Week 7: Andover Garden Watch 2020 – a very special spring

This seventh week is the mid point of this surreal spring season in which we watch colour and beauty emerge on each and every day. Halfway to mid-summer’s day, the advance guard subsides, and new joys await….

Sunday 3 May 

The fences here have all been put to work – supporting the trained mulberry and cherry trees, ceanothus and honeysuckle bushes, several climbing clematis and of course roses. The rose below will grace the compost bin in the coming weeks


There are plenty of plants waiting in the wings for their debuts:

Crocosmia Lucifer, the humble chive, Sisyrinchium Striatum Aunt May and finally the reluctant mulberry tentatively makes its appearance.

Monday 4 May 

Our porch is deliberately multi-functional. Log store in the winter as well as a sanctuary for tender plants, in the spring it becomes a seedling factory and tomato nursery. My squirrelling habits served me well this year; I had saved any number of peas and sweetcorn seeds as well as sweetpeas and poppies, nigella and cornflowers.

And you can just see the bright blue of the flag of the European union which has been defiantly flying in the porch since the 12 December 2019

One reader has asked for more wildlife. The otters are elusive, though our neighbour saw one here a month ago. The hedgehog has been sighted.  Fishing herons are more common in the winter months, and the kingfishers fly too fast (though I have older photos of all four taken from the garden – a final flourish in week 13 perhaps?)

But here are today’s visitors:

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Tuesday 5 May 

The river brings us lots of surprises. I got very excited this morning by the possibility of another ‘objet trouvé’. Look closely at the bottom LHS of this photo:


Yes – another ball washed down stream to add to the collection kept for use by the grandchildren. It should have been easy to retrieve, but it was bigger than my net and this one got away. A bit like the legendary salmon… Very galling.

In fact today had several frustrations and disappointments.

Gardeners need reliable tools. For many years we have had a set of hand tools that are both beautiful and functional; well balanced, finely crafted – a joy to use.

But today the oldest of them broke.  Over the years they have suffered various indignities; bent tines on the hand fork; handles ruined by long sojourns in the compost bin into which they have been carelessly thrown from a bucket, along with weeds and debris.

Originally designed and made by Hortus Ornamenti, we were thrilled when we discovered that West’s of East Dean still have some of the metalware in stock AND re-handled the more dilapidated items. These are treasured possessions.

Wednesday 6 May

Back to the garden! The early morning sun catches the alders now in full leaf




And the sedum (of which there are lots above) are now perfect spheres

The eccentric allium continue to show off, while the new leaves from the Rosa Rubra (formerly Rosa Glauca) already carry that gorgeous rich dusky pink hue

Thursday 7 May

The army of allium at its best. Another ‘borrowed’ landscape – the neighbour’s hedge. The obelisks, of which we have four, are homemade to a unique design


Yellows are giving way to pinks. The pretty weed shyly hides beneath a box ball, while the interloper allium originating in the back garden certainly isn’t white!

Friday 8 May : 75 years since the end of war in Europe – a quiet affair this year 

The white foxgloves are a delight – especially without the pink reversions !

The herb garden braces itself for the energetic fennel, which starts modestly


But quickly transforms into statuesque, graceful plumes and flower heads

The chives follow suit, though with less ambition; the lime tree beyond the fence rather belatedly breaks leaf, and the lilies of the valley perfume the bins

Saturday 9 May 

Another week passes of relentless sunshine !

We say farewell and thank you to the glorious wisteria; we greet the equally glorious clematis and we wait with bated breath to see what the allium do next


The weather is set to change according to the forecast from 25 degrees C today to around 11 degrees C on Monday, with near freezing temperatures at night.

Meanwhile the allotment is already producing asparagus and artichokes; the onions and garlic threaten to bolt; the strawberries are in flower; the potatoes need banking and the sweetcorn advances. Peas go in next! I’d like some rain!





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