End of Month View: Greening Up

It wasn’t a sunny day today although temperatures, at around 12°C, were the mildest they have been for a few weeks, but somehow everything looked greener and brighter. I imagine it was something to do with the quality of light – with the lighter beginnings and endings seems to come a greater intensity of the light, bringing crisper contrasts and greater definition. Despite the dampness in the air, the garden seemed fresher and more welcoming, in a “Here I am, come and get me!” sort of way – so I did go out there and get it, catching up on many little tasks once the business of EOMV photographs was done and dusted.

I generally take these monthly photographs from the same viewpoints, as much for my benefit as anyone else’s, to allow comparison from month to month and year to year, and if it would help you see where they fit into the garden do refer to the map of the garden which I have conveniently just updated to allow for recent changes – either click here or look under The Garden tab above.

As always, we begin with the main view (above) of the garden from the house, looking over the paved area towards the sitooterie, followed bt the adjacent streamside grass and shrub border, taken from both directions. Crocus are just beginning to appear in the grass and border here, working towards a mottled purple carpet:

Primroses are flowering in the woodland with foliage of bluebells and wild garlic increasingly evident; no doubt the wood anemones are girding their loins just below the leaf litter here too:From the chimney of the bothy at the end of the woodland you can look out over the back end of the garden, with the main borders in the foreground; these borders are also shown from ground level in the next photograph. The bushy green plants in the four square pots are nemesia which have shrugged off the winter so far – technically tender perennials, they are usually treated as annuals, but these were so green and healthy in the autumn I just let them stay and hopefully they will flower again this year.

Turning at about 45°, you will look out over the bronze heuchera bed with the Acer Griseum towards the clematis colonnade, where the spring flowering Clematis alpina are beginning to sprout ready for an early flowering:

Turning a further 45° will show you the walk through the woodland edge border, where the common snowdrops and hellebores are getting a boost from the milder temperatures which are encouraging them into flower. The walk is also shown from the opposite end.

Bold borders #1 and #3 have been tidied and mulched with our 2018 compost, but #2 has had a radical change. I am not sure if I have shown the ‘end result’ before now, but you will see that the border has been dug out and the plants replaced in pots, leaving a narrow raised border at the back for the clematis and climbing rose that are there. I was so disheartened by the lack of success in this border and the number of plants that disappeared from it like the crew of the Marie Celeste, and decided to take tough action. Based on the bright cheerfulness of pots of plants for a sale in garden centres, articles on gardens where plants are grown exclusively in pots, and my own experience of visiting a local gardens where a banked series of pots worked well, it would be at least be an interesting experiment and would bring the benefit of knowing exactly where each plant was, whether alive or dead or somewhere in between.

Popping through the gate here you would see the working greenhouse, not shown, with empty cutting beds to either side, and an array of pots of bulbs ready for sale at our rapidly approaching open garden:

The blue & white border, in three sections, is always difficult to photograph in its entirety which is why I tend to vary the angle:

Similarly the rose garden:

Walking through the clematis colonnade and past the main borders and the woodland we head back towards the house, noting the named preciouses bobbing about in the special snowdrop border, and witch hazel Hamamelis ‘Strawberries and Cream’ at the near end:

Continuing down the side of the house we would reach the new entrance border, where many of the new plants are for early season interest, including my newest witch hazel, H ‘Rubin’ – don’t look up or will miss it!

If you retrace your steps and walk across the back of the house where the first photo was taken, and then down the other side of the house where the Coop is, you will reach the Coop Corner, my new name for the partially shady border created, along with the Coop (a greenhouse, not shown) itself in the area once devoted to our chickens, rehomed three years ago. Another area hard to photograph, I have to pin myself against the wall to try and include the whole border!

The main reason we are opening our garden in February is to share the pleasure we get from the many early season flowering plants,  but will happily show the bare structure of the garden too, along with empty and dormant beds. Likewise, these End of Month View posts have always been ‘warts and all’: the garden is at is – and nurtures my soul – whatever the season.

