Monday, 20 January 2014

Musings while doing the winter tidy up

I thought my day in the garden was scuppered this morning as it was raining: it wasn't forecast to and I was not amused! So it was on with some house cleaning and waiting to see if the weather cleared, which it did by mid morning, hooray!

Bracken the dog and he is amazing
Off out into the garden with my faithful hound (ha ha) - faithful as long as there are no other distractions to lead him astray. The faithful hound in question, if you haven't met him before is one Bracken, a Jack Russell Terrier (or terror). Seriously he is a great wee dog, full of character and good company. He's almost a year and half old and still full of puppy nonsense. His biggest downfall in the garden is his strange reaction to brushes, rakes and other garden tools which he barks hysterically at and savages, no peaceful day in the garden unless David is around and uses "The voice" - the commanding tone that can stop Bracken in his tracks. 

I got the second two beds of the morning garden weeded and dug over and the rest of the patio swept up, down the steps and into the kids garden. I also got two of the beds in the kids garden cut back, weeded and dug over, I love doing this job, although hard work it gives me a huge amount of satisfaction to see the beds all tidy.


Some winter colour, Hedera colchica 'Dentata Variegata' and
Galanthus 'John Grey'

This year I am cutting some of the climbers back quite severely to rejuvenate them and to allow us to paint the play-hut. Three of the climbers are clematis alpina types and don't normally get hard pruned, but we needed to clear the area where they are growing. Its a risk but I have left a good two feet of stem above the ground and hopefully they will sprout from there. This also allows new growth and therefore flowers will be lower on the plant where we can see them better.

Once I had pruned the Clematis I pruned two Chaenomeles (flowering quince) growing in this area. The variety on the woodland fence is Chaenomeles 'Knaphill Scarlet', a deep red variety which has been planted here for about 13 years. Ideally they should be pruned after flowering, but I don't always remember. At this time of year its relatively easy to see the forming flower buds so I cut them back to there. Again they received a good prune this year to keep them in their place and allow access to paint the play-hut. These plants are spiny so be careful when handling them, but this also makes them good for boundary fences. On the trellis between the kids hgarden and fruit and veg garden is Chaenomeles nivalis, a prety white flowering variety. Again pruned back to this years flower buds it will form a nice back-drop for the new Thalictrums planted at the back of this bed last year; Thalictrum 'Elin'.

Chaenomeles 'Knaphill Scarlet'
The weather so far this winter has been amazing and I am getting ahead with the winter tidy up. Although satisfying it is a big job when you have 2 acres to do! But it's what I love doing and getting ahead now will mean we can spend time on new areas and new plantings, which is always the most exciting bit for me.
Clematis alpina 'Columbine'

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