Where did January go?? It is usually a month that feels very long, but the last few weeks have flown away for me. It has been rather cold here in London, much, much colder than last January, but it was unusually mild last year and statistically we won’t have it like that every year – sadly! This January the temperatures have been between 2-8 degrees C, with a biting cold wind for most of the time. So far I have not seen a single snow flurry and including last month I have had only 4 nights where it dipped below freezing, but just barely below - at the bottom of my garden. I have an indoor weather station that measures the temperatures 2 places in my garden and up at the backdoor where my nursery shelves are there still hasn’t been any frost at all according to my thermometers. The minimum temp recorded there so far this winter was 0.5 C, last week.
The cold weather has made my garden take a pause and hold its breath, not much has happened the last 2 weeks or so. A lot of plants have buds ready to open, but it seems they are just holding on, not really willing to open the flowers just yet. I don’t blame them for waiting for a bit warmer weather, the raw, bone chilling wind makes the 2-4 degrees C feel far colder. But it won’t take more than a few days of nice weather and I will have lots of hellebores, chaenomeles and crocus in full flower.
The snowdrops don’t seem to mind the temperature nor the wind, I have them popping up all over the garden. These are double snowdrops, Galanthus nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’.
The Camellia japonica ‘Takanini’ keeps opening one or two flowers at the time, it has been flowering since November and despite being just a tiny 2 year old twig, it still got loads of more buds.
There are big changes coming in my garden....well, it’s almost 4 years since last time I did any big changes so I am getting restless! A lot of plants are talking a walk and getting a new address in my garden, some are going to get a new home somewhere else if I manage to give them away and some are ending up at the council’s compost heap. Yep, that’s how it goes....one rose has already gone to the council, I was so fed up with the blackspot problems, besides I have had it for more than 10 years so I suppose that’s a good life for a rose.
Today I have spent the whole day lifting all the spring bulbs that were in this bed (after taking this photo) – I must have lifted around five hundred in total, many of them having not emerged above the mulch layer yet. There were 3 types of snowdrops, many types of crocus, 2 types of Iris reticularis, 3 varieties of Hyacinths, Crocosmia, lilies, allium - and some old daffodil bulbs that didn’t flower well anymore so they went in the bin. But the rest were potted up, I have pots of spring bulbs everywhere now! I also lifted the 3 hemerocallis that were here and all the primroses.
And all of this is because the bed is getting new plants, this is going to be a rose and daylily bed and I can’t wait to see it finished and in full flower! Not only that, the arch leaning down in the bed is getting roses too, I am getting rid of the Dregea sinensis growing on it, and instead I am going to have 2 David Austin roses growing up the arch, the roses arrived today and work digging out the two Dregea plants starts tomorrow. I am getting help taking them out, hopefully they won’t have roots halfway down to China, but you never know, they have been in the ground for 8 years....wish me luck, or rather, wish my friend Gabrielle luck!
It might be winter, cold, and snowing in many parts of Britain right now, but my head is just filled with everything I am planning to do in the garden. I am happy working outside with layers of clothes on – sitting down on my trusty stool with an old throw over my legs I can get quite a lot done. I have so many plants that should have been in the ground already and one promise I have made myself is to try to reduce the amount of pots I have before the blazing summer starts. OK, so we don’t have a blazing summer every year, but we might get another one just like last year and the year before, you never know?! Anyway, spring is only a short 4 weeks away here in London, no time like the present!
The plants are feeling the longer days too, I’ve got a good few Iris reticularis in flower and they are such cheery sight in the bleak winter light.
I have made a video of my garden this time too, and for the first time I have also included a shot of the garden from my bedroom upstairs. That window is the only window in the house where you can see the garden, and I sometimes sit in the chair I have next to the window and just look at the garden, especially on days when it is raining and I can’t really get out there myself. The only downside with watching my garden from above is that from that angle you also get the view of the neighbours’ gardens – I am afraid they are not such a pretty sight, whatever time of year.
The music for this month’s video is ‘Illumination’ by the duo Secret Garden - Fionnuala Sherry and Rolf Løvland (and Rolf Løvland just happens to be my mother’s cousin :-))
As always, my videos are best viewed in HD, please adjust the quality using the little gear icon in the bottom right corner, and if you have download speed for it, the quality is high enough to watch it full screen in HD (well worth it). Here’s 4:15 min from my January garden.
I am linking this post to Helen at The Patient Gardener’s Weblog.
And although other parts of the country use the astronomical season to determine spring, here in London it is more correct to use the meteorological season, so if you missed it the first time around....spring starts on the 1st March – in 4 short weeks!!
Until next time, take care.