The warmer, drier weather we've had over the last few days has been incredibly welcome in this house. It seems to have given me new energy. I want to throw open all the windows and have a really good sort out. I'm in the process of decluttering - not that you'd know it to look at the place. But I'm doing it slowly, bit by bit, draw by draw, window sill by window sill - until, hopefully, the only things we have left in this house are useful or at the very least pretty. I'm fed up of piles of paper, broken toys and abandoned window boxes. I want clean and tidy order and some spring flowers on view to keep the winter away.
I planted bulbs in my window boxes last year and had planned to top them off with some winter bedding - but I never got round to it, so they've been sat, neglected and bedraggled in the back garden for the last four months. Then last Sunday I looked out of the kitchen window and saw green shoots poking through the weedy soil. Somehow or other they'd survived despite the lack of attention and were showing me signs of spring.
A few little green shoots weren't going to cut it though so I invested in some bulbs-in-the-green from the garden centre. These are basically bulbs that someone else has taken the trouble to plant. All you need do with them is dig a hole and put them in the garden - instant spring.
For the window boxes I needed to separate the clumps into single plants to get the look I wanted it. Just remove the pot and gently ease the plants apart with your hands - trying not to break off too much root as you go. It felt so good to have hands covered in soil again and it was so mild I didn't need my coat.
I chose hyacinths and crocus' in-the-green, which will take a little while flower - so for some instant colour I added in some Violas and Pansies. I love their little "faces". All being well the bulbs will go on flowering for a few years if I keep them watered so I'll just need to replant with bedding once they die back and they can live on happily underneath summer and autumn plants until they poke their way back through the soil next spring.
Once the bulbs grow up fully and start to flower, the boxes will look fuller and even prettier - but for now they're adding a bit of very welcome colour to our otherwise drab garden. Hopefully my garden bulbs will start pushing through soon too.
Once you've planted up your boxes (I got my zinc boxes about five years ago from Homebase and if you like them they still sell them - without the rust obviously), give them a good soak and then put them on your window sill - ably assisted by your very annoying cat who decides to climb out of the window and onto the verandah roof and sit there mewling because she can't get down and won't walk back up to you.