What has survived?

I suppose there are places where gardeners are basking in sunshine, surrounded by daffodils and lambs, but in central Scotland, spring is different.Yet, unless I pull myself together and brave the sleet, the slugs will beat me to the new growth. Do slugs not feel the cold? It would appear not, looking at what they have already done to the scillas:But I’ve beaten them to the delphiniums and most of the primulas, so that’s one triumph.

This is the time of year when the wise gardener notes what has succumbed to frost, damp, rabbits, deer, pestilence and mice, and resolves never to plant such vulnerable stuff again. Every year I vow not to buy any delosperma – they are pure slug food, and what the slugs don’t digest, the damp kills. And every year my resolve weakens, with the inevitable result:But let’s look on the bright side…..cushion saxifrages. Invulnerable, reliable, and giving colour just when you need it most. S ‘Mary Golds‘ – which I note cost less than the wretched delosperma, and has survived the worst that winter threw at it.The other great survivor, alas, is moss.  In fact, moss grows happily all winter, along with many other undesirable things, such as nettle roots, ground elder, and nameless horrors with white roots. But moss has the irritating habit of draping itself over plants like a cold wet face cloth, and has to be picked out, a thread at a time. This is supposed to be a patch of fragrant wild thyme, spreading merrily over the stones:And it WILL be. I refuse to be beaten by something so primitive it doesn’t even have flowers……

Meanwhile, the primulas are coming into growth. Once they start, they expand exponentially, sucking up every scrap of moisture and pouring it into producing leaves and flowers. These are p.japonica ‘Miller’s Crimson’. I have problems with the japonicas, as they simply curl up and die in my soil. But stuck into cracks between stones and lapped by water, this bunch do just fine. It’s not how it’s supposed to be.I’ve had enough of the Scottish climate and I’m seeking the sun for a week. So, (I hope) the next post will have blue skies and colour…..


11 thoughts on “What has survived?

  1. Don’t let the moss and slugs get you down 🙂
    Didn’t some precocious little girl sing about the sun. I think she said it will come out tommorrow…. or maybe the next day.
    Enjoy your holiday, Cat

  2. Well, no lambs or daffodils here, but definitely bask-able sunshine, which is the sorest point, I take it. Hope your vacation offers you plenty of blue sky and to spare. Delosperma doesn’t overwinter for me in New Mexico, either (too much dry/cold/neighbor’s cat), and I’ll probably plant more, too. Gorgeous saxifrage.

  3. Your Spring looks rather wintery… Except for that nice cushion of saxifraga.
    Consider that slugs are something so primitive they don’t even have bones, and they are actually some shellfish that menage to live out of water. Are you still of the idea of serving them crunchy delosperma salads?
    I have the sunshine here, some daffs are ready to bloom, we are having some drought issues already but I can disguise Mina and Rudy like lambs (they’ll need some long ears and some white paint)… Are you coming over for a week? I’d just need a couple of hands more here…

  4. Hope you’re having a good holiday, ready to do battle with the slugs when you return, such a shame about your scillas. Enjoy the sunshine!

  5. Interesting post — thank you for sharing spring in your part of the world. Our spring looks like it’s going to be as mild as this year’s winter. Enjoy your escape to the sun!

  6. Tell you what I’ll swap some of my sun for some of your water 😉

    Maybe I’m a bit wierd but I love moss. So green and healthy and sproingy underfoot. If the moss loves it that much maybe it’s too damp for thyme?

  7. I’m with Libby – I love moss too but then it doesn’t do the wet face cloth thing down here. And thanks for the reminder re Miller’s Crimson which I used to have in my old garden. Enjoy the sun Mr K.

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