Gardener's Almanac: January 2016

Its that time of year in the garden when you start to get itchy about getting your hands dirty again.  There's not much to do but its calling to you just the same.

The very wet winter has been good for new trees taking root.  In Oct/Nov I took over a wee green patch behind my house and planted a maple tree.  I'm at the top of a hill and the winds can be very strong.  I've been worried about that little tree but the torrential rain has softened the ground and mostly likely helped it to establish a good root system. The lavender and ornamental grasses seem to be doing fine.  I can even see the daffodils and tulips I planted starting to bud.  I'm only keen for some dry weather so I can pull up the surrounding grass and plant a flowering cover.

Maple sapling surrounded by ornamental grasses & lavender
Flowering ground cover - a nice alternative to scrub grass
The Winter planters I arranged back in Autumn have done very well.  I'm keen to see how they fair through the rest of the year though, they have been a great source of colour through the winter and that's one of the goals I have in my garden - colour all year round.

Blooming Winter planter 1

Blooming Winter planter 2
The vegetable beds are looking bleak this time of year as I planted no over-winter vegetables in 2015.  I still have kale (thriving) and spring onions from the summer and the garlic I planted just before Christmas has already shot up a few inches.

Kale - amazingly resistant to colder weather

Front: cyclamon; Left: tulips; Bottom: spring onions

Garlic planted just before Christmas has shot up about 3 inches
For all those desperate for the flowers that signify the start of longer days and warmer weather, you will be happy to know the tulips are making their presence known.  This might be a banner year for them, based on the shoots up already.  Daffodils, bluebells and hyacinths are all pushing through the soil at various rates.  One of the (many) things I've shortlisted for this year is weeding out the scrub grass at the side of the driveway so that the tulips/daffodils/hyacinths/bluebells can be shown off to advantage.
Budding tulips
I am happy to report that I finally bought a Dutch Hoe and as such can now weed between the interlocking bricks at front and side of house without breaking my back.  Viva la Dutch Hoe.

I have yet to decide which edibles I'll be planting this year, however I might give root vegetables another chance.  Normally my soil is too hard to get a good crop but with all the wet weather making the ground soft, this might be a good year for them.

As soon as we get dry weather a few days in a row, I've yards of copper tape to nail around the three veg beds.  I'm also hoping to paint (white) the brick wall to rear of garden.  A couple days of sun are all I ask.

Here's hoping you & yours have a great year in the garden and hopefully we'll be out there creating & maintaining soon.




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