Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Your jobs in the garden this week

I'm just going through the last of the January newsletters, which are advising me to do things like prune roses (too cold), pot up dahlias and put them in a warm spot (where?), put greasebands on my fruit trees (er..) and bring strawberries inside to get them going early (and fill your house with strawberry beetles and slugs). There are admittedly a few things I might do, like prune my currants and chop the raspberries back to ground, if I can find a gap in the weather. And I've already started the propagator, of course.  But on the whole, I have fallen back to the basic January garden job-list:

  1. Tut vaguely at dead things. Contemplation is such an important part of gardening. Winter. It's all about mortality, really. Or is it? Is that a sprout of green? Alas, for those that March frosts will finish.
  2. Kick a hole in the ice. Ponds, bird baths, water planters - don't let them ice solid. Keep the water moving. Those floating balls help, but a good kicking does wonders.
  3. Shake off the snow. Save rhodies, heathers, herbs and and pieris from snow-flump and splitting and passion vine, early cherry and clematis from cold burn on new growth by taking a bamboo cane round the garden and giving everything a gentle shake. Don't use hands! You won't enjoy it and nor will the plants.
  4. Take out the compost. Don't get lazy and chuck it in the food waste bin. Break the worm-dirt ice on the compost bin and give the hottest space in the garden a little more waste to chow down on. Spring is coming and you will need mulches.
  5. Look for new growth. Buds, shoots and leaves. Flowers are good but it's the green I crave, this time of year. My snowdrops are up! And other bulbs are sprouting all over. Look! The Fennel is fluffing up already. I have a lot of Fennel. Too much, really.
The cat is enormously excited whenever I go out into the garden at the moment. She runs around the patio in circles and then straight up one of the trees at the back, the one I saw the squirrel on when I was doing the Big Garden Birdwatch (blackbirds, starlings, magpies, jackdaws, a goldfinch and a red kite I couldn't record because it didn't land). It's weird how she can run just as fast vertically as horizontally.

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