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- March in the Parsonage Garden

March Garden Diary
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Rough winter melts beneath the breeze of spring,
Nor shun refitted ships the silenced sea,
Nor man nor beasts to folds or firesides cling,
Nor hoar frosts whiten over field and tree;
But rising moons each balmy evening see……
Now let us, cheerful, crown our heads with flowers,
Spring’s first fruits, offered to the newborn year….
(Patrick Branwell Bronte - To Sestius as translated from the Odes of Horace)
Hello.  It's lovely to be back in the garden after the winter, seeing the spring flowers and the fresh growth on the roses.
Geoff and I returned to the garden in late February, relieved to find that the grass had stood up well to winter’s rigours.  The flower beds had fared less well though: they were well and truly hidden under a slimy wet mulch of last autumn’s leaves that Geoff and I worked hard to clear – until I fell ill with a horrible cold and Geoff, in true fashion, soldiered on.  By the time I got back, the whole garden was cleared, forked over and fertilised, ready for the coming season. (note to self: February’s a good time to catch cold)
I have been trying to make up for my absence by hoeing, weeding and pruning and introducing some new perennials to the borders.  I love this time of year.  Each day that we return to the garden we see new growth on last year’s plants and new plants popping up from the wet ground with lovely fresh growth.  It's rather like seeing a trailer for a much loved film: the whole thing expanding to its former glory.
Each year we strive to have the garden and lawn looking its best ever. Last autumn, we spent the remains of our budget on perennials.  Some of these plants are quite expensive so it felt like a great act of faith to put them into the winter soil, hoping beyond hope they’d appear in the spring.
We have a big problem in the garden these days in the form of a rather handsome flock of feral hens! They look beautiful BUT they are scratching up the seedlings and generally making a mess.  It's fine when my dog Stan is gardening with us, as he takes great pleasure in chasing them away, back into the graveyard where they roost.  Anthony, the volunteer gardener at the church, is thoroughly hacked off with them since they have scratched up his crocus and trampled his daffodils.  What to do?  No one wants them killed but it would be wonderful if someone would come along and adopt this extended family of mums, dads and chicks  If anyone out there has any suggestions please let us know.
Geoff will be reporting the garden progress to you in April when I hope he will be able to tell you that we have solved the hen problem and all the expensive plants have managed to pop up.
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