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My garden in pictures March

George says:
George says: "Keep calm and carry on gardening"

Blog: The first day of British Summertime and it snows…

Gardening has kept me sane in the face of all the coronavirus madness. As well as a way of keeping fit and getting fresh air, it has enabled me to have a structure to my day and to get physically tired, so I sleep better.

On the downside, I’ve really overdone it and have strained/pulled my right forearm muscles and ligaments. I also fell over on Saturday sorting seeds while sitting on the floor, bashing and bruising my ribs on a footstool when I got up!

The ‘auld enemy’ of Geordies – a north/north-easterly wind blasting in from the Arctic/Baltic/Siberia* (delete as appropriate) – made a guest appearance this weekend, with snow showers on Sunday. At least it has given me time to heal and reflect on how much the garden has come on in the last couple of weeks.

Getting the pots in order

Time to start moving them into their permanent homes instead of just huddling in a group near the drive. This year, plants rescued from my mam’s back garden joined the throng, contributing to my knackered arm!

I do my best to have them grouped in similar materials but that never works. And this year we have the ‘coffins’ – I dislike them but can’t throw them out – they’ve been relegated to the top of the garden.

There are some great real chimney pots from my mam’s and two enormous and unstable plastic ones – now to be home to two hardy fuchsias.


It seems we’re living on giant Italian parsley and assorted kale at the moment, with the odd late spring onion thrown in. However, the next generation is coming on – lovely apricot Kioto and Japanese blood plum Lizzie blossoming away.

Spring stars

Spring’s really busting out all over! From daffodils Thalia and Sweetness to the deep purples of Vinca minor and Ajuga Catlins Giant and the pinky orange-reds of Chaenomeles japonica and Pieris japonica, it’s great to take a few minutes to enjoy the glories of the season.

Sprucing up the beds

There’s been a lot of reconstruction work going on in the long and tropical borders – they’re a bit bare but that’s space for annuals (sunflower Sonja and Californian poppy Jelly Beans).

In the sunny end of the long bed, the Stipa gigantea and one of the big Euphorbias has gone (for the rest of the casualties see here). The red hot poker and scraggy Weigela variegata have both had good trim backs, while the self-seeded rockets has been thinned.

In the tropical bed, the Stipa there has been moved to give the apricot roses (Leah Tutu and Crown Princess Margareta) more space and the Perovskia has gone. The ornamental rhubarb (Rheum palmatum) has a new home in a much better place here and there will be more dwarf sunflower Sonja here.

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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