Gardening in January | Winter Jobs

I am thinking it may be more accurate to rename this blog: ‘No Time to Garden’ as I have not done any proper gardening for some time! I was ill with flu towards the end of December and it continued until the beginning of January, along with a mountain of other work and commitments to deal with. All for a good cause though.

I finally stepped out in the garden today though and I got some much needed fresh air and the garden (well, part of it) got some much needed TLC. It was nothing majorly exciting, just some minor weeding here and there, along with clearing away some of the brown foliage ready for fresh Spring growth. I noted the first signs of daffodils peeking out of the ground and I think I became too hopeful in my eagerness for Spring because some hours later it began bucketing down with hailstones. Ha! It did not defeat me (not at first, anyway) and I sheltered in my greenhouse. It continued however and I had to admit defeat after putting all my tools away. Ah well, I have another free day tomorrow where I will do some more tending and weeding. It’s actually refreshing to clean all the ground up at this time of year and prep all the plants ready to begin growing afresh once more for Spring. Am I the only one who enjoys the Spring time and early Summer before late Summer arrives? My garden can feel slightly overwhelming and chaotic (again, due to time constraints!) towards the end of Summer. However, I am excited to see how things grow on again this year.

I focused on one area in the garden today that I want to work on this year and I’ve evaluated some things that did not work so well last year. Please note that I did not take any photos of the garden today as wet weather conditions and clay soil = muddy wellies and equally muddy gloves, so camera use was off limits. I will show you what some areas of the garden were looking like last year in growth so it can paint a picture for you though:


Today I focused on the focal border in the Rose Garden:


Here is that area of the garden from last Summer. Hello chaos:



I removed the goat willow (circled in blue) last year as I thought it was adding little to the border. The green line now shows where the rose hedge resides. As the photo shows, I had planted cosmos that I had grown from seed mixed in with the roses, which were beautiful on one hand, but as they grew they hid the beauty of the roses. Much to Mr Meadow’s dismay I tore most of them out when the chaos became too much!


Surely, you cannot disagree with this display though, can you:


Looking at the garden as it was today, the row of roses (they now follow the green line pictured above), combined with the lavender hedging in front is a more cohesive structure which I prefer. However, I think this border needs some additional evergreen structure for the Winter time because it looks so bare right now. Moreover, once I prune the rose bushes before Spring arrives, the bed will be even more sparse! I would therefore like to add a small ornamental tree into the middle of this border, but I am undecided as what to plant. I have a number of considerations to make my decision:


  1. The manhole cover in this bed disguised by a table is for water drainage, so I need something either shallow rooted or unlikely to search out water supplies (the thought fills me with dread…)
  2. It needs to be narrow enough to add height to the border without taking over or stealing light from the other planting.
  3. It may be of some benefit if it was evergreen to add some much needed structure to this area in Winter.
  4. It needs to be either slow growing or short in stature.


…I’m not asking for much, am I?


So far my research has not turned up anything fitting all those requirements. I am considering perhaps planting an evergreen shrub instead, but its form needs to be vertical. Have any of you faced a similar situation in an area of your own plot and what did you decide to do? Another option for me is to add topiary of some form, but I am unsure whether that will suit the garden as a whole. Decisions, decisions!

Anyway, this will need some more mulling over. The good thing is that I certainly have enough time to consider my options due to the frosty weather we are having at the moment!


Written by Bethany Wright





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