End of Month Review January 2022

It is well known that January is made up of at least five weeks making it the longest month in the year.  This January has been grey and overcast and sunny and frosty.  It has not seen much rain but the ground was so soggy on the run up to the new year it has withstood this so far.  We have also not had any snow yet this side of the new year, I usually expect it towards the end of January but no sign as yet.

In the front garden the Quince Hedge is flowering well.  This hedge is a total delight, I know I bang on about it a lot but that is because it was a plan that worked.  It also took a few years before I saw any real results so I am still enjoying the success.  Not only does this hedge bring delightful colour in the darkest weeks of the year, it is fabulous for early/late pollinators.  It is a win-win.
The Winter Honeysuckle by the front gate is now in flower and providing scent wafting across the garden.  This shrub always flowers a few weeks later than the one in the back garden.  The back garden gets sunlight for longer than the front so I ascribe this difference to this.
On the kitchen windowsill the  single snowdrop is flowering again.  That it pops up year on year no matter how much I ignore this pot, is a joy.  I really must refresh the planting otherwise.
In a moment of full disclosure, because not everything in the garden is lovely and this is a real garden not a stage set - this is the current state of the vegetable container garden.  Its waiting for its Spring 'off we go again' moment and looks decidedly unloved.
As I wander around to the back garden I look down to the new growth on the cardoons.  I love this moment as the cardoons lead the way in showing that there is always something growing in the garden no matter the season.  
and I look up to the seed heads that provide structure and home for overwintering insects.  The birds love picking at them too.  This cardoon was one of the very first plants I planted when I bought this house and it is such a good plant.  It gives height and interest all year round.
I am waiting eagerly for the Daphne Jaqueline Postill to open her flowers.  She has been in the garden two or three years now and has settled in well.  Her twin sister further up the garden is not looking quite as happy as a tree fell on her which led to severe pruning.  There were no flowers on her last year and I hope that this year she would have recovered.  There are no signs of any flowers again which is rather a shame.
Another moment of full disclosure.  This is the Spring Border, it is not looking much at the moment because we are still in Winter.  The hellebores are starting to bud up and their old foliage has been trimmed back.  Give it a few more weeks and I have high hopes it will look much better.
and if I look closely I can see that the Winter Aconites I planted at the edge of the border are flowering.  It is never totally dull.
The Courtyard Garden is in disaray.  Its inhabitants have been relocated and space created as there are things afoot.  Not that dramatic things afoot, but I don't want the plants harming whilst work is taking place.
I continue my wander say hello to the tree ferns.  They have their crowns stuffed at the moment, though most of the time it has not really been that necessary.
Whilst some of the fronds a discoloured by frost, you can see it hasn't been truly cold for a prolonged period of time yet this winter by the general greenness.
I nod hello to the Prairie Borders and continue to pretend that if I cannot see the middle empty border then it does not exist.  I will work out what to do with it, or the garden will tell me what it wants me to do with it, either way it will get sorted when the time is right.
Esme is keeping me company and has gone to inspect some of the snowdrops in the Wild Garden.  Every year I add some more and I now divide the clumps as well.  I know I have said before I cannot claim to be a 'snowdrop garden' yet, but I am working on it.
I pause for a moment to enjoy the new growth on one of the tree peonies.
I squint at the contorted hazel to see if the tiny red flowers have opened yet, not yet, soon.
I spend maybe a little too longer looking at the Edgeworthia, my pride and joy and constant winter angst.  I look closely at the flower buds.  I can see the flush of yellow starting to work its way down the tightly packed flower head.  The individual florets start to swell and lift gently away from their nested siblings.  The outer ones move first and each circle takes its turn to open until the full head is covered in their yellow joy and scent.  It is time well spent watching every moment of this.
The Edgeworthia is guarded by the Edgeworthia gnome, who's ghostly accordion playing can be heard drifting through the garden in the early hours of the morning.  He's currently mainly playing 'Lili Marlene' which quite frankly is an improvement on Molly Malone which gives me the heebie jeebies.
The standard wisteria is sporting a singular seed pod.  It is the most wonderful colour but whilst looking at it I am sure I am being watched....
I check in to say hello to the bonsai trees.  
and I nod towards the snowdrop hanging basket.  This basket is now in its third year: snowdrops in the winter and flowering clover in the Summer.  It might need a bit of a refresh but it is doing well and I like that it has been so sustainable so far.
As I am doing this patrol of the garden it is one of those sunny winter days.  The sky is mainly blue and the seed heads of the Vernonia look wonderful against it.
The greenhouse has been visited by Miss Havisham.   I am pretty sure I can hear the plants snoring from underneath the fleece.  
I am enjoying how the garden looks at the moment.  I have had some good sorting out days, the boundaries have been tidied a bit and there has been some good weeding sessions.  As said before the garden and I are inextricably linked.  When the garden is not looking good then I am not in a good place, when I am in a bad place the garden helps encourage me out of it.  We work together the garden and I to ensure we are both happy.
I finish as ever on the pond.  Looking winterly-scrappy but relatively full and not too overgrown.  There are no signs of frogspawn yet but I expect within the next few weeks I should see some.  I love frogspawn time even if the newts eat nearly all the tadpoles.  Que cera as Doris would say (sing).

Stay safe and be kind.

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