The view across the garden has not really changed yet since the start of the year but elsewhere as we will see spring is beginning to burst out. It has been very cold -5c at night for the last few days and the outlook is snow so it is lucky I have taken some photos already.
Over the years we have split and planted snowdrops in a number of our beds and at this time of year they reliably put on a great display for little cost. I have never gone out of the way to buy some of the expensive snowdrop bulbs and have been more than happy with the effect that is created. There are some singles which were probably here 25 years ago when we moved here and some doubles which we introduced. The great thing about snowdrops is that once they have finished flowering the leaves etc soon die off and can be removed and the bed is ready for the next display eg tulips etc.Some of the cyclamens are also out with snowdrops and Iris Histrioides Katherine Hodgkin. These all look a bit frosted.
I had hoped for some new planting of crocus this year but unfortunately the grey squirrel has dug them up and eaten them. The odd thing is that once established the squirrels seem to leave them alone. Next year I will have to plant them in pots (out of the way of the squirrels) and effectively “plant them in the green” which has worked before.
Here are some of the Glebe House Hybrids. See Ashwood Hellebore NurseryThe aconites Eranthis Hyemalis that I planted last year have come back and are in flower. See Aconites and others spring delightsCrown imperial fritillary are coming through at a great speed. They have been coming back each year for 15 years now.One of the delights of the winter border is Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ looking really good against the yew hedge. It does have a habit of running which means a bit of work later in the year to control it and maybe some free plants from the runners! However the colour at this time of year is hard to beat.One of the jobs that I have been slow to do this year is tidying up the climbing roses. This is Rosa ‘Shot Silk’ and you can see extensive vertical growth from last year. These vertical growths need to be persuaded into the horizontal. Unfortunately they are not well behaved and often you will find they have grown up behind the wires which can mean having to remove the wire, releasing all the other branches that have been fixed to the wire in previous years!In addition some of the growth has died back and this needs to be removed.After about six hours of work and many scratches then you can stand back and admire the result. To a large degree this is the main maintenance work on a climbing rose.
That’s the good news but we do have many climbing roses that all need tiding up. “Before” and “After” for Rosa ‘Alchemist’ a great rose that has been here for at least 25 years.And another one just completed, Rosa ‘Alister Stella Grey’.Lastly the Pyracantha ‘Orange Glow’ which has been trained horizontally above a lot of different spring flowers is really visible this year as there are also three Rosa ‘Jacques Cartier’ which are normally in front of the pyracantha. These had not done well recently and we have cut done right down to grown level to regenerate them.
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So far this year we are well behind last years average of 20 hours a week. It is no wonder I am still pruning the roses! When the snow stops I must get out and do some more!
Do have a look at Helen The Patient Gardener’s blog where you fill find links to other gardens at the end of February. Thank you to Helen for hosting this meme.
The following view across the garden is often central to my End of the Month View. See August, September, and October .
End of the Month View – October
Now it looks totally different as the winter tidy up takes place and old herbaceous material is removed and some plants completely removed where we have decided a change is due. It looks completely empty of plants but as my last blog said spring is on its way. You will just have to come back later in the year to see it transformed with tulips and alliums.
The rose on the wall has been rehung. Each year they always out grow their space and I find the best solution is often to more or less take them off the wires and try to hang them in a way that their new growth is horizontal. Not always possible! At the same time and dead growth can be pruned out. If you look at the view in October you can see the extent of the new growth that had to be tamed. We have also removed some Cephalaria Gigentea.
Cephalaria Gigentea is quite nice when it is flowering but this happens early in the summer and then the plant looks a mess and it seeds everywhere. I will be honest we are still thinking about how to replace it. The bed has been mulched with our compost so the spring bulbs will just have to push through this.
To the right of the pond there are two roses against the wall Rosa Alister Stella Grey and Rosa Crown Princess Margareta. There is not really enough space here for them but with a bit of help they have been squeezed in. Eventually Alister Stella Grey will grow to the top of the wall.Looking back to the pergola the roses Rosa Gloire de Dijon and Rosa Souvenir de la Malmaison growing up the pergola legs have been pruned and generally tidied up. The plastic sheet on the right is where we have a small peach tree and it is to prevent peach leaf curl. It will be covered until May. On the right the roses have yet to be sorted out although they do not look too bad. This is a shot taken in a direction I have often shown:It is hard to believe this is the same border!Another piece of pruning that has been done can be seen here. The Pyracantha Orange Glow is in the process of being trained horizontally. It is straight forward to do but just takes time. There are three Rosa Jacques Cartier in front of the Pyracantha so later in the year it is not very visible but right now it looks great.
Do have a look at Helen The Patient Gardener’s blog where you fill find links to other gardens at the end of January. Thank you to Helen for hosting this meme.
The weather continues to be foggy and damp restricting the time in the garden. Main activity continues to be cleaning up dead herbaceous leaves etc.
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This week the frost has really come. We have dug up some of the dahlias and stored them upside down so that any water in their storks can drain out. After a couple of weeks we will put them into pots with new potting compost and store them in the green house. Around February a watering will start them off again.The garden benches are getting their winter coats on. In the background the Melianthus major is just about coping with the frost. We will pack some mulch around the base of the plant to protect it from the cold and do not cut it down until the spring. In the past they have always survived the winter when managed that way. The fig (Ficus ‘Brown Turkey’) certainly did not like the frost and badly needs a prune.The greenhouse has had its annual clean out removing all the tomato, cucumber and aubergine plants etc. and washing the windows and staging etc. We always take cutting of our Osteospermums as they do not always survive the winter. They have been potted up together with a few saliva cuttings.
The pots on the right are Anemone Nemerosa Robinsoniana, Eranthis Hyemalis and Anemone Blanda White Splendour. I have found I get more success this way, planting directly in the garden seems to just feed the mice and even in the greenhouse there is a mouse trap just in case.
And the Virginia Creeper certainly did not like the frost.
Four weeks ago
More progress has been made on the pond as I did get the marginals replanted. The irises are relatively small as I had replaced some flag irises last year which did not work well with the overall look and feel of this area. The marginals are now Iris laevigata, Iris laevigata Snowdrift, Iris laevigata Wychwood Surprise and Equisetum hyemale.
Rosa ‘Phyllis Bide’
Rosa ‘Alister Stella Grey’
Rosa ‘Lichfield Angel’
Rosa ‘Strawberry Hill’
Despite the frost the roses continue to flower. Do they not realise it is the middle of November!
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