End of January: Full of Promise, as Another Year Begins to Gather Steam

Unlike the previous two months, I was aware of the end of January approaching, enabling me to post a timely End of Month View for a change. It has been a lovely, fairly mild and sunny day with the occasional not unpleasant breeze, but the low early afternoon sun necessitated a change of angle for some of the usual views, to reduce either shadow or glare. You may note, as you wander round the garden with me, that it is beginning to look quite tidy, with swept paths and a distinct lack of random pots with contents waiting for a good home, all in preparation for the forthcoming garden opening.

As usual, we start with the view from the back of the house (above), what I see from the main kitchen windows. The plants in the pots in the foreground are bellis, which tend to sit around until well into February before putting on a growth spurt. Most of the other pots are planted with tulips, none of which are starting to show, and some will be overplanted with polyanthus if Aldi, my usual supplier, have them in stock this year as they have done in as many previous years as I can remember. The ladder propped up towards the top right is being used by the Golfer to remove some of the upward-facing shoots on the apple trees.

Below, we have the streamside grass and shrub border from both directions, with some of the witch hazels clearly visible, flowering viburnum , prunus and crocus less so.

Moving on through the woodland, amongst the named snowdrops, we reach the bothy where we can climb up and look down over the main borders and clematis colonnade towards the woodland edge border. Standing behind the shed, we can look over the same area from a different angle. In the woodland edge border, some of the hellebores are now opening and there a few splashes of white from the double common snowdrop Galanthus flore pleno, whilst the more common G nivalis now have white buds, so progress is being made!

Stipa tenuissima currently dominates the grass border, and the other taller grasses will be cut back once we get the open garden out of the way, before new growth starts to show. In the two nearby bold borders, allium foliage is pushing its way up amongst the hibernating herbaceous perennials. A sown-from-seed wallflower, although ugly in shape and manner, continues to provide blooms after a number of years in the corner of the second bold border, and will begin budding up as the days lengthen and temperatures rise.

Through the gate, we can see the bubble wrapped greenhouse, now filling up not just with overwintering cuttings, but early sweet peas and the first trays of germinated seedlings. The cutting beds will remain empty this winter, but next winter I will consider growing green manure in them.

The blue & white border has been revamped this year, and I look forward to seeing how the contents fill out and work alongside each other in due course. Continuing through the rose garden, where the bushes were pruned at the start of the year and are now sprouting new leaves, we walk under the clematis colonnade and amongst the main borders, where more allium is emerging despite, I thought, being comprehensively culled in at least of the beds.

Heading back towards the house, we pass the new obelisk border, where a few of the narcissi I planted are poking through, along with a couple of what must be remnants of the named snowdrops that were moved to the woodland – I shall have fun working out what varieties they are once they grow a little bigger! We can then glance up at the wisteria on the gable of the house, before having a peep in the Coop (where some pots of bulbs have been temporarily moved into the house to chivvy up their blooms!) and at the Coop Corner beyond it, where a handful of hellebores are trying hard to flower and put in a show for our visitors.

These end of month posts are a great way of monitoring progress of the garden and the changing seasons – and the vagaries of Mother Nature, who gives our plants permission to grow and flower at a time that suits them. We may think things are flowering earlier or later than usual, but in practice they are flowering at exactly the right time and we must accept this, like it or not!

If you find it hard to imagine how the different parts of the garden fit together, you may not yet have discovered there is a map under ‘The Garden’ tab above, and a guide to where the photographs are normally taken from. It is far from being a typical square or rectangular plot, and there are different ways to walk around it, so the map will help you to orientate yourself.

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12 Responses to End of January: Full of Promise, as Another Year Begins to Gather Steam

  1. Rosie Amber says:

    It is certainly all getting ready to burst forth.

  2. bcparkison says:

    Want Spring be a welcome visitor? Every thing is looking ready to show off .

  3. Cathy says:

    It’s nice to see the structure of the garden so clearly at this time of year, and that sunshine lighting up your witch hazels is lovely! We haven’t seen much of the sun here recently!

  4. Going Batty in Wales says:

    I am itching to get on with the garden but until the Coppicing season ends I ahve no time or energy. Then it will be a race to catch up!

    • Cathy says:

      Do you do a lot of your own coppicing?

      • Going Batty in Wales says:

        Helped by Laura who works with me 2 days a week we aim to cut enough wood to heat both our homes so in winter wooding is pretty full on. On wet days in summer we split and cut and stack. I must do another post on my woodland.

        • Cathy says:

          How large is your woodland? We visited an open garden many years ago which included a strip of woodland, making me wish we had space for one – then when I thought about I realised we did, and that’s why my teeny woodland was planted back in 2000. Nothing like yours of course, but it means a lot to me to have it

  5. Pauline says:

    Everything looks ready for your visitors, but we have another cold spell to get through first! Hopefully the weather will be kind to you for your opening.

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