The Garden Shuffle

It’s been another damp and drizzly week in the garden. Until yesterday, when there were proper blue patches between the clouds, a bit of proper sunshine. And for the first time this year I was able to go outside and do a proper shuffle.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the garden shuffle? It’s one of my favourite things: the slow meander around the garden, usually with cup of tea in hand, not doing, just seeing. It’s when I take the time to properly look at what is happening out there, without feeling I have to do anything about it. (Apart from pulling up the odd weed!) My favourite time to shuffle is first thing in the morning. Ideally the temperature is warm enough for me to go out in my dressing gown. Although we’ve got a while to go before that happens!

Yesterday the sunshine didn’t appear until the afternoon, so a dressing gown would have been entirely inappropriate. But still it was warm enough to wander, and within minutes of being out there, cup of tea and me were shuffling in perfect harmony.

There’s more to see than you might imagine. Snowdrops are opening, yellow aconites are bright against the brown earth under the ash tree by the drive, the unfolding heads of the hellebores are rising up out of the leaf mould.

Snowdrops are opening

And yesterday the low sun of afternoon was playing wonderful tricks with the leaves of the Asplenium scolopendrium fern.

Asplenium scolopendrium

This is the week that the green shoots have really started to get going, pushing up all over the place, and as I shuffle I’m thinking about all the bulbs I planted last autumn. (One of the great joys of bulb planting when your memory isn’t what it used to be is the element of surprise!) It’s coming back to me that I crammed the recently re-edited centre bed with tulips, choosing my selection after reading an article in Country Life by Tom Coward at Gravetye Manor… but what were they? I can’t remember and I can’t find the article.

There are the narcissus I planted under the new hornbeams in the field garden, selected following advice from The Cut Flower Patch by Louise Curley that was my bible last year and will be again in 2017. There are more alliums in the front garden, a row of muscari under the espaliered apples in the vegetable garden. Probably other stuff that I’ve forgotten about. I can’t wait to see what comes up!

And this week I’ve been writing lists of plants to buy to fill the gaps I didn’t get round to last year, and I’ve ordered my dahlias, (one of my choices is Otto’s Thrill after seeing it at Petersham Nurseries), and I’m sorting through my seed packets, and watering my pelargonium cuttings. And next week there are roses and wisteria to be pruned, and I’m hoping for another dry day so that I can tidy up the apple trees.

Dahlia Otto’s Thrill

And finally, I’ve been getting on with Assignment 3 for the Photography course I’m doing with mygardenschool. One of the topics set for us was still life sequences, shooting the same subject from different angles. This is a shot of a moth orchid I submitted – now I’m waiting for feedback.

Moth Orchid still life

Hope Clive likes it!

All in all it’s been a good week. This weekly challenge I’ve set myself for this blog is forcing me to pay attention. And I’m looking forward to seeing what I can find for next week’s post.

6 thoughts on “The Garden Shuffle

  1. It’s nice to meet you via The Anxious Gardener’s post. I too, at 45, wonder who I am going to be when I grow up. At present, I’m on my third career (raising children) and starting my fourth (container design/photography). Here’s to another three careers!

    I also do the garden shuffle, but usually with my mother; we call it “A turn around the garden”, and really natter about life in general as much as we do about the plants. With her encyclopedic knowledge, I have to have a notebook as well as my secateurs.

    I wonder if this is the article you were missing: I think a garden is empty without bulbs; there are bulbs in bloom throughout the year from snowdrops to cyclamen. There is no such thing as too many.


    1. Hello Grace and how lovely to hear from you. Here’s to multiple careers and never giving up!! I’ve visited and love your site, particularly love your photos and am really looking forward to following you.
      It’s wonderful to think of you going round your garden with your mother. Mine died five years ago. I still miss her and our ‘natters about life’. All I can say is hold on to and treasure those moments – they are one of life’s true gifts.
      And finally thank you so much… that is the article from Country Life that I used for my tulips. You have made my day!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. smallsunnygarden

    I love your description of the garden shuffle 🙂 My garden is too new for the process to be very enjoyable; the holes in the borders stand out a little too much… 😉 Love the shot of the fern leaves! And so glad to see you are growing Otto’s Thrill – I’ve grown only a few dahlias, but Otto was my favorite.


    1. Hi Pauline, it’s great to hear from you and I’m glad to hear that you’re a fern fan too! I love these for their elegance and energy and the way they work in dry shade where other plants don’t. I’ve been to visit you at your blog and look forward to following you. Jane

      Liked by 1 person

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