Diary of an Orkney Gardener – February 2019

 In Blog, Caroline Kritchlow

Have you missed getting garden news from our intrepid reporter in the North?  I know we have.  Catch up on the latest news from Caroline’s garden in Orkney.

I am waiting in anxious trepidation for the imminent emergence of my rarest snowdrop Galanthus plicatus ‘Wendy’s Gold’. Its flat silvery leaves and yellow calex are a thing of beauty, but I could only afford one bulb and it hasn’t got a great reputation for being particularly resilient. Lady Catherine Erskine who has the RHS collection of snowdrops at Cambo gardens supplied this little diva and gave me detailed planting instructions. The delicate treasure has been obediently planted on gravel within a pond basket and labelled assiduously, however it seems to be popping up about a foot to the left. So, the question has to be asked, is it my treasure or a curious galanthus imposter? We will just have to be patient for a bit longer and wait and see.

The primulas have never stopped blooming since last September and have cheered up the long days of winter with their cheeky brilliant yellow blooms. They now look particularly pretty as last October I planted Iris reticulata amongst them. The delicate blue blooms punctuating the mass of canary yellow…

As usual the rest of the garden has taken its usual winter hit of damage. The courtyard garden walls were topped with a willow trellis but last months 90mph gales took down every panel and will need to be replaced ready to protect the spring blooms. This is a jolly expensive enterprise as each panel costs £30 and I need six. Sometimes, it does get a bit disheartening when so much of my meagre gardening budget gets taken up with replacements and repairs.

On a positive note the green netting which was re-erected after blowing away in December, has stayed in place with the numerous additional flying buttresses Kevin has installed. Though not the prettiest, they have protected the long borders and the Escallonia. For the first time this supposed evergreen has held onto waxy green leaves as opposed to its usual brown, crispy February offering. Usually it is June before it recovers fully from the rigours of the winter. Other plants will also have benefited from the wind protection and it should give the garden a bit of a head start as opposed to the usual winter setback.

Pot planted with Uncinia rubra and cyclamen still going strong.

It’s going to be another big year for the garden with the Orkney Garden Festival fast approaching and I have a new garden to build and every extra week gained is precious…but more of that next time. Belated Happy New Year and roll on March!!


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