At last the sun shines, the wind is not biting and the ground is not too wet to work. So it is time start to planting though tempering over enthusiasm with the thought that we are 56 degrees North here and need to hold back on some planting. We have the garden area roughed out with wildlife pond marked out with an old hosepipe to give its shape. The raised beds are in place and filled with a mixture of soil (from the pond site), seaweed and compost. The potato growing boxes likewise are ready. This year we are trying Charlottes and Pentland Javelin. We have already planted the first box with Charlottes in the garden room where hopefully the light and warmth will bring them on early. The strawberry raised bed is ready but we will need to wait a few weeks before planting. All the raised beds will have mesh covers to deter birds and rabbits with the bonus that the mesh also breaks heavy rainfall into a wet mist thus protecting the emerging plants. I trialled this in our previous garden and it worked well, so hopefully the idea will work again here.
The bulbs we planted are now in flower in spite of the ravages of rabbits and deer. The Rhododendrons that we planted a few weeks ago seem to have taken. Other plants given to us over the past few months in the main have wintered well. The cuttings taken from a neighbouring garden (with permission I hasten to add!) and over wintered in the garden room are coming on and will be ready to plant out as soon as the spring warmth is firmly established. Today might be the first day of spring officially (though the Met Office think differently and say it is March 1st in their bureaucratic way) but we will wait before planting out. We think the deer problem has been resolved with culling, but are still taking precautions at night as there are still plenty of deer on the island. A neighbour recently photographed one actually jumping the cattle grid in mid afternoon so now we are looking at an ultrasonic device to try to deter them from even approaching the grid with intent.