Tuesday 22 March 2016

The final countdown

Some of you probably know that I am retiring from work at the end of this month. I have only two more courses to teach! It's an exciting, though somewhat scary, prospect. Right now I am finding it very hard to think about anything further ahead than 31st March. It's as if the world will end on that day, and I don't need to bother about long-term plans - though I do need to, of course. A competent gardener knows full well that you have to plan ahead if you want to be successful, and late March / Early April should be a really busy time.

To some people this photo may epitomise Spring:

Yes, the tall bi-coloured Soleils d'Or are lovely enough, but to me THIS epitomises Spring:

The little greenhouses are all outside now, and rapidly filling up with pots and trays of little plants.

In the absence of a "proper" greenhouse, these things are a real boon. I don't know what I would do without them. I have lost track of how old these ones are. In fact they are hybrids, cobbled together from elements of several such items. After a few years the plastic (both of the frames and of the covers) becomes brittle and will crack. The frames last longer than the covers, and it is useful that you can buy the covers separately. I need to get some more soon, because my existing ones are full of holes. That will be unacceptable once the chillis and tomatoes need to go in them.

Another job that is getting more urgent by the day is the completion of at least one more raised bed. Over the weekend I made a start - I sawed two of the big timber sleepers in half, to make the end-pieces for the bed.

Maybe over the Easter weekend I'll get round to building the bed? I have all the "hardware", I just need the motivation! A lot will depend on what the weather is like, I think.

My Hellebores are probably at their best just now. I don't yet have a lot (though my collection is expanding...) but they have mostly produced a decent display of flowers. Here's a small selection of photos of them.

I'm thinking ahead about these too. The seedlings I have grown from seed over the Winter are still too small to be planted out, but they are getting bigger all the while, and it won't be many weeks before they are able to take their places in the border.


  1. Such an exciting time for you Mark, I wish you every luck & success in your retirement & what a wonderful time of the year to start it.

  2. Yes, enjoy your first spring in retirement!

  3. You have a wonderful collection of hellebores. I'm sure you are going to keep yourself very busy after your retirement. I love the picture of the daffodils too.

  4. You will be retiring just as the garden really gets into full swing - how wonderful it will feel for you to be able to devote yourself to all those garden tasks without the timer restraints imposed by a job.

  5. What a nice post. I admit I am a bit envious of your retirement news. Good for you! The Accountant and I purchased one maybe two of those little greenhouses last season at an end of season sale and look forward to using them this spring.

    Your hellebores are spectacular - I especially like the double ruffle.

  6. I, too, am envious. Phil says I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I wasn't working....but I really think I would keep busy. I don't really think retirement is in my future. In this land of plenty, some of us just don't get enough to retire, sigh. I'm trying to make several things happen though. We'll see how it goes. Your gardening is so inspiring. I miss planting things but really think the trees are way too lush here now to keep hoping enough sun will peek through to grow vegetables decently. Someday I hope we will have a better place to garden in. I love your flowers too. We have some blooming here now and Phil gave me a small rose bush for Valentine's day that has pink blooms on it now. I can't wait until the rest bloom. Will look forward to hearing your adventures in retirement!

  7. What a fab time to be retiring Mark. The start of the growing season, keep you from being bored no doubt, but I hope you make the most of it with some travel thrown in too.

  8. I think you picked a better time of year to retire than I did (December). I know I have enjoyed my retirement immensely, and I hope you do the same!


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