Brightening up the shady garden

Last Tuesday, we ventured out into the London Road station gardens for the first work session of this year. Two of us cleared weeds and straggly plants from the raised beds in the edible growing area and dug over the soil. It’s a bit soggy at the moment and benefitted from getting some aeration. In both plots, the soil is looking rich and moist with lots of worms, thanks to our liberal layering of compost in the autumn. We also cut back the autumn raspberry canes in pots and I’ve given them a top dressing of sulphur of potash.

3.15 PolyanthusAt this time of year, as we finally feel spring is out there somewhere but are not quite sure when it will arrive, the gardens are looking tired. We’ve been blessed these last few days in Brighton with bright days and no rain, so it was a good time to freshen the soil and bring some colour into the shady garden. Two local shops have been selling cheap and cheerful primula and I managed to pick up 16 for not very much. They are not distinguished or subtle plants, but their unashamedly bright colour is a boon in the poor light of our early spring. We planted some miniature skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ earlier in the winter and their red flowers and glossy dark leaves work well with the reds and purples of the primula. Daffodils are in bud as is our Mahonia, bringing some splashes of yellow to the shady garden. I also think the fuchsia we planted during the early summer are going to survive: they are twiggy skeletons at the moment, but there was green wood there when I snipped off some of the spindly twigs.

Pansies, a few dwarf daffodils and primula are also flowering in our tree pits. And finally the symmetry at the front of the station has been restored. Another sorbus has been planted to replace the one which got blown down in a storm in October 2013: thank-you, Brighton & Hove Cityparks. We will look after it and water it if we don’t have much rain.


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