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.

February 2011

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Much warmer, some days in to double figures!

8th February:
More signs of life every day, daffs seem to have grown overnight. Giant aliums pushing through and tiny specks of green on raspberry canes.

Put second and larger of the covers on raised bed. This went on much easier than the smaller one.

Planted box hedge around patio, could have done with a few more plants though.

 13th February:
Tulips have appeared and daffs continue to grow. Little green shoots are sprouting from the onions.

Ordered 6 more box to complete hedge. Bought 375 litres of compost for £9 – bargain!

Threw all cuttings away except for a few. I suspect they had too traumatic a time! When I re-potted after the wind they had developed a good root system but I think the frost was just too severe. Maybe I should have brought them indoors.

14th February:
New box plants delivered and planted immediately. Ground very wet and sloppy though, not sure they are going to like it.

17th February:
Planted dwarf lavendar. Filled up carrot bag and planted 6 cabbages in modules and placed under the cover of raised bed.

24th February:
What a magical time in the garden. Every day brings a new revelation. One sunny day makes all the difference. Daffs and tulips continue to grow. Hellebore is bursting into flower, the first ones in the garden. Fresh green leaves of aconitum and geranium emerging as well as phlox and aquilegia. Buds appearing on apple tree, sambucus and camellia.

Planted leeks and 4 tomato seeds under cover.

Ordered some snowdrops “in the green”.

28th February:
Ordered Pyloria and free Paeonies.

January 2011

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A couple of warmer days to melt the ice and snow, -3 and -4 at night but the days are managing to stay above freezing.

9th January:
Tidied garden, removing remains of perennials and raking up leaves. It’s amazing how many things are showing signs of life already, sedum, aquilegia, clematis.

Pondering about whether I need a PVC/insect net cover for raised beds. Cost £178 so I need to be sure.

Cuttings in grow house not looking too good.

18th January:
No sign of daffodils yet but I think I can see some aliums.

Greenthumb came to scarify and aerate the lawns.

Potatoes (Kestrel) have arrived so they are waiting patiently in the conservatory. Veg seeds also arrived so I have some planning to do.

Bought hoops and covers, need to get them on to warm the soil.

Used winter tree wash on apple tree. Should have been done in December so I hope it’s ok.

25th January:
Some daffodils daring to emerge in to the cold. I’m sure I will have lost lots of plants due to the severe winter.

Managed to get one cover on so at least I will be able to get my onions in soon.

New box hedge arrived and needs planting as soon as possible. I was going to put them around the edge of the round patio but will have to see whether the damson tree roots will allow it.

30th January:
Onions planted in covered bed 10cm apart and 20cm between rows.