The Potting Bench Diaries – 15th March 2023

This week brought us a surprising cold snap and along with that came an abundance of snow for most of us. We had quite a decent amount here in Birmingham, enough to cover the whole garden in a few inches anyway. After that, the rain washed it away and then we had another dusting the next day. Thankfully those were the only two drops we had and since then the temperatures have gone up again: is this finally Spring coming?

I’m not sure about you, but I love the way the snow makes the garden look – but it doesn’t half knock things around a bit!

We’ve got two quite large Hebes in our garden and both of these were damaged by the heavy snowfall before I could get out to knock the snow off. It’s worth remembering that if you have any large shrubs that you should try your best to shake off the worst of the snow to avoid it making the heaviest of the branches droop and potentially snap. Still, the snow gave us all great reason to get outside to take plenty of photos.

Once the snow had finally passed, it came time to get back out to see what was going on around the garden. More of the bulbs continue to push through and several of the tulips look as though they could be opening soon.

I have planted a wide variety of tulips this year and some are earlier to flower, but even so – these seem to be here a touch too early. Next year I really want to pay closer attention and plan a little better to spread the flowering over a longer period – also, remind me to buy some more snowdrops next year!

Not one to bang on about bulbs (!) – I wanted to also share a new one to our garden in the form of Hymenocallis Festalis – otherwise known as the spider lily, and also known as the Peruvian daffodil.

The bulbs are absolutely huge, measuring about 3 inches across and about 4 inches tall and they reminded me of small naked coconuts, quite unique! The flowers are going to be quite spectacular (I hope) and will bring a brand new scent to our garden too. I’ll be growing the three bulbs that I’ve got, in one large container for an interesting display. As this grows, I’ll be sure to include regular updates on them for you to hear and see how they’re doing.

In the kitchen, our chillies are doing rather well and really could do with potting on now. As I’ve mentioned recently, we’re growing a good few varieties this year, along with some sweet peppers too.

These will happily grow on in the greenhouse over summer and should give us a solid variety of chillies to use in our cooking. I’ve also sown our tomatoes this week, again in coir coins and these have started to germinate too, so I’ll share a little more on those probably next week. It’s the first time growing tomatoes in our garden and they’re the thing I think I’m most excited to have!

And finally, another week rolls on and there’s a new guest on the podcast. This week I spoke to garden expert, writer and designer – Naomi Slade. Naomi has written numerous fantastic books on a wide variety of plants and you’ll also possibly recognise her from her regular appearances in magazines such as Garden News.

Naomi tells me here, about her varied career in horticulture and all about her latest book Ranunculus, which is out now! Click here to listen to the episode now.

Speaking to Naomi reminded me that I really need to get sowing our flower seeds for this year, starting with Cosmos and a few others. I’ll get on with that now!

See you again next week,


  1. After enjoying temps close to 50 over the weekend, here in New Hampshire (we were not the jackpot that went to gardeners who received 30″+, we were dealt a bang-up storm of 15+ inches of heavy wet stuff. All I can do now is add fresh soil to clean milk jugs and start my winter sowing 🙂


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