Seasonal Disorder

January 5, 2012

Please forgive the slight delay in my January Newsletter, the past month has disappeared in a flash! Unseasonal sightings are not unusual, but the abnormally mild autumn and winter have somewhat turned our countryside and gardens upside down!  The National Trust has reported sightings of frogspawn, Wild Garlic, Snowdrops, as I mention below, and even Daffodils which we wouldn’t ordinarily see for another month or so.  If you’ve spotted anything unusual in your local hedgerows, I’d love to hear from you or why not send me a photograph for my blog!  tips for the month ahead
  • The mild weather has brought out the delicate little Snowdrops especially early this year and, once they are in leaf (sometimes referred to as ‘in the green’) it’s the perfect time to divide and transplant them.  Just use a trowel to lift the bulbs, gently tease them apart and replant at the same depth.  If you're planting in turf, make a cross incision and slide each bulb into the slot, firm and level.  It's incredibly easy to do and before long you’ll have a handsome drift!
  • Whether wild, or the cultivated oriental, Hellebores (often known as the Christmas or Lenten Rose) are prone to leaf spot disease.  Do take the time to pick off any leaves with black blotches before it has chance to spread.
  • If your perennials have become too tall or too floppy, insert a stake to prop them back into position. Hollyhocks, Delphiniums and Peonies are especially prone to this.  Use a slim branch or bamboo as they’re both more pleasing on the eye than metal, but for some, you may find you need the strength of a wooden stake.
  • Francine Raymond from The Telegraph has the perfect recipe for your compost!  Click here for details.
winter pruning Ideally Wisteria needs to be pruned twice a year; now and again in late June or early July.  It’s not difficult, just take a sturdy pair of secateurs and cut back the current season's growth to two or three buds from the base.  Cut at an angle slanting in the same direction as the bud below.  Whilst you’re at it, check that any ties or string holding it onto its supporting wire or structure, haven’t broken and replace as necessary. If you’re just not sure where to start or worry you might be too heavy-handed then, of course, give me a call or drop me an email. things to do & places to visit In addition to their beautiful gardens, events and shows, the RHS also offer a number of day workshops and courses, for complete beginners to experts.  The range of topics is vast including everything you could imagine on horticulture, art and design, photography and garden crafts. Check the website for details as only selected venues are used - Harlow Carr, Hyde Hall, Rosemoor and Wisley - but wouldn’t they make a lovely gift for someone?! does the earth move for you darling?! Last month I reported on the benefits of gardening for Alzheimer suffers.  This month a new study reveals how it improves men’s sex lives!  With Valentine's approaching in just a couple of weeks maybe its worth thinking about... Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent for The Telegraph (really who would have thought that the The Telegraph of all things would be so liberal!)  writes, “for as little as 30 minutes a week tending the garden or allotment can dramatically improve men's performance in bed…”  Well I’m not going to comment any further but if you want to read the article in full click here.  

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