January Blues

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Well, it’s the end of January and most days have been torrential rain and even hail. Some days though, like today, have been tantalisingly sunny if a little chilly. And so I was lured outside to plant the two cornus shrubs purchased a few weeks back, ‘Alba Sibirica’ and ‘Flaviramea’. They look so lovely in the winter sunshine with their bright red and lime green stems.

There are now lots of snowdrops scattered about the place and I spotted a tiny iris in flower beneath the hibiscus. Signs of daffodils, tulips, sedum and aliums emerging. The new growth at the base of the verbena bonariensis indicates that it is now time to cut away last year’s remaining stems. Leaves have been cleared away along with fallen branches in preparation for a flying start once the weather improves. The Miscanthus Sinensis has been cut down to reveal new green shoots.

I am looking forward to planting the first seeds of the year next month.

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Cold at Last

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This week’s weather finally felt something like normal for the time of year but at least the cold temperatures are accompanied by clear skies and brilliant sunshine. After such a warm autumn and winter, I’m sure the poor plants don’t know whether they are coming or going and these freezing temperatures must be a real shock to the system. It certainly halted my gardening progress but it hasn’t prevented the customary purchase of ‘dead’ plants.

It is at this time that Raewyn and I visit the nurseries for bargains and we weren’t disappointed. We went to F Morrey and Son at Tarporley. I can’t say that we came home with a boot full of ‘bootiful’ plants but it was full of anticipated promise and for just a few pounds each.

Of course, they don’t look at all like the pictures below but hopefully one day…

Phygelius ‘Moonraker’ Phygelius ‘Devil’s Tears’
Hebe Albicans Red Edge Daphne Mezereum ‘Rubra’
Anthemis E C Buxton Geranium Endressii

Tidy Up Time

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Yesteday was spent with my lovely friend, Raewyn who invited me to join her for afternoon tea. Where will this friends’ reunion take place I hear you ask? Well, any garden centre will do so we did a few! We started at Fryers’ because I wanted to check out the roses for my garden arch and their tea room is a delight. Then we called in at High Legh as it was on our way home, no we didn’t have tea and scones there as well! Must be the first and only time we have ever come home empty handed, but we did come home with lots of ideas. I am looking for tall shrubs that will act as a screen alongside the archway such as, Ilex, Daphne, viburnum or even a flowering cherry.

This morning I decided to spend a couple of hours pottering.  At first, the sun was making every effort to shine, but in the end, it was just me in the cold and rain. I started by digging up what was once a beautiful yellow rose with blooms like huge buttercups. When I first planted it, it was floriferous and I was forever trimming it back to fit the small space it was occupying. Last year I decided to move it and it was not at all happy. It hardly grew at all, just a few small leaves on spindly stems and no flowers whatsoever – it was in a real sulk. I am hoping that, if I can revive it, it would be a lovely specimen to grow up my new garden arch.

I also dug up a spirea from the front rockery. I don’t know why I planted it among the silver leaved plants, it just didn’t look right so it too is in temporary accommodation until I can find a new home for it (not necessarily in my garden). I trimmed away all the dead leaves from the strawberries. The new leaves are already well-established so at least now they can see the light.

I was so excited to see the first of the snowdrops that I planted last year.  Several pretty primulas have been happily flowering since November
This solitary anenome has also been stoically flowering since before Christmas I love this helleborus, it never lets me down and, true to form, the beautiful flowers are in hiding beneath the evergreen foliage.

 

Happy New Year!

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I just wanted to let you know that I’m back! Unfortunately, 2011 turned into my annus horribilis and my poor, neglected garden was largely left to fend for itself. I have to say, it didn’t seem to mind! But now it’s a new year and I can’t wait to get back in amongst the plants.

I have already had several visits to various garden centres, under the guise of looking for Christmas presents, and have made several purchases. This is a good time to visit because, not only is it quiet and peaceful but there are also sales of which to take advantage.

My gardening buddy, Raewyn, gave me strict instructions that my garden was too small to have the stunning Cornus shrubs on show. However, I couldn’t stop thinking about them and returned to buy. I also bought 2 of what I hope will turn into lovely Asters.

 This is my stylish thermometer,
a Christmas present from my
lovely sister, Lorra
This is how it looks now This is the plan

My long-suffering husband finally succumbed and agreed to the purchase of a garden archway. It wasn’t the archway as such that he objected to but the nibbling away of his treasured lawn. I am working on the principle that a garden is made more interesting by not being able to see everything at once. I’m not convinced but it is my intention to cut a swathe across the lawn to increase my planting area and infuriate my husband. I just hope it looks ok or I will be eating a lot of humble pie and reseeding a lot of lawn.

I am even more excited this year as I have a new gardening buddy; my son’s partner, Rin. They moved into a new house and have now decided to tackle the very small garden. Raewyn had some great ideas and I am looking forward to sticking my two-pennyworth in. To start them off I bought them a cordon apple tree – Scrumptious – from Pamona Fruits for Christmas.

So here’s to a fruitful 2012!