The vaguely green-fingered thoughts of a rambling rose.

First post of the New Year


Time constraints, poor weather and ill health have conspired against me during the last few weeks, coupled with the fact I can only see the garden at weekends at this time of year as it is dark when I leave for work in the mornings and is dark when I return home each evening. 

Despite the grey drabness of January, there are little pockets of colour around the garden, with lots of new growth including tightly packed shoots at the base of dried sedum stems, narcissi, crocus, snowdrops and hyacinths. 





Blooms are a joy during the bleak wintery days, and none more welcome than cyclamen, wallflowers and violas. 


And who could disregard hellebores? 



Vibrant viburnum tinus either side of the patio arch began flowering in autumn. 




These minute white flowers hidden among glossy green leaves that belong to the evergreen winter box or Sarcococca confusa have a glorious fragrance.


Foliage plays its part at this time of year too, from the various types of ivy in yellows and greens and variegated with white, to euonymus fortunei that glow in the subdued light of winter.  New growth on hebes as here is also a great way to inject much needed colour. 




The deep pink rhododendron's buds are swelling in preparation for its dazzling spring performance. 


However, the new winter flowering variety has yet to bloom.  I think the description refers to the time of year in more southern gardens that enjoy a milder winter to that of Yorkshire.  But then winter is far from over so there's still time.

Very few jobs have been necessary this month apart from filling bird feeders and replenishing the bird baths.  TMTC has pruned a few of last year's new branches on the staghorn tree to encourage a better balanced shape, and taken today's photos. 


Another way to use colour in the winter garden is with stems.  Cornus or dogwoods are one of the most obvious.  Above is c. alba 'Baton Rouge'.  Below is an unnamed variety, very similar in hue but much taller. It isn't a bad tie in with the red of our Yen Garden's pergola. 


 A garden can be very interesting in winter.



November - with attitude.


As we move from autumn into winter most of the trees in my garden have lost their leaves.  The few remaining are putting on one heck of a display this year, most thanks to the acers.  The first two overhang from our neighbour.  The third is in our front garden.






Moving inside, "The Toad's" Christmas cactus is flowering spectacularly this year.


A rose by any other name


Would smell as sweet

It was my birthday this week and among my lovely gifts I received a new rose "special daughter" 


The perfect spot was created in the Terrace Border, in full sun for its dusky pink scented blooms. 



New roof.


The roof on the shed in the Pink Garden suffered damage in the remnants of hurricane Maria a couple of months ago.  After trawling t'interweb and with a little trepidation, TMTC stripped off the old felt.


Measured twice and cut once, the first section was fixed with clout nails. 


Edges secured, it was time to attach the second and third section using special adhesive and further clout nails. 




Once all the edges were folded and nailed, the new barge boards were added to the front and sides.


And painted to match.


All that remains is new guttering to connect the waterbutt.



Mulching


An hour's graft was all it took to lick the front garden back into shape.

I've pruned back some of the older wood on the huge lacecap hydrangea, trimmed all the herbaceous perennials, and removed all the dead leaves beneath the berginia clumps along with a great many slugs and snails hiding within...eeeuch! 

The Man That Can dug up the sambuccus nigra and verbena bonariensis that really didn't seem happy in the front garden, and replanted them in the Terrace Border. 

The little cobbles had a good weed and were swept, and the fallen leaves were collected. 

Finished off with a thick bark mulch, it's ready to face the winter.


Hues of Autumn


Another few days of high winds has played havoc with my timing.  Some plants that produce a spectacular autumn display, like cotinus (smoke bush) have very few leaves left, while others have yet to start losing their chlorophyll to enable their colourful finale.  


Cotinus 


Acer


Wisteria 


While The leaves of cornus provide some lovely autumn hues, it's the firey stems that I'm after.


I'm really hoping this acer bounces back in the spring.  It's a great shape but we had a problem with scorching on this particular specimen and it's leaves frazzled up before having the chance to share its display. 


In the pink garden, late splashes of colour pop among the fading foliage forms.





On the patio, the sedum is taking on a richer, deeper shade of pink. 



The variegated Weigela has developed a sprinkling of late flowers. 


Ivy, verbena Bonariensis and grass combo.


Our neighbour's acers are only just beginning to colour up...


...Weigela Wings of Fire however is really showing off.


The hydrangeas fading to papery bracts that will remain in situ over winter to help protect the plants.



There are very few leaves remaining on the new tree in the Long Border and in the early morning light it was tricky to get a good shot of the colours.


The Photinia has reached the top of the cane now so come spring I will start to create the desired shape. 






In the front garden, the staghorn tree is spectacular.  The winds have depleted the foliage somewhat, but there's still enough to create a wow factor. 










Next up, the autumn tidy up reaches the front garden.