Monthly Archives: March 2022

March 2022 on a cold but sunny Edinburgh day.

 We have had some wet, windy, gloriously sunny and warm days in March, but are now back to very chilly weather and it is trying to snow/hail/sleat in between sunny spells.  No wonder the frogs left it a little later this year to spawn.  In 2019 and 2020 the first spawn in our pond was spotted  in February (in 2020 it was as early as the 5th) but this year the first spawn was on the 18th March.  We can now count about 7 clumps of spawn which means there are at least 7 female frogs around the pond.  We haven’t seen any newt spawn yet.

7 clumps of frog spawn 18th March 2022
Frog spawn 18/03/22

Some areas of the garden are looking better than others right now.  The stumpery is looking fine as some the spring bulbs are coming through such as the narcissi and chinadoxa,  some of the primroses, anemones, pulmonaria, hellebores, vinca and erythroniums are in flower now.  Although some of the narcissi have gone over, there are others still to come out.  Some of the tulips are just ready to open.  A couple of shrubs that have scented flowers: the mahonia out the front, and the lonicera fragrantisima and osmanthus burkwoodii out the back are flowering well.  There have been quite a few bees and butterflies out in the warmer days taking advantage of these flowers.

I found this dark edged bee fly ( Bombylius major) sitting on a tulip leaf as it was watching a wasp very closely.  I have just read about it, and have found out that the bee fly will follow wasps and single bees to their nest, they will then gather some sandy soil with their feet, and flick this, along with their eggs, near the entrance to the wasp/bee nest.  The larva will attach itself to a wasp/bee and it will be taken into the nest where it will then find a wasp/bee larva to feed on.  After which it will turn into a pupa, hatch and fly away undetected.

wasp and bee fly on a tulip leave
Bombylius major (dark edged bee fly)

I will need to put the pot of Iris Katharine’s gold in a better place for next year.  It is one of the earliest flowering plants in the garden and I had the pot under the garden bench just to protect it from some of the heavy rain.  By the time I remembered it was there it was almost finished flowering.

Iris Katharine's gold in a pot
Iris Katharine’s gold

 There are lots of jobs still to do:  over the wall is now rather overgown and needs a good sorting out.  The vinca major is now acting like a climber and is growing up the fence and smothering the hydrangea petiolaris.  It actually looks ok but it needs cutting back.  There are ferns and lots of few-flowered-leek popping up everywhere so they will need to come out.  The ivy needs to be kept in check.  I am going to be quite ruthless now and any plant not earning it’s keep must go.  I have started getting rid of some of the plain brunnera in the stumpery.  It does look ok when it is in flower but it is rather plain and I wish I had planted the Jack frost version instead.  I had let a few hellebore seedlings grow a few years ago but I don’t actually like the colour of the flower so it has gone now to another home.  I don’t bin these but they go to other peoples gardens, or the local park takes any plants that would do well in the park.  I also put them in the plant sale at the Duddingston Kirk Garden Club plant sale (which this year will be held on Saturday 30 April 10:30 – 12:00).

CVinca major growing up and over hydrange petiolaris
Overgrown vinca major all over hydrangea petiolaris

Here is the view from the patio.  You can just see in the background one of the large ash trees has had a huge bough snap off during the strong winds.  The entire tree is pretty dead and I think most of the ash trees in that golf course are going to have to come out.  That is good news for us as we may get more sunshine into the garden.  What with all the shade from the trees and all the recent rain, the ‘sunny’ border hasn’t been able to dry off very well.  I have lost the nepeta again this year which were in the ‘sunny’ border.  I will just hae to keep taking cuttings each year.

view of the garden from the patio
View from the patio

This is how the stumpery is looking right now.  I love the dappled shade in this woodland area, and spring and early summer is the best time of year here before the tree canopy develops allowing less sunshine to get through. The whole garden will soon have plenty of colour.

The stumpery in March 2022
Stumpery in March 2022