The vaguely green-fingered thoughts of a rambling rose.

Blooming lovely!


Last summer Bumblebee bought a cactus from one of the plant sales at the Botanical Gardens. There was a bit of a jostle in the queue and it was knocked out of his hand, spilling onto the floor and some of the little "babies" were snapped off.  The gardener who sold it took pity on him and fetched him another, letting him also keep the damaged one.

We researched the variety and how to propagate it.  A couple of days laid out on a dry paper towel to seal the end, we learned then to add them upright into gritty compost - we just potted the around the main plant since it was the perfect growing medium.

Each of the babies has now produced roots.

And the "mother" plants are flowering! 




Harbingers


I'm not sure that spring is around the corner just yet, but it is said that snowdrops are harbingers of that season.  Since February tends to bring bitterly cold temperatures and snow usually, I think they are named appropriately and should not therefore be a sign of spring.  That said, they do warm my heart.


Around the garden other bulbs are thrusting their way through the soil. 



The pond is so clear that the brick upon which the pump sits is visible. 



The terrace has become a little green in places over the winter due to lower light levels so a stiff brush and a bucket of very diluted bleach has made short work of the algae. 



It has been mild for part of the week, I even caught a glimpse of a bee on this viburnum on Saturday morning.  Today, Sunday however was damp and dreary once more with little sign of life from insects on the wing.  



There has been much chatter from the sparrows as they arrive back to fight over premium nesting sites in the conifer hedge.  The tawny owl has been heard around 10.30pm for the last couple of weeks and this morning at about 6.30am. (we usually miss him arriving home due to getting up earlier for work).  The robin is fiercely marking his territory, and I think I may have spotted a chiff chaff....but it may have been the wren. I need to gen up a bit more.  Last weekend we took part in the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch and saw almost nothing in comparison to this weekend. Murphy's Law. 

January


January is generally one of our coldest months with northly, biting winds, bitterly cold nights and snow.  We had a cm perhaps at most around the 12th...so far.

As I make this entry the mist is rolling in after a very cold Sunday with the mercury hitting only 2c max. 

However, since it's been dry for a couple of days it was a good time to get out into the fresh air and tackle some tasks fit only for a cold winter's day.


First up, fence painting. It's long overdue, but winter is the perfect time to get the brushes out and treat any wood since plants climbing up it tend to be dormant. 


While The Man That Can is busy with the fence, I cut back the dead fern fronds.


Planted three pots of snowdrops and three pots of dwarf narcissus in the front garden...


...planted a new pinky purple hellebore, split a large clump of hellebores and replanted the sections in the empty spaces in the front garden. 


I weeded and scraped leaf litter from emerging bulbs, while TMTC split a further huge clump of hellebores. Half was returned to the original spot and the other half planted beside the bird bath.



A good watering in, despite the low temperatures help to settle the soil around the new plants...so long as it's not sub-zero. 


In the back garden, further weeding was necessary.  Chickweed is such an issue here, flowering and setting seed whatever the time of year.  We have had a mild few days with temperatures around 6-9c which has helped this nuisance spread.


I'm a sucker for scented plants and Christmas Box is so welcome during the colder months. Tiny white flowers that really pack a punch feed that desire. This one has been planted in the shadier side of the garden beneath the mixed clematis. We have another in the pink garden.


I finally found the right plants for the north side of the bottom shed...evergreen ferns! 













I've heard that some folk think gardening is not for the winter months.  With so much colour and scent available on a cold day, what is stopping you wrapping up warm and taking a walk around your garden? 

Pre-Christmas colour


Winter. It's been particularly mild thus far, but while December is classed as a winter month, it's rarely seen as that bitterly cold snow covered scene on the cards shared at this time of year.


The first 'Christmas Rose' is unfurling along with blue and pink buds of primulas 



Silvery markings on cyclamen above with emerging buds on viburnum. 



Winter jasmine is the only flower in full swing in the garden.  The tiny sweet scented blooms appear for the first time on viburnum bodatense 'dawn'. There are two clusters on the pink winter flowering variety in the pink garden.  Once fully established I'm certain it will fill this space with welcome winter loveliness.


A single pink 'New Dawn' rose clings onto life while it's leaves are passing. 






This lovely rich hue is supplied by Pittosporum tenufolium Tom Thumb above, now it's leaves have all turned shiny purple. Below is a hebe in a very similar vibrancy. 



A new acquisition is a cornus alba 'Baton Rouge' which has a stunning red bark and promises red foliage.  
It was my birthday last month, and with money from my dad and step-mum it took me a while to find this fantastic plant to brighten up this space behind the bird bath.  It's positioned in perfect eyeline from my seat inside the house and creates a lasting reminder of them.


I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year.



Leaf litter


For my birthday, TMTC gave me a garden shredder and a leaf blower/vacuum. 

And then it rained.

Or we had plans.





So as soon as we were able, he shredded all the hedge trimmings and I blew all the fallen leaves into piles.  TMTC had to do the hoovering part of the leaf collection as I wasn't strong enough to manage it with what is still a very weak arm.





The leaf vac shreds the leaves also, to help speed up the composting. 



Our new compost bin in now almost full of shredded leaf litter.  The blackbirds shouldn't be able to get at them this year!