The first weekend of 2015 is coming to a close and the prospect of returning to work after the Christmas break is upon me. For me any time spent in the garden at this time of year is a bonus. I don’t believe in the approach of putting the garden to bed particularly as I need to spend time outside and with plants on a regular basis to keep me sane. Even if it is only, like today, half an hour wandering around the garden taking photographs of the frosted plants it makes all the difference to me.
Over the period between Christmas and New Year we have had several days of temperatures just at freezing although not going below 0C but also a few days with milder weather which gave me the chance to do some more tidying up. I even managed to work my way through the Cottage Garden Border weeding and dead-heading which was a real bonus. I am always cheered by the sight of a tidy border which makes me think that the idea of a more natural look would never work for me! I have also managed to clean up the plants overwintering in the garage, sow some fern spores and also re-pot sempervivums which I hope to show later in the year. Finally, I dug up the Magnolia stellata which was at the far end of the Big Border and had been looking a little unhappy. Having dug it up it seems that the reason it wasn’t doing well was due to a lack of root system! It may be too late for the plant but I have potted it up and it is now sitting on the patio in intensive care.
With the cold temperatures, and fog, making gardening unpleasant I have taken the opportunity to catch up on my garden magazine reading, as well as looking at seed and bulb catalogues. I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions as to me you are just putting yourself under pressure to achieve something and life has a habit of getting in the way unless you are very single minded. Instead I have some ideas and plans I would like to implement and achieve during the coming year. I have already said in an earlier post that I hope to show more plants and I have already started working towards this by potting up and cleaning some sempervivums. I am beginning to form a plan for the border in front of the new seating area and I am seriously considering removing the Stipa gigantica from the Big Border as it too large for the space and I seem to spend a lot of time cutting it back which seems to go against the nature of the plant. If I do remove it I will be able to use the space, in one of the sunniest parts of the garden, for agapanthus and other sun loving bulbs which will be a bonus. I also plan to move the Cotinus from the lower part of the Big Border to roughly where the Magnolia was as this will make the border space work better. In the next few months I also want to work through the Woodland Border to improve the planting combinations and see what needs improving and finally I would like to do something with the bamboo border along the fence which needs some evergreen structure among the bamboos – I think I have a plan for this.
I think I said last year I want to garden better and this still holds true. Although I am surprised when I look back at photos from the past year that the garden looks better than I remember it there is still work to be done on improving planting combinations and more importantly the performance of plants. As ever I am experimenting with sowing seeds from plants new to me including more bulbs and also more Mediterranean plants. I find that through researching the plants to help me grow the seeds I learn more and more and widen my knowledge.
I have also tidied up my pile of seed/bulb catalogues and gardening notebooks which was long overdue and am ashamed to say that I have 3 notebooks which all have records of seed sowings with no really record of what seeds did well. I am terrible at keeping records and I wonder if this is a reaction to the fact that I spend my working life doing administration so I don’t want to do it when I get home. If I were to have a New Year’s resolution it would be to keep better records and I am all set up now to give it yet another go – but with low expectations!
This coming week the various garden clubs I attend start their meetings and I know it won’t take long before my head is buzzing with ideas and information on top of all the work stuff I have to absorb. My 2015 diary is already groaning with events and gardens I want to attend during the year so it has been wonderful to take time out these last two weeks to just think and ponder, plan and dream and recharge.