Signs of life…

I can finally smell it in the air, feel it in my stomach, I can sense that spring has started. I love this feeling. Every gardener knows what I mean.

I miss my weeding job, running around the garden with buckets of water to save the thirsty, I even miss digging. The temperature has risen lately and a little rain and some watering made the ground move from the underneath: the spring bulbs are coming!

Here are some narcissus, bulbs in pots are quicker than those in the garden. I made some multi-purpose-pots last autumn, because I don’t like to see just dead bulb foliage after blooming, so I took some cuttings and I planted them together: by the time the cuttings will be ready to transplant the bulbs would be mature enough to be dug up too. Here they are with some buddleja cuttings. They look pretty dead but I think they are not indeed. I love that buddleja, it is a ‘Nanho Blue’ seedling. I didn’t like the parent plant at all: too straight upward and the flowers are… just too blue. The seedling has been found and picked by Ale, in a narrow split on the sidewalk in my previous house. The plant is a soft lilac with very long panicles, free flowering and with a relaxed habit, I just love it.

Other bulbs are growing amongst my favourite salvia (microphylla ‘Navajo’) cuttings. The cuttings were more than fine until just before the cold wind we had for a couple of weeks, now I’m not sure they’re alive, except for one: fingers crossed! As you can see the terracotta pot is falling apart because of the low temperatures (and yeah, ok, I might have dropped it a couple of times…). As you can see the roses behind are rather brown too, because of the dry cold wind, I hope they survive…

Other green things are sprouting from the ground, other roses struggling to stay alive, other grasses I haven’t cut yet in the background… I promise I will asap. Last weekend I just needed something new and fresh to do, rather than chopping grasses, so I planted 6 osmanthus x burkwoodii that will one day grow into cubes and I went on digging that same new bed. I’m looking forward to start planting that bed…

Well, at last they did it! My snowdrops I mean. I thought they would be dead a while ago but a little rain made them come back to the world of the livings and they look pretty good, they will form a clump in some years time.

I received an email from the people at eurobulb.nl: they shipped my summer bulbs (I’ve ordered a few dahlias -yeah, I want to take a chance-, some crocosmias and other things I probably thought I couldn’t live without…), so I assume the stuff is arriving this week. Being rather compulsive I even ordered a few hostas at hostaparadise.com and they wrote me this morning that my stuff has been shipped: hostas might arrive this week too. I think I’m going to have a rather busy weekend, I’ll tell you about it next week!

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26 thoughts on “Signs of life…

  1. What a lot of pots, wonderful to see new life starting again isn’t it Alberto ! And your snowdrops have survived – fantastic, soon you will have drifts of them, spreading everywhere in your garden!

    • Hi Pauline! I know I have quite a lot of pots but I should be able to decrease them by the beginning of summer, I just needed to put the roses into ground quickly (and as it seems it hasn’t been very helpful anyway).
      I saw on your blog that snowdrops are such easy plants and they don’t ask anything, they just increase and bloom: I couldn’t miss them!

  2. Hi Alberto,

    Glad to see you’ve posted a blog! It was only earlier today I was on here wondering where you were 😉

    Also thrilled to see spring is arriving at last for you! I look forward to your spring bulb photos and hope that all your roses have survived 🙂
    Heeheee, so you’ve ordered some Dahlias then… tut tut 😉

    • Yes, Liz, a sign of life from me too… Apparently only you got the double sense of the title! I just collapsed to a catatonic state lately, with no gardening task to do… I need to work harder to improve the garden at this time of the year.

      Yeah I’ve ordered some dahlias, I must admit I’ve ordered quite a few, to be honest… I’ll let you know.

  3. I know what you mean about the dead, slimy bulb foliage after flowering. I also get very annoyed with myself when I keep forking through bulbs in the flower-beds. Pots solve these problems, but they get dug up by squirrels/foxes/cats. Looking forward to seeing the lilac buddleja and hosta collection

    • 🙂 slimy 🙂
      A good old advice is to plant ferns amongst narcissus, so when they finish flowering the ferns cover that hated slimy foliage like curtains at the end of a show. I’ve never had problems with cats or wild animals digging up anything, except for moles but hopefully they spare my pots!

