Monthly Archives: January 2015

End of month view – January 2015

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A rather sorry end of month view, but then it is January so perhaps I shouldn’t fret.

The old tin bath above was new (in a second hand sort of way) towards the end of last summer. I painted it to match the house and initially filled it with a bit of a quirky mix, including a number of Aeoniums and some Diascia which provided a jolly show to greet those arriving up the steps at the front of the house.

For the winter, I’ve changed its look to a dark red and silver combination of Cyclamen, pansies, Cineraria and Euphorbia mysinites.  Unfortunately I hadn’t read the crucial advice for winter containers, which is to cram in the planting from the word go as the plants won’t really grow and spread in winter as they do in summer.  Consequently my pot is a little sparse, but still, it provides welcome colour at this time of year.

The rest of the garden looks a lot like it’s ‘resting’.

The Drive Bed, below, has a few hellebores (worryingly I think fewer than last year) as well as one of the two Garrya Elliptica.  The strap like leaves are the Sisyrinchium striatum I moved from the Swing Beds in the autumn, the idea being that their flowers should match with the pale yellow flowers of the climbing rose ‘Snow Goose’, later in the year.IMG_5917

The right hand Lavender Bed is not showing much apart from the Phormium, Euphorbia and clipped LavenderIMG_5921

whilst the left hand Lavender bed is a little fuller with Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve‘, Anisodontea and a low conifer (front left) which I’ve forgotten the name of.IMG_5920

The view of the Grass Bed is rather disturbed by all the workmen’s kit.  Whilst the grasses are still looking good, the rest of the bed is pretty empty apart from the Forget me knots.  The numerous spring bulbs are still to raise their heads.IMG_5923

I had a little tidy of the two Med Beds in front of the greenhouse, and cleared away many leaves which had blown into the bed.  The two most obvious plants here are the Euphorbia mysinites (front left) and Agapanthus plants which I planted out last year and were grown from seed two years earlier.  I don’t know whether the Agapanthus will flower this year but I live in hope.IMG_5938

The picture of the two Swing Beds shows the Salvia and Phlomis italica dominating the foreground.  Both need cutting back so they don’t get too leggy this year.

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The photo below is of the Oak Bed, which spends most of the year shaded by the Over-the-road-Oak.  There are a lot of Spring bulbs to come in this bed which take advantage of the better light before the Oak gets its full canopy.  And there are already a number of Hellebores flowering towards the front of the bed.

The Viburnum Tinus is rather overwhelming here and also needs to be cut back.IMG_5913

And to finish, a little more colour.  Sadly this isn’t in my garden, rather in my neighbour’s, but it’s their lovely Mimosa, flowering bravely in the January chill.

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With thanks as ever to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting this End of Month meme,

Wildflower Wednesday – January 2015

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These photos were actually taken on Saturday because it was just such a beautiful morning.  Quite a contrast from this morning’s walk, when the wind was blowing the rain horizontally!

The picture above shows the lovely tracery of branches of our old friend, the over-the-road-oak.

Googling ‘Sea Beet’ for this week’s post, I came across the following article from the Guardian from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, which highlights three plants which can be foraged in the UK. All of them are growing on the Duver and looking good right now, in the middle of winter -Alexanders, Smyrnium olusatrumIMG_5882

Sea beet, Beta vulgaris subsp. maritimaIMG_5886

and Wild garlic or Ramsons,  Allium ursinum.IMG_5876

I’ve never foraged from the Duver (other than blackberries) but I’ve definitely enjoyed wild garlic.  However, that has been picked from my garden, where I’m desperately trying to eradicate it!

There really isn’t much sea beet on the Duver so I think that should be left well alone, but there must be nearly an acre of Alexanders.  Perhaps I should give that a try – according to Hugh F-W “The flavour is aromatic, fragrant – a little musky, a touch juniper-ish”.

In addition to the three plants above, I saw plenty of Winter heliotrope or Butterbur, Petasites fragrans.IMG_5880

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Gorse, Ulex europaeusIMG_5892

and something I’ve not seen before.  These fresh, green, sword shaped leaves were obscured by scrubby growth that was removed by the National Trust earlier in the year.  This has opened up the view and also cleared the area to allow these plants to thrive.  I think they must be Iris foetidissima, see close up of leaves below.IMG_5883

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Assuming that’s what they are, I look forward to seeing them all in flower.

To finish, a couple more photos – the first showing the marram grass, Ammophila,  glossy in the winter sunshine,IMG_5894

and a final one, a little nod towards spring.IMG_5899

With thanks as ever to Gail at Clay and Limestone for hosting the Wildflower Wednesday meme.

