I feel sorry for gardeners who have no incentive to spend time in their gardens in January, especially on the more clement days like those we have had this week – with colder days due soon, however, it might be a matter of looking for tasks that can be carried out inside for a while! Now that the working greenhouse is up and running again (albeit currently sharing the space with the remnants of reconstruction and unpacked bags and crates) I can at least begin sowing seeds, starting them inside the house before moving them into the greenhouse upon germination.
It’s not just about the seasonal tasks though, as it is a continued pleasure spotting and admiring anything coming into bloom for the first time. With five weeks to go till we open our garden, the witch hazels are all currently in bloom and will be past their best by then, but the hellebores are mostly just coming into bud, the named snowdrops are the same, and the natives will probably be coming into their main display, so I shall just enjoy their progress towards that point. I have recently cut the leaves from most of my hellebores, and the first to bloom, H Spring Promise ‘Anja Oudolf’ (above) has now pushed her stem up higher and more proudly, hopefully soon giving us a better view of the pretty interior of her petals. Below, H ‘Pure Pink Double’, is also much further advanced than any of the others, showing too that hellebores can thrive in a woodland setting.
Also in the woodland, tucked into the bank of the path less travelled, this week I found the first Cyclamen coum, a massive clump I moved from elsewhere after hearing that they can lose out if they have to compete with H hederifolium (or perhaps it’s the other way round!).
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This hellebore always astonishes me with its profligacy, an almost overabundance of buds and, in due course, flowers. I have to remember not to trim its marbled leaves, a feature of x ericsmithii hellebores; this one is H ‘Piroueutte’ and I can visualise it twirling round and around with its swirling pink skirts, like a whirling dervish.
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If you’re constantly tripping over wayward shoes in your entryway, battling piles of paperwork on your kitchen island, or stepping on LEGOs (ouch!), it’s easy to fall into the frustration a cluttered space can cause.
If there is a lesson to be learned about the rose above, ‘Phyllis Bide’, it is not to overlook what is in front of your face. Planted outside the front door a few years ago to replace, on a whim, the bright pink ‘Pink Perpetue’, the bud that this bloom opened from must have been in evidence before I noticed the fully open flower on Thursday, but I hadn’t seen it. Not that I was expecting to see any roses in bloom halfway through January, although it does sometimes happen – and admittedly it tells me that this is a rose I had forgotten to prune when I did my climbers back in the late autumn! The front of the house is in full sun for most of the morning, so the sunshine that accompanied some bitterly cold days this last week has clearly given Phyllis a boost. Overall, however, she has still been outperformed by her predecessor, and needs to pull her socks up to justify her front-of-house position.
I did pop out in the garden first thing on the Saturday morning but that was just for Mark to take a quick photo of me and my Rhubarb. The first Saturday in May is Naked Gardening Day, yes it’s a thing, and the only thing you’re supposed to wear is a smile, so here’s my contribution.
It’s not usual that you can plan ahead for when you’re going to have to spend a day in bed, because you never know when you’re going to be ill. But later this evening I am having my first Covid jab and knowing how it wiped out my husband for an entire day was starting to worry me a little.
After the last couple of weekends being frantic, one with ringing for the Jubilee, and the other with a retirement party and collecting George from university, I finally had a weekend to myself and at home. Saturday morning was busy with shopping and getting pet supplies, the chickens eat so much. The afternoon was house chores and we had a BBQ in the evening which I managed to get it all cooked before it rained. There are 6 of us in the house at the moment so that’s a lot of food for a BBQ. Still the best thing about a BBQ is the left overs for the next couple of days.
I had a little holiday recently. I was hoping to keep you posted on where we were during my week away, but the wifi on the canal boat was a little hit and miss….well more miss than hit. Sometimes it’s great that way because you can really get away from it all.
I am pleased to report that Victoria our new chicken and Big Bird or BB as we now call her, are now getting along very well together. There’s the odd angry look, but BB isn’t scared of her new buddy anymore. They’re still in their separate areas, even in the big brassica cage, but when I’m out in the garden, I let them play on the grass together. The grass is like no man’s land so no one feels they have the upper hand, except me that is. I think next week end they’ll live quite happily in their shed and attached run, but baby steps for them both is needed.
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