I always think that January and February are busy prepping months for the garden. All those bulbs that you planted will hopefully be steadily growing away. Some may already be pushing little green shoots through the soil. I have been in and out of the garden and greenhouse quite a lot of the past week or so. Mostly stopping and looking at what is there, what isn't there and what will be soon.
I'm lamenting a lack of winter colour. I have lots of evergreen shrubs in the garden, and they keep the garden from looking too bare. But I would like to get some more winter colour n the form of ealry flowering plants, more shrubs with red leaves and winter berries. I have a list (of course), and I have slipped it into the back of my garden notebbook for later in the year.
It's probably a good time to have a real hard look at your garden now. Here in the UK, our gardens are mostly sleeping, and it is a good time to look at the gaps, look at potential and plan for the coming growing season. I have re-sited some plants and have a couple more to do. Some of them have been dwarfed by faster growing companions, and need some space of their own. My orange Geum has been moved to a newly created wider borde r It isgetting too big for the raised bed, but isn't quite big enough to divide into more plants.
I was lucky enough to have some garden centre vouchers from my Mum for Christmas, and have bought four roses in the sale. They are all bush roses and highly scented. I don't think that there is much point in having a rose that doesn't smell. I'm really excited about this addition to the garden, because I have longed for them and yet have been a bit fearful about buying them. I always thought that they needed a lot of care, but my guru Laeticia has convinced me otherwise.
|Using the garden hose as a marker for digging out the wider border. I know, very high tech.|
|It is not a climbing frame, Olly|
They have gone into the area above that I dug out at the end of last year. The screen will be used to grow an evergreen clematis, I just haven't bought it yet. It looks a lot tidier than in this photo, because I have given the whole border and length of this part of the garden a neat gardener's edge. You can also see a Hebe in it's pot that I picked up in the sale. This is evergreen and should start to flower soon. It's a slow growing shrub that I hope will establish itself nicely this year. Oh and I also bought my first Camellia. Just a little thing for now, but I can't wait for it's flowers to unfurl and greet me this Spring.
This area will look rather patchy for a while. If you want longevity in a garden you need patience. Shrubs can take time to get established. But it's worth the wait. They should be the backbone of a garden. Shrubs provide a foil to all those gorgeous blooms that appear in Spring and Summer. They add interest and texture and are beautiful in their own right. They can provide ground cover for birds and other garden visitors. They come in all shapes, sizes and colours. There are as many for shade as there are for sun. Hooray for the shrub!
This year my big plan for the garden lies in my attempt to grow as much as possible - annual, perennial and vegetable - from seed. Growing from seed is an inexpensive way of gardening. It takes a little time and patience, but if you give it a go you can be rewarded with so much. Not only a bounteous crop of salad vegetables or beautiful wafty blooms, for example. But from the pure joy of nurturing a dormant seed into a living, breathing thing of beauty and usefulness.
It is a rollercoaster adventure when you start playing with seeds. If you are like me, and love a good catalogue browse over a cup of tea, then you will faint from delight at the beautiful mail order seed suppliers out there. My favourites are Sarah Raven and Chiltern Seeds. I spend days perusing them, highlighting my favourites, whittling down the lust list and then placing my order.
When the seed packets arrive, I sit at the dining table and fan them out in front of me. It is a precious moment. One full of potential. In my head there is always this picture of my garden in full bloom. It is a riot of colour and shape and form. Here are Cosmos, Snapdragon, Nigella, Zinnia, Larkspur and Cornflower attracting the pollinators and wafting in the breeze. There are runner beans, broad beans, french beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, chillies, courgettes swelling and ripening on the vine or in the ground. It smells delicious too.
Children love growing stuff from seed. I have found with Olly that it is a good idea to grow some quick growing cress seeds or broad bean seeds alongside others that take longer to germinate. It helps to hold their interest and attention. They love the process of potting up seeds too, although you may want to give them some seed of their own and accept that it may not survive their unique kind of love and devotion....
I'm wondering whether I should make this a weekly post? It would be a shorter post of course, and would become more of a gardening diary. I like the idea of sharing the garden with you all week on week. What do you think? Would you be interested at all?
And another thing. Is gardening a middle aged pursuit? I don't think it is; I think gardening is vibrant and cool and sexy!! What do you think?