End of Month Review - January

Gosh January is probably one of the grimmest months for me.  Generally cold, dark and frosty and usually with snow; though this year has had mildness and thankfully a snow free month.  Cold though, really quite cold at times.

When the ground is frozen I find it hard to get outside in the garden.  I am not precious about the lawn so I am not one who fears to tread on it in case it gets damaged, but I cannot weed successfully with frozen solid ground.  The mildness of the month has meant that weeds are still growing.  I actually don't mind weeding most of the time, I find it useful and meditative to get down close to the soil and see what is going on.  This time of year I enjoy seeing what is starting to grow, which to me is always a sign of hope that Spring is returning.

So what of January in the garden: I shall start with a rare view of my front garden.  It looks a mess, I know that.  One day it will be a knot garden, one day I will like it and be happy with it......

..... but not yet.  The box cuttings that were tiny when planted are starting to knit together a bit now and that makes me happier, but at the moment its just scrappy.

The big border in front of the conservatory lacks colour, until on closer inspection that ray of hope appears:
 The first winter iris is flowering, it may be small but it is a glimpse of welcome colour. 

There are great signs of growth though in the borders.  This Cynara cardunculus is doing really well.  I grew these from seeds and planted them when I first arrived in this garden.  These were planted before I moved in properly, I planted about eight of them altogether, now I only have three left as they swamped things a bit but I wanted something big and bold to get the garden started.

The pond border is not really any more colourful - it looks quite sparse.
The border was only extended in the Autumn so it not trouble me too much that it looks fairly empty at the moment.  The wallflowers are waiting to do their thing.  I still have alot in the vegetable beds that never got planted out, they are sort of weed suppressent at the moment.
The hamamelis gives some colour by the pond.  This orange one is rather fine.  Not very big but its thriving and that is good.
The dahlia border is of course without dahlias so looking a bit poor too.  The woad will bring this border to life soon, it self-seeds itself around and looks stunning when it bursts into flower.
The Erysimum Bowles Mauve is flowering away as ever in the Dahlia border.  I have owned this plant for years, the original must have been two gardens ago, but cuttings always moved with me and I take cuttings regularly to ensure I still have this plant.  It is such a good doer, in flower for most of the year and beloved by bees and butterflies.
The broccoli sits in the vegetable garden like a morose sitting tenant.  It's days are numbered, it will not successfully broccle, but it just sits there, waiting, glaring at me as its my fault as I do not know how to succeed with it.
The Rosa 'Hyde Hall' hedge that is the boundary of the vegetable garden is showing signs of new growth.  I have high hopes that this year the hedge will really start to flourish.  Last year was its first year and it flowered quite well, but I shall feed it this year and cosset it a bit more.
As I move walk further down the garden, into the wild area, the snow drops are starting to open in amoungst what should be grass but is rather a carpet of weeds.  Still pretty though.  The wild area always does spring best I think.  It is here that it really shows well.
The quince tree is showing the first signs of green.  Will I get a quince this year?  I shall be watching it closely to see how it does.  I had blossum last year but it did not set.

I did do something very brave.  I tackled one of my compost heaps.  I generate a lot of garden waste, some of it in compost bins but a lot just in piles near the vegetable patch.  I have always been wary of digging into them in case rats or something jumped out at me but I decided to throw caution to the wind and move some of the pile into the proper compost bin as the level had settled right down.
I moved one pile into the first compost bin and nothing squeaky jumped or ran out at me.  This was a great success.  My greatest fear of all was actually injuring something with the spade so it was a great relief not to do so.
This compost bin is now full to the top (this photo shows it half full).  Next week I have to move the rest of the un-binned piles into the two other bins then maybe I can be a real gardener and use the compost in the garden........ maybe

and finally, as is now tradition, the pond.  The pond is pretty much full, not quite but most of the edging stones that should be touching the water now are.  I reckon about another inch and it will be as full as it gets.   I know this photograph is a bit dark but I liked the reflection and Chesney posing on the edge. 

Thanks as ever to Helen for hosting this meme.


  1. I know your borders, like mine, look dull and sparse but I suppose we should remember it is January - I wonder if we will be happy with them come the summer.
    Thanks for joining in again

  2. I don't think we have had frozen ground all winter because of the mild temperatures. It has been such a strange fall and winter. I don't know if we are headed for an early spring or if old man winter has another cold front and winter storm up his sleeve. My quince is already blooming. The borders look so sparse, but I do see growth...

  3. What a good reminder! Somehow I had forgotten that it is end of month view time and I was very pleased to have done it last year. I love your great big pond! What a wonderful thing to have.


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