I must say that it was a slow start to the month with cold weather holding things up, only by the middle of the month did the temperature reach double figures and then came the wind. Even this morning we had a light snow shower. Normally I’m walking or climbing abroad this month but due to procrastinating I’m still suffering the British weather – I have however make good progress with pruning and shredding, neglected lately, so a large area of the borders now has a decent mulch. Accompanying me has been the sound of birdsong – it becomes louder as the month progresses, reminding me to provide some more nesting boxes. All around in Longridge the fields are being eaten up with new developments, now that planning control has become meaningless, so I’m glad I have my own bit of countryside no matter how small.
The usual bulbs have pushed through and started flowering – snowdrops, crocuses, narcissi, scilla and anemone blanda – A few early herbaceous plants are flowering – a primula variety, bergenia and pulmonaria officinalis. I have a young prunus ‘Autumnalis Rosea’ which struggles to show a few blossoms, I hope it will improve with age.This exercise of showing a month by month diary of my garden is beneficial in that it is highlighting gaps which I hope to fill. I notice my yellow witch hazel [Hamamelis] has disappeared and needs replacing. Within the last couple of days my pieris japonicas are just coming into flower – the aptly named ‘lily-of-the-valley shrub’.What will March have to offer?
I have been meaning to follow my garden through the seasons for awhile – January is a good place to start. Due to our topsy-turvy climate this year there are no pretty pictures of fragile blossoms pushing through the snow, though a spell of icy weather has retarded some plants.
The photo above shows a rather bare garden with my progress in cutting down a 50year old Blue Spruce that lost all its needles a couple of years ago and unfortunately shows no sign of recovery. The best wood will fuel my stove but I’ve decided to shred the brash to use as garden mulch.
January is a difficult month for flowers and I’ve relied on hardy shrubs to bulk up this post. From the start of the year the Mahonia, Jasmine and Virburnum have been in constant bloom. Slowly the Hellebores have come into flower and that’s about it really but I’m hoping things will get going next month. Maybe I should plan ahead for next January with more plantings.
Helleborus argutifolius. Corsican Hellebore.
Helleborus niger, Christmas Rose.
I’ve just come in from the garden as the sun sets and starlings congregate in a nearby tree for possibly some murmuration later.