End of Month – January 2014

I wish, honestly I wish I was able to post beautiful photos of the garden.

But I can’t.

It’s a bog out there. I try to walk on the grass as little as possible, I have heavy clay so don’t want to damage the soil underneath and cause the grass to die.

So instead I’ll have to stick to some photos I took last weekend, mainly of blooming plants rather than actual border views around the garden.

This month we’ll start with blossom from the Autumn flowering Cherry. The sun is finally high enough for me to get photos of the blossom… Hopefully more photos to come, assuming the blooms aren’t all ruined by rain and it’s ever sunny enough!

Sweetbox by the front gate is blooming, it is now beginning to produce growth after being heavily damaged in deep snow a few years ago when it was only a tiny shrub. It still tends to lean, and I’m not sure how to rectify it… perhaps I could dig it up, spin it round so I get to see its bushy side??? Is that pointless?

Hellebores feel like they’re in suspended animation. Many looked like they would bloom weeks ago, but they’ve sort of, stopped.

There seem to be quite a few brambles popping up at the moment in various borders, so once the rain stops (if ever) I want to get out and pull them up before they explode into growth. Otherwise things are moving nicely; thankfully the weeds aren’t otherwise taking over yet – some Dandelions – but nothing too bad. Spring bulbs are coming along nicely no doubt thanks to the relatively mild weather we’ve had. Surprisingly, Tess of the D’Urbervilles has two blooms on her just opening, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her bloom this early before; normally she isn’t even the first rose to flower.


The Cyclamen above is swamped by the leaves – both dead and alive – of the Pulmonaria so I need to clear around them as most are swamped by something or other and I can’t get photos of them. I’m waiting for then garden to dry, as the front garden is very, very boggy right in front of this border. Even in summer it often stays wet.

It doesn’t feel like we’re behind on last year, and a quick peek shows that some Hellebores were further advanced and I had Iris Reticulata blooms emerging from their protective skins on 02.02.13. Otherwise we’re just about the same. I just wish the Snowdrops would open their blooms. So far they’re nodding their heads but haven’t yet opened.

I still don’t remember having seen any Primula Vulgaris yet… I need to have a look. I hope they haven’t died!

Copyright 2013 Liz.
All rights reserved. Content created by Liz for Gwirrel’s Garden

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13 thoughts on “End of Month – January 2014

  1. Sorry your garden so boggy, Liz, but at least you have promising hellebore buds to admire, and with a bit of sunshine they and your snowdrops will be opening for business!

    • Hi Cathy,

      It should dry relatively quickly given a few days of dry weather, just frustrating at this time of the year when I want to be out and about checking things, tidying and cutting back things.
      Some Hellebores are open now, well niger is. Still waiting on the Snowdrops, but quite a few are being chewed on… very disappointing!

  2. Hi Liz, the relentless sogginess is so very tedious isn’t it. I am so lucky having better drained soil here, the sun came out to play and the soil ws OK for me to be able to get a coat of stain on half the back fence. I’m still not sure what I should view as “normal” here, but the snowdops are at least trying to bloom, though the hellebores in the front gardenare lacking even buds, let alone actual flowers! I think I am going to try the corsican hellebore in the front, and another that I read about that apparently handles more free-draining soil better. My one remaining niger and the new yellow one can try life in the richer soil in the back. Am envious of your lack of weeds – mine and ramaging.

    • Hi Janet,

      The rain is really beginning to frustrate me. Feels like a couple of summers ago…. Oh lord, please let it end before summer arrives???!!!

      I really wish we had better soil here, although I have been trying to improve with mulches and compost, really it’s the grass I’m most concerned about and the fact I must walk on it to get to the top of the garden/bird feeders.

      Sorry to hear about the Hellebores in the front; weird that? Are they new plants? Mine didn’t do much in their first year – unless bought in bloom – the second year a few of those that were blooming when bought then didn’t bother to bloom but it looks like all of them will bloom – unless hit by the white stuff -as I have buds on all.

