Let it snow!

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The garden has been under a blanket of snow this week until the rain arrived last night with a vengeance and turned it into a muddy bog.

Earlier this week, Raewyn and I decided to enjoy a snowy day out at Dunham Massey to see the Winter Garden. Although still very early, there was lots to see, including the fascinating bare twisted branches of the corkscrew hazel and the delicate spidery flowers of the Hamamelis. It is plain to see that the snowdrops are going to be quite spectacular given another week or so. Sparkling chunks of ice cling to the junctions of the branches of shrubs, dripping in the winter sunshine like a remnant from Christmas. Groups of brilliant white silver birch trees shine out against the clear blue sky, made even more startling by the backdrop of the dark brown of the other bare trees and shrubs .

Today has been such a gorgeous, sunny day and after my second visit to Dunham Massey this week, I finally got around to planting the fig tree. It now resides in a big pot with plenty of crocks in the bottom, positioned in the sunniest place in the garden; against the back fence. Fingers crossed for figs!

Whilst wandering round the garden (which takes all of 30 seconds!) I noticed little clumps of snowdrops but not half as many as I remember planting. Maybe, like Dunham Massey, there will be a few more in the weeks to come. Thank goodness for hellebores. The old faithful is flowering away and the three ‘Double Ellen’ that just produced leaves last year are also bursting into life.

It was exactly one year ago that the Cornus Sericea ‘Flaviramea’ and Cornus Alba Sibiricia were planted. Today, they have been pruned almost to ground level to encourage lots more colourful branches. I am a little concerned that I have left it a bit late as both already had breaking buds.

This is a great time of year for bargains at the garden centres and I took advantage to purchase some 1/2 price Boxus to replace one that has died at the end of the row.

The days are already getting longer but I must remember that it is only January and not get carried away with my enthusiasm for planting.

I didn’t mean to!

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I don’t know how it happened, it certainly wasn’t my intention. I didn’t even put my coat on, it was a matter of  “I’ll just have a quick look”. Some horrible laurel leaves were strewn around from next door’s pruning so I suppose that is where it started. Next thing I know, the gloves are on and general picking up and tidying taking place. Before long, out come dad’s trusty secateurs and trimming is happening. So there I am pruning and weeding on this beautiful January day when I should be ironing and cleaning. Well, what would you rather do?

My post-Christmas spirits were well and truly lifted when I spotted at least 3 flower buds on a camellia I bought about 5 years ago that has never flowered. This was its last chance. It has been positioned all around the garden over the years as I was convinced that this was the problem. I noticed another tiny specimen (free with something or other) was thriving near the patio, so this is where my mature and pampered plant has spent the last 6 months or so. Let’s hope the frost doesn’t get it before they open.

It’s amazing to see how many signs of new growth are apparent. Daffs, alliums and sedum all making an appearance. I am fairly certain that the primula in the front rockery haven’t stopped flowering all year. So pleased to see that my lovely Angelica has decided to spend another year with me. All the foliage has been cleared from the helibores to reveal plump flower buds threatening to burst open at any moment.

Maybe I’ll just nip out and have another look!

A new year has begun!

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OK, so my last post was way back in June, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing any gardening! 2012 wasn’t a great year for the garden with all that rain and the beetroot wasn’t up to its usual standard but the carrots, swedes and purple mange-tout produced a very satisfactory harvest.

However,  I am starting 2013 with renewed enthusiasm and have already made my first acquisition of the year – Madeleine des deux saisons – a fig tree. All my seeds are organised for planting in my new seed tin and plans for the veg patch are under way.

Already new shoots are appearing, but no sign of the 250 crocuses planted in the front lawn last November. Early days.