In From the Cold…

What a beautiful chilly day it has been here in my part of Derbyshire today. It started with me having to scrape the inside of the van windows, front and rear. So it was definitely a hard frost last night, yet this cold was counter balanced by the beautiful clear skies and sunshine we have seen all day. An almost perfect winters day. I say almost perfect because perfect for me includes snow, which we have only seen a few flakes so far this year.

The view from my office today also rewarded me for getting up and at ’em.

But what is there possibly to do in the garden in weather like this!!

The question I get asked most at this time of the year, is usually along the lines of, “ What do you do for work at this time of year?” and yes, there are days when all I want to do is hibernate inside with a good book, however, the feeling doesn’t last and I soon long for some fresh air and exercise. Which is a good thing too, as there is plenty of work to be getting on with.

January starts for me with Wisteria pruning. I can easily spend well over a week up various ladders counting to 3!
Prune off all of the long and leggy shoots back to 3 buds to reduce leafy growth and encourage flowers. I hope, now you are reading this, you have braved the weather and pruned yours to ensure you can see all the flowers when they come out in May.

Apple and Pear trees can also be pruned now, taking out all dead, diseased and dying wood first, and then, prune so you leave spaces large enough pigeons could fly through, to ensure the tree will get enough ventilation to help it stay healthy next year. Make sure if you are tackling a tree which needs a lot of remedial pruning to complete this project over several years only taking out 1/3 of the wood at any point in time. Your patience will be rewarded with a beautifully manageable tree. If you try to do it all at once you send the tree into shock, it then produces even more growth than you had when you started and all of it water shoots, growing perpendicularly for the sky. A thoroughly counter productive approach.

Whilst you are attending to climbers and any trained fruit trees it is very important make sure you check all the wires and any ties that may have become too tight over the year and require loosening to prevent damaging the plant.

Anemanthele lessoniana and shrub Rose Border

 All your grasses need taking down to the ground now too. If you leave them any later, you will have flat tops to your grasses all summer, so be warned! I know they look pretty in the frost but once the new year comes the focus is on spring and not winter. The bulbs and winter flowering plants should be stealing the show now not last years growth.

There is always some clearing up to be done, in case you have time left. then we can look at filling up next weeks gardening calendar too. Until then, Happy days in the garden and I’ll leave you with a view of my office windows today. x

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