First day of real gardening

The weather was so nice at the weekend. I got all the pots tidied up

and on Sunday we went to buy potting compost, – and a few other things—

and today was going to be the day when things got moving. I was going to plant the witch hazel and the aconites, set out the garlic I bought back in November just before the frost and snow, and maybe start some early potatoes in the greenhouse.
I was defeated by the frost last night – not a very hard one, but enough to persuade me that it wasn’t a good time to take risks. I did get some clearing up done, however, and in the course of it I found that some things have already heard the starting whistle:

These bright red shoots are elecampane. It will get to over six feet high and have bright yellow flowers like disshevelled daisies in the summer.Basically it is an aspirational dandelion, but it’s cheerful and easy – and look at that red! I found it growing wild near the ruins of St Brendan’s monastery on Eilach a Naoimh once, cut very short by the winds; it may have been deliberately planted, as it had some herbal value – the roots were used for cough cures.

I’m really thrilled to find this pot looking so lively. The bright green leaves are hyssop, a mediterranean herb which really doesn’t like damp and which has failed me several years in the ground. The cold this winter doesn’t seem to have been nearly such a big problem as sitting about in mild wet soil in previous years.

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