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23 Responses to End of Month View: Greening Up

  1. Heyjude says:

    You have some lovely plants in your garden and I am impressed how clean and tidy it looks. And I also like the border of pots. When I got a garden after 10 years without I said I would not have pots, but I seem to have more than ever!

    • Cathy says:

      We can thank the Golfer for the tidy paths, which make the whole garden look better! I am pleased to read that you like the pots – I wasn’t sure how it would look and of course we can’t judge i5ts real success until the summer! In a small garden there are a lot of advantages in having pots and more people seem to be going down that route – but of course most of us can do what we want in our own gardens anyway!

      • Heyjude says:

        In a small garden I think you have to have pots as you run out of room! I just hate the faff of having to repot plants and all the lifting of heavy pots. I have no planting borders in my courtyard so have to rely on pots if I want plants there, which I do. And of course it is easier to bring a more tender plant indoors if it is in a pot!

        • Cathy says:

          Pros and cons then! I repotted half my hostas last year (well, refreshed the soil) and meant to do the other half this year but am not sure I can be bothered! Perhaps after this Feb opening I might reconsider..,

  2. Pauline says:

    All looking very neat and tidy, far tidier than mine! It is a wonderful time of year with everything popping up once more, your snowdrops and witch hazels are looking wonderful.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Pauline – I am really pleased with how tidy it looks but I am sure it wouldn’t be like that if we weren’t opening in a fortnight! Sadly the witch hazels are mostly past their best but at least they are still colourful

  3. nancy marie allen says:

    I loved your garden tour, even in winter!

  4. bcparkison says:

    I love all of the pot sitting around ….but to go out and buy pots would take a bank robbery .

  5. Featherlight Homestead says:

    Beautiful! Here in michigan we’ve still got snow and frozen ground, won’t be free of it for a while yet. It’s good to see some green on my feed though to keep me tied over.

    • Cathy says:

      Here we have had a relatively mild winrer so far, with no snow at all, but there is still time for that to change! Glad to read that our garden helped inject a bit of colour!

  6. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I started reading your blog sometime between the second and third map. Things sure have changed over the years. You keep your garden so tidy. I admire how when something doesn’t grow to suit you you just rip it out and start over. An inspiration to me for sure. I need to be doing some of that. I too have noticed the light is bending a bit toward a brighter hue. It makes my heart go pitty patter and the plants start greening despite the cold weather we will surely have yet this season.

    • Cathy says:

      It surprises even me what a difference a change can make – and that I can keep finding a way to modify things for (hopefully!) a better result! Finding extra space for planting is always a challenge and this last year I have definitely increased the planting space, which is really exciting but realistically won’t keep on happening… And yes, my heart goes pitty patter at this time of year too!!

  7. Catherine says:

    I was only just thinking that I must walk around my garden and see what is poking up out of the soil. If only I had made a special snowdrop border I might not be so concerned that mine seem to have disappeared. Your new Hammamelis will be stunning in a year or two. Will you not find watering the perennials in pots hard work overt the summer?

    • Cathy says:

      It is good to have a walk around the garden every day, Catherine – you can build up a really intimate relationship with it that way. And yes, watering in a dry weather will be the downside but at least the pots are all grouped together which should make it easier…

  8. Anna says:

    The snowdrop border is a flurry of white and ‘Strawberries and Cream’ is a most desirable companion for your lovely ‘drops. Oh all is looking so neat and tidy Cathy and ready for spring to arrive 😄

  9. What a wonderful garden – everything looks ready to suddenly burst into life 🌿

  10. Cathy says:

    Lovely! One day I will have to visit in person Cathy. It looks so full of life, even in winter.

  11. The forest is divine. I like nemesias a lot. I love Witch hazel. The Coop Corner is full of lovely plants and form a wonderful set. The garden is wonderful in all the photographs that are magnificent. I hope with all my heart that the opening of the garden in February will be a success and that the weather will accompany it. Greetings from Margarita.

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