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One those garden is all neat and tidy – the raised beds now cleared of the remains of last year’s growth, topped up with fresh compost and raked nice and level.  Just as soon as the soil warms a little two of the beds will be sown with salad leaves and annual herbs, another with carrots, beetroot, leeks and the like for adding to soups, and yet another bed will be a cutting patch overflowing with glamorous blooms.  This garden is not my own, but one that I look after for The Dutch House, and the salads, herbs and soup veggies are destined for the café – the freshest ingredients you can get.

Dutch House

My own garden isn’t looking quite so neat and tidy… downright scruffy in fact.  Despite the less than perfect housekeeping, the plants are coping pretty well.  Big, fat, pink and green rhubarb buds are pushing up through the compost mulch and unfurling into wrinkly rhubarb leaves.  I was once told by an American, that there’s more rhubarb grown in Yorkshire than in the whole of the USA.  This may well be the case, but the best rhubarb dish I’ve ever tasted was made by the owner of a bed and breakfast place in Utah – the most delicious lattice rhubarb tart ever created.  A sugary fruit filling encased in buttery pastry.  Years later, I really wish I’d asked for the recipe… at least with my own plant in the garden, there should be enough stalks to harvest while I try to recreate a rhubarb tart as good as the one I remember.

Rhubarb

It might be the slightly warmer temperatures, or the extra minutes of daylight, or a combination of the two, but something has encouraged the kale to kick back into growth.  And much appreciated it is too.  The baby leaves are good chopped up and stirred through couscous along with parsley from the garden and a big squeeze of lime juice… not from the garden.

Kale

And some good news, for me at least – the garlic and shallots have survived the attentions of the local rabbits.  Yup, they’re growing away in amongst the holes dug by the cute little bunnies… it may be that we get a harvest later this year after all.

Shallot

Gardening plans for March involve lots of weeding and a fair amount of seed sowing too.  It’s almost time for the annual game of musical windowsills… too many pots of chilli, tomato and aubergine seedlings for the horizontal space available in the house.  Outdoors, well outdoors but with a little protection from the cold frame, the more hardy sweet peas are poking through the soil.  I’d normally have some sturdy wee seedlings from an autumn sowing almost ready to plant out by now.  But last year’s babies were munched on by the greenhouse mouse, so I’ll be relying on the spring sowing for flowers this summer.  Meantime, the spring flowers are brightening up the garden… snowdrops, crocus, hellebores and these beautiful primroses –

Cowslip

This ramble through the garden is my Garden Share Collective post for March.  I’m starting to feel like spring is on the way and the new gardening year has begun.  There have been a couple of bumblebees buzzing about searching for some spring nectar and my daughter spotted our first butterfly the other day – one of those reddish ones with blotches on its wings was the closest we got to an identification.  The Garden Share Collective means you can catch up on what’s happening in gardens across the world through Lizzie’s blog, Strayed from the Table.  Always a good source of ideas and, for anyone gardening in the cooler, wintery, northern half of the globe, a great chance to soak up some virtual summer sunshine from all the Australian and New Zealand gardens featured.

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