  4. It really is the most exciting thing for the gardener to see a little green coming up. Spring bulbs do make the earth move for the gardener! 😉 Love your snowdrops, and your narcissus should be blooming shortly! Spring is coming!

    • I think they’d need at least another month to bloom but who knows, they grow up very quickly now… I feel like that squirrel of the Ice Age, always restlessly running after something that he never catches… By the time I will have narcissus in bloom I’ll be waiting for the roses and so on…

  5. You’re totally right…there is NOTHING as amazing as those first signs of life in the spring. I get so excited every morning, I can’t wait to walk around and see what else has poked up from the dirt! I should also have a few plants I ordered this winter arriving in the next month or so…I can barely remember what I ordered!

    • I know: they call us compulsive buyers, we can be cured, you know? Ordering on the internet is so easy and quick and you see all those beautiful pictures, especially at this time of the year it is very tricky…

  6. Yes Alberto, the cold, snowy weather made all us gardeners want to hibernate, but now the sun is enticing the shoots from the soil and us out into the garden and into writing a post, signs of life indeed. Christina

    • Don’t tell me! I am actually under a heavy pile of accountancy books and I wish I was out there, getting dirty in my garden… I hope days are going to be longer and longer now, so I can go home and see the garden with a little sun…

  7. I would’ve thought that snowdrops down in Italy were over by now – I think that everything is going to be earlier there but obviously not. No sign of my dahlia order being delivered – must chase them up. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Actually they were out about one month ago but I think they got scared by the cold wind… Anyway, English think of Italy as a very exotic place, as if it was South Africa but in the north we have colder winters than UK.

  8. Hi Alberto
    Glad you compulsively bought snowdrops. They ARE essential. But clearly you have too many pots and should ship me some the next time you send over a gondola, especially if you are going to just drop them all. Still, I can see that you are very sick with Spring Fever and I do understand– I look forward to getting it myself every year!

    • Hey Linnie! Yesterday I received my summer bulbs and I stayed in the stable potting dahlias until past midnight! I am very curious to see what these dahlias will do. I would send you some pots over, so you can water them and keep an eye on them for me…

      I guess my problem is that I compulsively buy too many things…

  9. Hi Alberto,
    Yes, you are further back than we are, even in frigid Scotland. I think I would find your climate very hard to live with – freezing one moment, baking hot the next.

    • Hi Mr. K! I do prefer english climate too, I hate temperatures above 20-25°C but I think we’ll be wearing short sleeves in one month time…
      You have also a different sun radiation which anticipates or delays some plants, I’ve learnt it reading English gardening books and trying to copy their approach…

  10. Hi Alberto, Spring is clearly in the air. Encouraging sign of life in your pots, Roses are looking a bit dodgy. I take it dahlias have not always been a plant which you favour.

    • Yes you are right. I mean I like dahlias but apparently they don’t like me… I’m giving a big try this year with about 10 different species: if it fails I won’t plant any more dahlia for my entire life.
      I am seriously worried about my roses too… Let’s wait and see what happens, there’s nothing else I can do for them actually.

  11. Fingers crossed for your roses – I forget if they were bare-rooted when you got them? If they turn out to be dead, I would overwinter the next lot wrapped in sacking rather than potting them. Interested in your osmanthus. With me, o.burkwoodii is very slow growing. O.delavayi does much better here.

    • I’ve chosen burkwoodii because it grows slower than others osmanthus. I need to trim 6 small cubes and slow growing plants stay more in shape.
      What to say about roses? Let’s pray. I’ve potted them because at the moment it seemed the smartest thing to do, winter was mild and I hoped for some early buds on them… The cold cold and dry past couple of months weren’t predictable.

  12. It is exciting to see those bulbs coming up! Did all of your plants arrive on time? By now you must be tired from all the work you did over the weekend, but gardening produces the best kind of tiredness, I think.

    • It does indeed! I go back home from the garden when the sun goes down (sometimes even later), maybe I’m shouted but happy and relaxed and full of new projects for the following sunday…
      The stuff always arrived on time, today I even received my hostas, still haven’t opened them yet though. I have more problems with italian suppliers, I canceled my last iris order months ago because after paying them they never send the stuff and they lost my order. You try, you learn. (I had my money back at the end though!)

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