Monthly Roundup: January

This new month/year/decade began with mild, dry and sunny(ish) weather, tempting us to thoughts of Spring.

And the month had only just begun when I made my first plant purchases – both from the Rescue Shelf at the garden centre.

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The first was this Hebe Champagne Ice, reduced from £9.99 to £2.50. This is for my front border – one of the gaps left by removing excess peonies last autumn. It looks a bit leggy to me, but I’ll wait until I see new growth before I give it a trim, though some websites say a light trim in early winter will keep it compact.

The second bargain was this mixed pack of ten sedum plants for just £3. The packaging is a bit battered and I’m not going to plant them until the weather warms up in March/April; though I might split the plants and grow on in modules for a few months.

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They’ll be a welcome addition to my sedum and sempervivum bed, which hasn’t filled out as much as I hoped it would (conveniently forgetting it’s not even one year old yet, and sempervivums are slow growing). Unfortunately, there is nothing on the label/handle to tell me which varieties I have (unless ‘mixed’ is a new species).

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The second week of the month saw the new (only) hellebores – Christmas Carol – come into their own with an abundance of flowers on one plant and many to come on the other.

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And this is just a week later

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Storm Brendan caused havoc on the 13th through to the 14th in parts of North Wales. Trees blocked roads and heavy rain and high tides put coastal areas on alert for flooding, while I kept checking in case any of my neighbour’s trees were in danger of falling onto my house. Luckily the wind wasn’t so bad around our area and all trees appear intact.

Meanwhile, plans are proceeding for my new greenhouse. The plans are drawn and the screws and fixings ordered.

So while I’m waiting, I’ve been looking at plants I might want to use in the spaces left by removing some peonies last year. Note, I said ‘looking’ NOT buying. With the cost of individual plants, I’ve got to be sure they will grown where I want to plant them. For now I’ve taken photographs of plant and label so I can do some research first.

There are the ones that have taken my eye so far – though I have yet to buy any.

A lovely dark purple/white spotted Iris Pauline. I’ve not grown these tiny iris before, but am coming round to the idea.

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Skimmia White Globe – plenty of these in the garden centre this month. There was a red/pink one too

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And more hellebores. I’ll be running out of shady places to put them if I buy too many.

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I’ve also bought my first seed potatoes. Swift first earlies and Desiree main crop. They worked well for me in 2019 in pots, but this year I’ll be putting the Desiree (or most of them) into my raised bed at the Community Garden.

The weekend of 25th to 27th was the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. In desperation, I invested in some mealworms to entice robins and up my count. Because the weather has been so mild, the birds aren’t coming to the feeders in large number. I usually see them around 9:30 in the morning. Saturday was not a good day as all the birds seemed to be hiding.

This final Saturday of the month was grey and dull, but mild. Time to tackle some work in the Sunny Side Border that runs down the side of the drive.


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The fuchsia in the corner had grown too tall and spindly, a result (I suspect) of forgetting to prune it in autumn 2018, then running out of time in 2019. So, in anticipation of any possible snow before spring, it was time to prune it a bit, and tidy up the Autumn Joy.


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