 

 

Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day – January 2015

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Anyone who’s read this blog for any length of time will know how much I love my Melianthus Major (above).  And seeing it in the sunlight today prompted me to join Christine at My Hesperides Garden with her Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day, even though I’m a day late!

I’ve used my Macro lens, so these photos are close ups, deliberately concentrating on individual leaves, rather than the whole plant.

It’s been interesting to look at foliage rather than flowers today (and just as well at this time of year!) and I’ve been interested to see how much blue/silver toned foliage I have,  including this tiny Pachyveria succulent,IMG_5825

Phlomis italicaIMG_5844

CinerariaIMG_5826

young Digitalis foliage, IMG_5846

Euphorbia mysinitesIMG_5871

Lavender IMG_5853

and Olive.  IMG_5841

The only red at this time of year is the Cornus and the inherited Phormium below.  I’m not really a fan of phormium and I’ve inherited four.  One I think I should really have out, but the rest provide good structure, so I’ll probably leave them alone this year.IMG_5832

My lovely Stipa tenuissima grasses are looking quite dead, but they will return!   Meanwhile they’re still providing lovely movement along the back of the grass bed.  I’ve combed them through but don’t usually cut them back.  They should start regrowing fairly soon.IMG_5849

One plant I don’t think I’ve ever featured before is another inheritance, a bottlebrush, Callistemon citrinus.  This has got quite large now but I’ve read you can’t prune too severely as it won’t regenerate from low down (a bit like lavender) so I think I should give it just a light trim this year, immediately after flowering, to try to keep it in check.IMG_5864

And to finish, I guess these catkins are strictly flowers, but somehow they sit better here than on GBBD!  These are the lovely catkins of Garrya Eliptica, also known as the Silk Tassel Bush.

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With thanks again to Christina for hosting this lovely meme.

Resolve and realise – January 2015

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You know that saying “if you want something done, ask a busy person”?  Well a year ago I was that person.  I was working (and staying) in London, three days a week, as well as working a further day from home.  Consequently, all my gardening had to be fitted in between Friday and Sunday. And do you know what?  I was far better at getting things done then than I’ve been over the last year, when I’ve been working far less, and rarely away from home overnight.  I find the lure of the sofa, a good cup of coffee and a gardening magazine often wins out over getting the wellies on and getting out there.  Procrastination, I love it.

But it’s got to stop, and this is my plan.  I’m going to share a monthly ‘Resolve and realise’ post where I plan (resolve) to do a number of things over the coming month and then the next month share what I’ve achieved (realised).  Not only do I think it will help concentrate my mind over what I should be up to, but it will certainly concentrate my mind over what I’ve actually done.  Bizarrely, I love a deadline almost as much as procrastination, and for me, it’s definitely the lack of one that leads to the other!

Obviously I don’t have any December resolutions to report on, so I’ll concentrate on (late) plans for January:

  • spring clean greenhouse (yuk!)
  • prune wisteria
  • prune vine
  • dig and prepare new ‘bronze bed’
  • sow more sweet peas
  • sow more broad beans
  • plant out bought replacement crocuses in pots (after a mouse had all of my bulbs)
  • force rhubarb2013 05 and prior 065
  • and mulch all bedsIMG_1292

If anyone would like to join in with me, please feel free, just leave a link with your comment.

In future, I plan to write these ‘Resolve and realise’ posts on the first Sunday of the month, so the next one will be on 1st February.

 

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – January 2015

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So, a funny GBBD – I seem to have a mix of ‘expected’ early spring flowers, like the Iris Gordon, above and belowIMG_5756

together with some tender, hot climate flowers that you think would know better.  For example Melianthus major has just decided to have a second flush of flowers right now:

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But to continue with ‘expected’ flowers, I have a only a few hellebores so far –

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Correa backhouseana,IMG_5775

the odd Clematis Freckles, IMG_5788

and my one paltry Witch Hazel, Hamamelis, (could be Arnold’s Promise, but now starting to doubt it after Chloris said it was the last to flower…)IMG_5770

Less expected at this time of year are succulent flowers.  These are in the (unheated) conservatory.  Two SempervivumsIMG_5749

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and an Aeonium.IMG_5751

Meanwhile, outside, Anisodontea capensisIMG_5796

two Grevillea,IMG_5792

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my incredibly long flowering LeptospermumIMG_5757

and my stalwart Fuschia microphylla.IMG_5779a

And in the greenhouse, in case you’re missing the sun, I’ll finish with Abutilon Orange Marion.IMG_5777

With thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens who hosts the GBBD.