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.

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.

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!