End of month review January 2023

Yes a whole month of 23 has skipped past us without us having time to blink.  The year, which allegedly moves forward one day at a time, has been skipping some days and making some last rather a long time. 

In the garden things have been cold, I mean really cold.  Now as the month ends we have had a thaw, the ground suddenly is not frozen solid and it feels like it is holdings its breath.  In the front garden the tree peony that lives by the front gate is determined to grow.  I just hope it does not bud-up too quickly and gets hit by frost, plenty of time yet I keep telling it, take your time.

The daylight is now palpably longer, which always helps me a lot.  As the light improves I feel my energy levels and spirit does too.  I cannot claim that I have a significant issue with the shortness of daylight, but I know it does impact on me and I feel better with each extra minute of light.  Though there are the grey cloudy January days (and February days) where it seems like we do not really have daylight at all.  There is a dismal depression of weather that just hangs sulkily in the sky.  Every gleam of blue espied in the sky is precious.  The garden is still mainly in its green and dead-looking sticks stage.  The dead looking plants may look untidy to some but provide important winter cover for hibernating insects and other creatures.
There is colour returning to the garden, the winter aconites are starting to appear.
The Hellebores are also starting to get into their stride.  If you have space for hellebores then growing them is a must in my opinion.  They are so worth while to see flowering this time of year and early bees will thank you for it.  My only slight caution is that these are the one plant in the garden that (to date) I know I am allergic to.  I have to be careful to ensure that if I am weeding around them that I am wearing long sleeves properly pulled down the wrist.  It took a while for me to work out that the red itchy weals I would sometimes have arching up my arms were caused by their leaves.
There is some colour to be had from the evergreens at the top of the garden.  The Cryptomeira sekkan sugi takes on a yellowish tinge this time of year, which I used to think meant it was dying, but no, it has a winter tinge.  It has been planted in this spot for about two years now after spending many years in a pot in the Courtyard Garden and seems to be settling in ok.  I kept it watered over the dry summer as I was worried about losing it.
I tried to keep the Camellia Debbie that I planted into the Conservatory Border well watered as well, she too had previously lived in the pot in the Courtyard Garden.  I had hoped that planting her out would remind her to flower but I cannot see evidence of many (any) buds.  Oh well, I am in this for the long game so maybe next year....
Speaking of the Courtyard Garden, the aspidistras are shivering a bit but seem pretty much fine after the cold weather.  The small Camellia 'Yuletide' I bought last year does not seem over-endowed with buds, but maybe it is sulking from being potted on.
The Camellia rosthornia 'Cupido' is thinking about flowering, it has a lot of buds on it so that is very hopeful.
Daphne Jacqueline Postill is flowering well and smells good.
The Edgeworthia chrystantha is causing me angst.  Some of the buds are definitely frost damaged, but some seem ok.  Keep all your fingers and toes crossed that she will pull through this hard winter.
In the Wild Garden the snowdrops are coming up,
and the cyclamen corner, started from a couple of pots bought some years ago.  A couple of pots can go a long way.
This young hamamelis is having its best ever year.  I think she is compensating for the loss of the large hamamelis that died in the summer.  I was very sorry to lose it.
I paused for a moment to admire my contorted hazel.  I realised she is now taller than I am (ok, I am no giant, but I think it is pushing 6ft tall now).  This hazel lived in a pot for many years and moved house with me twice.  She was one of the first plantings in this garden and I am hugely fond of her.
The Winter Flowering Cherry is flowering well.  She is so reliable, every year she starts blossoming in December and keeps going for several weeks.  A welcome moment of joy.
The veg garden is still covered in plastic, hoping preparing the ground for replanting later this year.  I am still undecided how I am going to replant this space, but ideas are slowly forming.
I finish as usual on the pond, which is thawing well now but has been frozen for a good couple of weeks.  Soon there will be frogspawn and the waiting for tadpoles will commence.  There is always something to look forward to.

Meanwhile I have a growing list of garden-jobs I must get on with.  So much weeding and still some pruning to get completed before nesting time gets going.

It will happen.....

Take care and be kind.

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  1. Interesting that you are allergic to hellebore foliage, I am not but suffer touching strawberrry foliage.

  2. The garden is lovely in its winter state. I must buy/grow some more hellebores, I only have two at the moment.


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