End of Month View: Ready and Waiting

EOMV.Jan15.1With the witch hazels almost all in flower, the snowdrops coming along and the hellebores preparing for their unbeatable display, the garden definitely feels as if it is ready and waiting for whatever the season will throw at it – yesterday, or Thursday night to be exact, it was snow. Only half an inch of it, and rain this morning washed it all away, and although we have had a share of the bitter Polar air it is only a very small share as other parts of the UK and even 5-10 miles from us have had much more. The pictures above show the view from the back of the house, today and yesterday. Not a lot of activity here, but the violas in the pots in the foreground are still in their pots, thanks to the mesh covering them, and there are tulips pushing through the soil in the biggest of the square pots.

To the right of this paved area is the stream and adjacent grass and the new shrub border which I am beginning to enjoy already, with those structural grasses and the relocated cornus adding a splash of winter colour. There is no sign of any crocus emerging in the grass yet, nor flowers on the new Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’, but both will surprise me one day, I am sure. The stream, you may be pleased to hear, has been running successfully without needing to be topped up since October and the end of the long dry spell, suggesting that it was largely an evaporation problem (once possible leakages were comprehensively attended to, that is). It is such a lovely feature so this is a big relief!

IMG_4078The bluebells are all pushing their way up in the woodland, reminding me that I intended to split them last year, but there is no sign of the wood anemones yet. I was surprised at the number of twigs underfoot when I rambling through it today, blown from the trees in recent gusts –

IMG_4079I nearly forgot to take a picture from ‘Bill’s chimney’, the viewing point of the bothy, and had to go back – I am really looking forward  to this view once the main borders are at their peak, particularly if I can improve on the flowering performance. Two pots of spent annuals that were waiting to be emptied are glaring at me in this photo (and the next)!

IMG_4090I haven’t added compost to these borders yet or forked them through as the chilly weather is no incentive to get on with it although I did made a start on some of the others this week. I keep looking at the penstemon and erysimum here and wondering how severely to cut them back – too late for the erysimum probably.

IMG_4080Not far from the spot of the above photo is this view of the clematis colonnade, where most of the new clematis will be accommodated:

IMG_4082The woodland edge borders are picking up now with the onset of snowdrops and hellebores, but everyone’s favourite persicaria, Red Dragon, is still resting and deservedly so – photo on the left from almost the same spot as the last two and on the right from the opposite direction:

EOMV.Jan15.2The left and right bold borders had a bit of an overhaul during the week and compost forked in, with some of the geums relocated in the beds and crocosmia taken in hand. Reading the newest Gardeners World magazine I now learn that the latter should be thinned every two years to maintain good flowering, so despite what I have done already I will dig up the complete clumps, separate the corms and thin them out even more. They barely flowered this year, partially through lack of water but also perhaps because they haven’t been thinned out.

EOMV.Jan15.3The newest part of the bold borders, in the foreground of the right picture is home to some autumn sown centaurea and some antirhinum and cleome seedlings that didn’t flower last year – in addition to various  bulbs, mostly tulip and allium. The progress of the allium is clearly visible in this snowy picture of one of the cutting beds:

IMG_4071An unusual view of the blue & white borders, my rambling route still blocked by the ceanothus, due to be looked at tomorrow:

IMG_4086The rose garden is empty of blooms but the roses are all pruned and both sides of the ‘bus shelter’ have been prepared for a mulch of slate chippings, to keep down the appearance of a pesky unidentified weed:

IMG_4087IMG_4088Down towards the house again and the species snowdrop border, where Chloris has put two and two together and correctly surmised that the bricks are to build a raised bed for the preciouses. Having been able to admire the ones in the greenhouse recently without having to stoop low, a chance thought that came when looking at the border from the kitchen window inspired me to improve their position – and hence the bricks. Initially I shall build 3 courses but possibly increase it to 4 – the bed already slopes towards the front but a fourth course would need a row of bricks at the back as well. I am sure the snowdrops will appreciate it too – but they will have to wait as it’s too cold to lay bricks just now…

Helen the Patient Gardener hosts this End of Month meme, where garden bloggers can share changing views of their garden or part of their garden – helpful for us too, to keep a record this way. Do check out Helen’s blog to see other people’s gardens – and don’t forget there is a map to help you find your way round my garden and establish where the photographs were taken.



