It's true to say that quite a few things annoy the pants off me, but one particular thing is the way in which stores both large and small are dictating when we should purchase various items. For me, Christmas trees, decorations and food shouldn't even be on sale until the first of December, but instead all but the trees can be found on the 'seasonal' aisles as early as May. Indeed, when the shelves are full of zombies and fake blood for halloween and fireworks for bonfire night, right next door can be found angels and tinsel....totally wrong and inappropriate.
No sooner do the Christmas decorations vanish that Easter eggs are on sale, and have been since the middle of January!! Can we not have them at Easter please?
Garden centres are guilty also, with bedding plants on sale at completely the wrong times of the year. Most having been produced under glass, and then sold to the unsuspecting customer still under the protection of covered sales areas, spring bedding can now be found alongside geraniums and begonias. Whatever happened to October and November being the time to plant spring bedding and bulbs, and May being the time that these are removed and replaced with summer plants, all having been grown more slowly, and hardened off properly? And of course, outside these two times no bedding can be seen at all.....much nicer and more seasonal.
This brings me to the latest niggle to cross my bow, and has been chewing away for three years so far.
Firstly, garden maintenance companies are trying to get as much done as they can, as early as they can in the year, to enable them to be one step ahead. The biggest abuse of this that I have witnessed this year, is by the largest gardening company in the area (and reputedly the best, although I have gained a few contracts from their clutches). They have started to apply lawn weed and feed in the first week of January, which at the time appeared to do the trick, but we have since had a prolonged icy cold spell with snow, and so a badly timed and stupid decision. Unfortunately, being as large as they are, others will no doubt start to follow suit, in fear of their own grass looking worse and as a result losing work to them. I for one don't buy into any of this, and will be bedding out at the correct time, and applying lawn feeds when appropriate, with the weed and feed in late March/early April.
Cornus also seem to be a shrub that for some strange reason brings out the impatience of some people. They still look good with their coloured bark, and yet some people are determined to get them pruned down by the beginning of February. I was at my cottage estate today, and was asked by one resident when he could prune his own Cornus alba Sibirica, as a couple of others had already done their own. I explained that the correct time is when the sap starts to rise in a few weeks and just as the buds start to move, and then prune them down as hard as he wishes to maintain the bush height at. I showed him the others Cornus, and how they had large areas of dead wood in them where die back had occurred due to previous impatient pruning. So why can't people just wait, and enjoy them for what they are a little while longer?
Yes, I am back at work in earnest, with all the fun and frollicks that go with it. The 2013 growing season hasn't started for me yet, unlike others it would seem. For me it is still wintery February, and time for new planting schemes. The owners of the house in Sandbanks come back from three months in the far east in about a week. We have been buying shrubs, and still have about three hundred more to get, so that our plans for their front garden can be put into action. There is also the repositioning and shaping of some other beds elsewhere, with Acer 'Sangu Kaku' taking pride of place. Exciting times!