March is a month full of busyness. The sap is clearly rising in the flower borders as well as in ourselves. Much has been done in the garden and there's still much to do. That's the theory. The borders have been cut back and we can see where we are. At one of our evening meetings - which we recall with increased nostalgia - Sally Gregson of Mill Cottage said that in her garden at this time of year many of her plants take on wheels. They are dug up, split up and trundled off to new homes. Now is the time to make adjustments and rectify failed experiments in the planting scheme; herbaceous perennials particularly benefit from being divided and replanted. Many of them, like the phlox group, for example, start to die out in the middle. So we split them up and pass on any extras to friends and neighbours. The time of gifts is not gone. There's a genuine pleasure in potting up a favourite specimen and passing it on. But this gift business has its dangers. We all remember the perils of the Trojan War:
Equo ne credite
Men of Troy, trust not the horse.
A well-meaning acquaintance arrived at the house with a yoghurt pot with plant. "It's a lovely little orange flower. Does ever so well in my garden." The donor was quite right. It does ever so well anywhere, eventually taking over swathes of the lawn and borders: Pilosella aurantiaca or commonly named Fox and Cubs. In certain parts of the country it is known as Grim the Collier, though I confess I call it other names.
Montbretia is another Wooden Horse which I keep digging out. Wiser now, I adopt a more cautious approach copied from my neighbour when I am offered a plant. "Do you mind if I say no?". Not at all. That's the sensible position in horticultural diplomacy. No longer am I like Ado Annie in Oklahoma - ' just a girl who can't say no'.
While these spare pots await a new home, we await some sense of order. Plant fairs, convivial meetings and garden visits. They will return. In fact one or two club possibilities are already in train for the summer months. Details will be sent to members when things are more definite. In the meantime, take note of the website: wellsgarden.club and take pleasure in the simple arrival of spring in all your garden corners. Soon there will be daffodils and hellebores in profusion and a brighter breeze in the air. Pip