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21 Responses to End of Month View: Ready and Waiting

  1. Christina says:

    I always love seeing the structural parts of your garden; you have done such a good job of linking the different areas together yet retaining mystery. Glad you didn’t have too much snow, I think we received more of the polar blast than you, it has been bitterly cold here today.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Christina – I try to look at it objectively sometimes, and this winter I seem to have noticed the structure more, particularly the hard landscaping of which there is quite a lot!

  2. Amy says:

    I love the way you’ve handled different levels, and no doubt but the raised bed will enhance the effect. Stay safe and warm 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      Oh thanks Amy – the garden has a slight slope down from left to right (south to north) and down from back to front (west to east) too, so in some places a step down has proved useful. It was all just flat when we first came here though!

  3. Brian Skeys says:

    Lovely to have a ramble through your garden while in the warmth of home.
    The clematis colonnade looks very impressive.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Brian – I feel the clematis, although a good idea, has underperformed – hence additional clematis and the determination to water them during drier periods!

  4. Sending you warm thought from North Carolina where we enjoy a milder winter that our North and North East gardening friends. Enjoyed being in your garden again today a la this blog. Joining you in Spring thoughts.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Stephany – UK winters are so variable now, but we have certainly got off very lightly in our garden this year, so far anyhow, and spring is certainly on its way 🙂

  5. croftgarden says:

    A walk around the gardening in the winter is such a good time for assessing the structural bones and addings jobs to the “to do” list.
    I’m not growing penstemons at present, but the advice I was given when I first started was not to cut them down until Easter. You can be quite hard on them, but not brutal.

    • Cathy says:

      I have really noticed the bones of it this year, and am fairly pleased with what I saw – not many jobs on the ‘to do’ list! I think I should have been hard on the penstemons in previous years but at least they are getting some attention now. Taking cuttings and starting with ‘new’ plants is probably a better way to get some flowers 😉

  6. Pauline says:

    I enjoyed my wander through your garden with you. You are more up to date than I am, I haven’t started to prune my roses yet, they will get done eventually! You are going to enjoy making your raised bed for your special snowdrops, I’m sure they will enjoy a bit of cosseting!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Pauline – it is probably the first year I have systematically pruned ALL the roses, so there’s no guarantee I will make a habit of it! Temperatures need to be quite a few degrees higher before I can start the bricklaying but I may take up the brick edging today as it is dry with a hint of sunshine. The snowdrops can rest in peace for a little longer 😉

  7. Cathy your garden looks much more open in winter though I think some of the reason is also the removal of the big trees and the bothy is so much more useful, I like the looking down view, and will be interested to see it change over the year, your new shrub border near the stream looks nice is that where the rugosas are? Frances

    • Cathy says:

      And I think removing the trees also and perhaps inevitably makes a difference to the wind passage, Frances. Yes, the rugosas are at the back of this border – alba, Hansa and Agnes – I am really looking forward to them flowering

  8. Everything is looking ready for the garden season to start there once you get a bit more warm weather….more snow and cold here so the wait goes on.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh indeed – the hellebores and snowdrops certainly notice the sunshine when it appears. Chilly here to the end of the week I believe and snow for some, but not here in the Midlands

  9. Beautiful bones, Cathy. Thank you for your generous tour of such a lovely garden. I can see you’ve worked with this plot for a long time, and have a wonderful collection of things growing. You’ve a lot more in growth at the moment than do we- Best wishes, WG

    • Cathy says:

      We came to the property in 1996, WG, but it was about 2000 before we had time to start working on the garden, which was essentially just grass and hedge when we came. The bottom end in particular has been through several revisions and modifications since then 😉

  10. Sheila says:

    LOVE those arbours. They are such a lovely colour, too. In fact, all those shots are charming. Does the brickwork attract slugs? I’m very fond of bricks but someone told me that they were Slug Heaven. Not that it will change my mind, mind you, but I wonder what someone else’s experience is with them.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Sheila, and thanks for dropping in – I do like the physical presence of arbours and brickwork in my garden, and I wouldn’t say I have any more slugs than anyone else because of the bricks 😉

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