I’m beginning to feel some sympathy for the long lasting month of January. Maligned in the old song ‘January, you’ve been hanging on me’ I’ve come round to thinking it does have much to offer. My hands are cold as I’ve just come in from completing what is the first of my sixes. Yes, I have been in the garden this week and here’s what I found.
This morning’s main job was to prune the grapevine. It produce grapes which inevitably split just as they seem to be ripening so I’ve come to accept that its main role is to shade the pergola. This is my second year of pruning it (I’m in a new garden if you are new to this six) and I’m getting bolder. This time I cut out a whole branch on the grounds that it was very clearly crossing. Otherwise I restricted myself to cutting back to one or two buds, which were clearly visible. I think I did this job just in time. The tree in the background is my neighbour’s enviable willow.
January is the month for pruning some types of fruit trees. Earlier on I pruned the Persimmon tree and this week it was the turn of the apples and figs. The smaller ones I did myself but I called in the professionals for the large fig and a large apple tree both of which had got to a height that had defeated me and my ladder. Which is not actually that great a height. This photo is the apple tree after the prune. It is much lighter, but I think the reshaping will take a year or two.
I recently spotted a bargain buy of 6 helleborus niger and they arrived mid week after a deluge of rain. The lawn was sodden and the heavy clay soil of the borders was sticky and uninviting but in they went. The seem to have settled very well. There’s also a bit of colour from some primroses. I prefer the yellow common primrose but these are staying in for the moment. Just behind you can see the first of the daffodils pushing through.
January is also the month when the first snowdrops appear. Mine, planted in the green last year, are now getting into their stride, edging the line of small apple trees.
So despite the cold, windy and wet weather that we have had recently the garden is waking up. Today I also spotted the first new shoots of the lovely magenta phlox that is dotted around the back border. I can’t wait for these to be in flower again. But first I’ll need to cut out last year’s dead stems.
Finally, a rosebud. It may not make it into a fully formed flower if the rain and cold weather continue but it is another cheering sign that the seasons are changing.
Yes. It’s a thumbs up for the end of January at least. For more news and views from the other sixer gardens stop by The Propagator’s blog for links to the posts for this Saturday.