      Indeed, a lack of weeds but I definitely need to tidy the garden and with such wet weather the beautiful white walls are now a repulsive green. There’s no point cleaning them because they’ll only turn green again if the rain continues. However, I don’t see how I can sell the house with that! It’s the first thing you see when looking out of the backdoor/kitchen window.

    • Hi Donna,

      I do hope the snow melts soon, I don’t know which I would prefer – perpetual rain or snow. Tough call if I’m honest. At least snow is pretty compared to grey, dull, wet. But snow is also dangerous (as are the many storms and flooding parts of the UK have had; mostly England and Wales). We’ve just had three days of respite from the rain, but I think it’s due back again tomorrow.

      Perhaps you’ll begin to see spring/snow bloomers such as Snowdrops? Of course, if they’re covered in snow then even that isn’t possible.

  3. Let’s hope that it’s not too long before there’s an end to the big wet Liz. At least we had had one beautiful sunny day this weekend. One plus side of this mild winter is that my autumn flowering cherry has flowered non stop since it opened 🙂 I wonder what’s nibbling your snowdrops.

    • Hi Anna,

      We’ve just had about four days with little to no rain, and today has been surprisingly nice after expecting rain all day – sun pretty much all day.
      I suspect perhaps weevils are chewing on the snowdrops – I sprinkled organic slug pellets assuming our mollusc friends had appeared but more blooms are damaged and no sign of slimy trails. Grrrrr. it would have to be my largest clump of snowdrops they’re attacking, too.

  4. You seem to be as soggy as we are, can’t get up to the top of the garden without going on the lawn, maybe we will have to make a path. The rain seems never ending and makes it impossible to garden.I’ve just watched the forecast for the week and I’m afraid no respite for any of us. At least from the house I can see some of the snowdrops in the woodland, are you able to see yours?

    • Hi Pauline,

      The best I can manage at the moment are borders with easy access such as those near the house and paths. Otherwise I try to visit the rest of the garden as little as possible and going up onto the upper tier is an almost complete no-go. Going up is ok, it’s just coming down I don’t fancy slipping over and falling down the slope and killing my camera. I have to almost shuffle down on my bum because I’m so scared lol. Every year I tell myself I’ll put some little stepping stones in to make it a little easier, then spring comes along and it all dries and I forget until the next winter.

      I can see a couple of the clumps of snowdrops from the back of the house, but not that easily as they are a few metres away and I’m short-sighted 😉 But all I have to do it pop out onto the decking to see them as they’re close to the garden walls, so it’s not too bad.

  5. Until today, we had been reasonably dry but the rain has finally arrived! Spring bulbs here are around 1 month earlier than last year but hellebores are behind.
    I hope it all dries up for your soon Liz. How lovely to have the cherry blossom to admire. It’s very delicate looking isn’t it.

    • Hi Angie,

      I hope the rain stops soon for you… We managed 4 days before it rained again, and actually most of today was surprisingly OK but mid afternoon began raining again. The Hellebores seem a bit odd, and it’s difficult to predict how they’re going to do… I think so far most if not all have buds on them – pleased – but they’re taking their time actually opening and it’s driving me a little insane. Ok, so it’s not THAT bad but still, some more colour would be nice thankyouverymuch.

      The Autumn cherry is very useful and nice to have at this time of year, however if I’m totally honest I don’t actually like its blooms. It’s too frilly for me – the only frilly blooms I like are ‘English’ roses. I long for the beautiful simplicity of plum blossom such as Prunus cerasifera. I’m not so sure I could ever have mature trees in my garden… I get bored of them too easily. Even Magnolia Stellata I’d be happy not to have anymore. My tastes change too much it would seem.

  6. Hi Liz, we too have had so much rain recently that I can hardly walk around and fear for all the bulbs I planted last autumn. We garden in heavy soil which is bliss in summer when it keeps moisture for ages but hell at this time of year. Is this Sarcococca Purple Stem? Looks very pretty. Keep your chin up – it’s bound to come to an end…sometime 🙂

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