Blogs \ January 2014

January 2014

31 January 2014

Once again time I updated the garden blog. I have been very remiss in not doing this task since last March.

I see that last March my first comments were about the weather. I am beginning to think that regarding this topic that neurosis is setting in!

Last Spring was long, cool and wet. I was beginning to think that some the plants would never get going as they just sat and sulked, but eventually the garden greened up and did its stuff.

Our first Open Day (NGS) was on Sunday 30th June – and joy of joys - the sun shone and people turned out. The garden looked neat and tidy (mostly), and some colour had appeared. That was the beginning of several weeks of beautiful Summer weather, producing a profusion of growth and colour, with many plants looking better than ever. Inevitably with little rain we had to do a lot of watering, especially all the pots, to keep it all going for our Hospice Open garden day and the private group visits through July and August. As you would then expect the ‘experts’ forecast that we were going into a ‘drought’ situation with dire warnings about how we should conserve our water. Fortunately, we have enough water storage (2 small and 4 large butts + a large tank) to keep us going for a considerable time.

We had refurbished the small beds that are under our large pergola in 2012, they had filled out considerably last year, but I hope to improve them further this year. They are difficult beds to get right as they are under the big oak tree, so rather dry, but need to be planted to fit in with the rest of the herbaceous borders in this area of the garden.

Going forward into the Autumn the garden continued to give us much pleasure, there is always the time at the end of the summer and beginning of the Autumn when you can sit back, relax and enjoy it. I do however, make a habit of wandering around almost every day pulling out the odd weed that has dared to show itself (or that I missed on the previous days wanderings), deadheading, and re-arranging pots! As with most gardeners I love a bit of planning and looking forward to the next season and year – what shall I change, what new plants shall I get, shall I move some plants as they might do better elsewhere???

We managed to more or less get the garden put to bed for the winter. There are still a few of the perennials that could do with cutting back, but the seed heads still provide some bird feed. Our main task this autumn was clearing up acorns. Altogether, we raked up 5 wheelie binfuls which must be a record (2 years ago we had 2 binfuls and thought that was a lot!). There were so many in the borders that although we have raked the bulk of them up, I’m sure we have left quite a few behind so I will be pulling up a lot of little oak trees during the coming year!

In the first storm of the winter we had a fairly large branch come off the oak tree on the other side of the footpath that runs down the side of our boundary, it landed in our big herbaceous border. Happily it didn’t do too much damage. It broke a branch off the Catalpa and a few twiggy bits off various shrubs. The shrubs where somewhat flattened but in the main came back up on their own.

Over the last few weeks we have suffered from a lot of wind and rain. There is a lot to be said for living on high ground – although we catch the South/South-westerly winds here, which can be extremely noisy – at least there is no chance of being flooded out. Having said that the garden is very soggy and it is impossible to get on the soil at the moment, I will have to start forking over at the first opportunity as it is so compacted from the heavy rain, but I must take care not to damage the tips of the emerging bulbs.

So as we begin 2014, there is quite a bit to do in the garden – the rest of the tidying up of the dead foliage of some of the perennials, some weeds are starting to grow, I have sown a few seeds which now need pricking out (geranium, eryngium, and prunella), and have some wallflowers that I haven’t planted yet!

As we haven’t got a greenhouse, I keep a lot of the tender plants such as Geraniums, echivera, canna’s and aeoniums in our garage, these are beginning to show signs of growth due to the weather generally having been relatively warm for the time of year. (our garage is insulated and has ample light)

The spring catalogues are starting to arrive through the letter box, all tempting me to buy a few more plants – which I am sure I will, as I can’t resist! If you visit our garden this year, hopefully you will see the results. We always have plants for sale too.

Our Open days this year are~:

Sunday 29th June for the National Garden Scheme

Sunday 20th July for the Hospice in the Weald