End of Month Review - January 2014

January started off with some rain, in the middle it was still raining and as it ends it had continued raining a lot.  I have rarely seen as much rain as we have had this month.  The sky has been quite grey most of the time.
The front garden however has continued to look quite green.
What I find particularly pleasing this time of year is the Winter honeysuckle that is planted by the front gate, it is fairly innocuous looking all year and even now it is mainly looking like a few white blobs on a twiggy shrub; but the scent is probably the best winter scent there is in my view.
The box partitions in the Knot Garden are knitting together really well now.  I am very hopeful they will finally look very hedgy when they start this year's growth.
The quince hedge by the front door is getting a bit more quincy and hedgy every day.  This is good.
and the Sarcococca hookeriana in a pot by the front door is flowering and smelling wonderful.
The winter flowering clematis on the fency thing that divides the side lawn from the Gravel Garden is flowering very well this year.  It is quite a joy.
In the Courtyard the olive tree has moved forward a bit, this is because I was concerned it was too shady where it was.  It has grown well last year but I think it needs more real sun.  I am trying to convince it that it might be still in Italy, not suburban Leicester.
Just in the corner of the Conservatory Border, the fushcia Lady Boothby is being fashionably late.  You might think she is being early thinking it is Spring, but no, m'lady sulked most of last year and finally produced a leaf or too just before Autumn ended.  Now I just hope that when the cold arrives she will not just give up and not return.
This Geranium palmatum is also still growing strongly.  It has been through some fairly hard frosts, but can it survive through snow when it arrives?  Time will tell.
ThEschscholzia californica seedlings are growing well too, they are hardy, but they seem well advanced and if it snows will they get through ok?
The contorted willow by the pond is looking very fine.
All of which hides the truth that the lawns and borders are completely saturated.
The Hamamelis is having its best year so far.  Plants are now settling in enough to start to really thrive.  It reminds me how much time is needed to create a garden as every year most plants get a little bit better.  Apart from annuals obviously.
The pleached hornbeams are still progressing.  I love that the leaves hang in drippy bronzeness at the moment.
There is more bronze (copper) to be found on the not very pillar-like beech pillars.
The Woodland Border and Bog Garden are boggy, very boggy.
The Winter flowering cherry is blooming well now, it was late this year but is making up for it.
The amalanchier buds are starting to swell and show movement like something might happen soon.
The new Virburnum bodnantense 'Dawn' is starting to flower too.  The Wild Garden has seen a bit of shrub planting in the past few weeks so I am expecting good things from it in the next twelve months.  I have had a bit of shift in idea about what I want from it this year, it will be interesting to see how it develops.
The first snowdrops are coming up in the Wild Garden as well, I planted a lot of spring bulbs in this part of the garden and I love it when they start to emerge.
The hellebores are still not quite in flower, and still looking a bit like an egg flower.  Soon, soon.
New growth on the peonies is starting to show.  Spring will be here.
and the Edgeworthia is still alive (well, I think it is).
The veg beds are basically soggy.  The cabbages look ok but the rest is just marshland.
In the greenhouse the sweetpeas and the over-wintering cuttings are still doing ok.  I hope when the real freeze hits (as I am sure it will) they survive.
and the pond?   Its full of course, very full.  It has not really dipped significantly in level in the last twelve months which is good, but also shows how much rain we have had.

I have not spent enough time in the garden in January, I rarely do as the weather is against the garden at the start of the year in my opinion.  I am hoping that February will be a gateway into Spring and allow more garden time.

Thanks as ever to Helen for hosting this meme.


  1. I so agree about the winter flowering honeysuckle, Lonicera fragrantissima, my favourite perfume in the whole garden. I think your olive needs to be pruned to open up the centre to let light and air in. It is the classic way they are pruned even here in Italy where light isn't a problem. I think if you don't you could find it becomes diseased. At try to give it all the sun possible.

    1. Thanks for the olive advise, I will do so :)

  2. hello Alison, I completely understand wet, it's like a swamp, you have a nice variety of areas in your garden, I like the pleached hornbeam, I do find the rain and wet gives an intensity to colour, especially the golds coppers and bronzes, you have quite a bit flowering and growing, I'm new to your garden and blog finding you through Helen's EoMV meme, I look forward to seeing more of your garden through the year, Frances

  3. I have the same winter flowering clematic (Freckles) in a pot, but it is young so no flowers on yet, so at least I get to enjoy yours ;)

    I think a lot of us are wondering how some plants, which aren't usually out now, are going to survive if we finally do start getting freezing temperatures. It will be interesting to see what we all find when it comes to EMOV in February!

  4. Your witch hazel is positively groaning in flowers unlike mine. I wonder how long it will take for all our soggy lawns and borders to dry out when this rain finally stops

    1. The witchhazel has suddenly decided to perform, its a joy. It will take a while for things to balance again after all this rain I think.

  5. Very nice how you tell your experiences with the different plants. It is so satisfying to be busy in the garden and walking around in this time of year to see new life and the process of growing. You can have your Clematis cirrhosa 'Freckles' outside, I see, I have this one in the greenhouse and this mild winter it's flowering continuously. Beautiful pond too, which is looking very natural.

  6. what a lovely post and thanks for sharing

  7. Lovely wandering round your garden with you, I can sympathise with the wet,if only it would stop and the garden could dry out a little. Your witch hazel looks fantastic, do you know which one it is? I have one that just refuses to open its flower buds for me, I hope it will soon.

  8. I think soggy just about sums it up. It's a good point about plants taking a while to settle in, being a bit disappointed with the way my witch hazel looked this year. I think I just need to be more patient. Some lovely plants in the front garden and your knot garden is really coming on.

  9. Hi Alison, I think your box already looks very hedgy, it is certainly a noticeable change from last year. Isn't Edgeworthia chrysantha an odd looking shrub sans leaves and without any flower buds. Yours still looks very much alive, but goodness I long for the day that mine has all those wonderful frosty buds during winter rather than the weird scars from where the leaves dropped off...

    How old is your twisted willow? I am still trying to decide when to start pruning some of the stems on mine back to get more vivid colour, they are noticeably less vivid this year.

    1. Hi Janet I bought the twisted willow about four years ago, it is getting quite big now but the colour is still good.

  10. My first visit to your blog and I really enjoyed my stroll around your garden. You've created some lovely spaces there.
    I love the effect the of the leaves on the hornbeam - spectacular. Up here in Scotland it's not as wet as it would normally be but like you I suspect the real winter isn't too far off!
    You've just gained a new follower.


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