a selection will be added to our shop as they become ready. As ever, I have been too impatient to get seeds started which has resulted in some having to be re sown but others have absolutely bolted away. All in all a busy month. Id love to hear what you have been doing in your gardens this month so do share your stories in the comments...until April...

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