End of Month Review - January 2016

January has been, as ever, rather long.  There is something about January that involves it having at least one week longer than any other month, possibly two.  It is of such a length that the very idea of Christmas and New Year is a dim distant memory.

When I wrote the December End of Month Review we were being visited by Storm Frank, we are now being visited by Storm Gertrude.  There have been others in between as January has continued the theme of this winter as being largely about rain.   Yes we had brief snow, but it came and went swiftly.  There have still been very few totally dry days and as I writing this the rain continues.  I decided to go out into the rain to take this month's photographs as it felt fitting and I have not had a time when it was not raining that I could get outside into the garden.
I begin in the driveway where the clump of snowdrops I planted in the first winter I moved in are starting to flower.  Had there been sun they might have been open.  They have made quite a nice clump now and I shall probably divide them a little when they have finished flowering.
A closer to the house, the Cornus officinalis is flowering and a newly planted mahonia is also colouring up well.
In to the front garden and the Knot Garden looks green.  I did some tidying/weeding the other day and it has made it look neater again.
In the side lawn, the first signs of winter aconites are starting to appear.  This is incredibly exciting to me as I planted these two years ago.  If they turn out to look like I hoped they would I shall be very happy.  It is a real case of patience has its rewards.
The quince hedge, also something that has made me wait quite a while before seeing real results, has been flowering for weeks.  I am very pleased with it now and it approaches what I want it to look like.
The back garden is wet, saturated, soggy, just very very wet.
The Courtyard is looking quite green, my dislike of evergreens is clearly being undermined.
There are signs of Spring as some crocii start to make their way up to flower.
These hellebores are flowering for the first time.  I let them self seed in the Spring Border and then I move the seedlings around to see what they will turn out like.  These are pretty little ones and they are adding a bit of colour into an otherwise mainly muddy Conservatory Border.
There are also signs of blue from these anemones.
Further along to the Spring Border and it looks,well, rather Springy.  The hellebores have been flowering for some time now and you can see the first sign of daffs starting to open.
As I look back from this point I remain pleased with the shape of the borders.  I am not sure if I will ever tire of this view.  This time of year in particular it is very apparent and I like that I became aware/less aware of it at different times in the year.
The Plant of the Year is still sprawly and flowering.
and last year's wallflowers that never got removed are flowering again.
There are a surprising amount of coconuts littered around the garden.  These are (of course) the remains of suet filled bird food but whenever I see them in the garden I think a) one day I ought to pick them up b) gosh they do not compost quickly do they and c) I wonder if a passing horse has cast them off (we all know that the sound of horses hooves come from coconuts don't we?).
The Four Sisters are patiently waiting for their moment.  The Edgeworthia is not dead (result!) but also has not yet flowered (non result).
The Cornus mas and the yellow hamamelis are flowering well just the other side of the pleached hornbeams and...
..... joy of joys the orange hamamelis that is by the pond is also flowering well.  This tree has sulked for a good couple of years and I wondered if I had upset it somehow, it has decided to forgive me this year and has rewarded me with flowers.
In the dark corner the Boy Who Waited is being being kept company by hellebores.  This corner needs some work.  I'm thinking ferns at this moment in time.
The snowdrops are coming up well.  I planted quite a few last year and also divided several of the existing clumps so I am hoping for a good display this year.
I also planted quite a lot of cyclamen coum as well and they are flowering their little hearts out at the moment.
The Prunus Ben-chidori is also flowering very well this year.  I have been pruning it to keep it more at a shrub height then let it be a tree.  So far this is working ok.
The Woodland Border/Bog Garden (I think the whole garden is a bog garden at the moment) looks wet and the Prairie Borders can be seen shimmering behind it.
It is a time of year for standing and thinking, I like standing here and looking down the Wild Garden.  The Winter Honeysuckle is flowering well and the garden is sort of waiting for its moment to get going.  It needs some warmth, I think it has enough rain at the moment.
The teasel patch has been good this year.  The biennial nature of these plants means that the patch is never the same year after year and I like this.  They do self-seed with vigour but they are so easy to identify when seedlings that I can generally edit them out quite well.
In the veg borders the purple sprouting broccoli is sprouting.
and the greenhouse remains shrouded.  We are getting intermittent frosty nights so I think it does still need to be in its winter white.
The winter collection of pots, that keep getting blown over by the winds, are doing well and the Primula Don Keefe has been flowering for weeks. It gives some very welcome colour.
and my pond over-floweth.

Thanks as ever to Helen for hosting this meme.


  1. I haven't been able to get up to our pond to see if it has overflowed or not, it is just too wet to go round the garden. Your box garden looks good, they really come into their own at this time of year.

    1. Thanks, yes the box garden does look good this time of year, it has proved to be a good idea.

  2. Your garden looks goof for January, the weather is as dull as in our country these days....

    1. Thanks, kind of you to say. It is incredibly soggy - the ground squelches under foot :(

  3. I guess your coconuts will remain there, un-decomposed, for some time. Having been sowing and growing in coir (which is, of course, coconut fibre) for years and getting fed up with topping up the chipped bark mulch on beds at enormous cost, I started mulching with coir chips a couple of years ago. Last year, I extended the range of the mulched areas but didn't do any topping up. And no topping up seems necessary this year. You could whack your husks with a sledgehammer and use the chips to grow orchids.

    1. thanks, yes I think they will be there for years to come yet :)

  4. Hi Tim

    thanks for your comment and kind words. Spring feels a long way off here too, but I suppose you will be a couple of weeks behind. Gardening definitely teaches patience - we spend so much of our time waiting for that elusive plant to do what we hope for.

  5. Splendid ! It looks like you've had 50% more January on your hands :D I showed this post around my colleagues, they very much like your Knot Garden !

    Cheers !

  6. So much flowering already, you have some nice colour in your garden, despite the wet & windy January. I love that Prunus and I like your idea that you are pruning it to maintain a shrub shape.

    1. Thanks- I'm hoping the prunus stays manageable - it is a great shrub this time of year.

  7. January does seem to go on forever. At least we could get outside a little this year, which I suspect shortened it by at least a day. My Edgeworthia isn't flowering yet either. I had been considering prodding it a bit to see if it's still alive, but I will take my lead from you and remain optimistic about the state of its health. Lovely to see the aconites. Aren't they a joy?

    1. I live in hope that one day my edgeworthia will flower :). The aconites are wonderful- I'm so pleased I have some flowering.

  8. I'd love to be able to post a January end-of-month review with photos of plants in bloom but everything is still deep in snow. To see anemones and cyclamen is heartening, but the prunus takes the prize. I like winter but by this time of year, I'm envious of you and others who garden in warmer spots.


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