January in the garden

Winter arrived last week, bringing clear skies and cold air, frost and even a dusting of snow. Like the very best of house guests it’s set to depart too soon, leaving us in eager anticipation of the next visit. It’s good to spend time together. We really should do it more often.

Thursday’s planned morning of mulching fell victim to the mild conditions as, arriving on site, it became clear that the borders all needed edging yet again. There’s no point spreading out a luxuriant covering of well rotted manure over the borders only to scatter grass clippings over the top, and so, out with the edging shears again. They’ve never seen so much action at this end of the year.

 Mulching delay

Mulching delay

The soft ground is still soggy and compacts too easily when walked on, so while the edges are now crisp, I’ll have to wait for drier conditions to make them straight again, at which point a spot of aeration will be in order. You could of course argue that I shouldn’t be tramping about over a soggy garden at this time of year.  You probably wouldn’t like my response.

By the afternoon the wind had turned bitter, the sky threatening snow – emptily, as it turned out – before Friday morning brought one of those perfect days for winter gardening; sunny, cold, the ground under a light frost but still workable. I find myself wishing every winter’s day could bring such conditions, how gladly I’d trade weeks of mild, slushy, muddy stuff for the necessity of wearing several extra layers (five and counting, and still feeling the chill) and losing the feeling in my knees and toes every so often. Briefly, I consider that perfect hibernal gardening conditions might cause my winter reading pile to swell to an unmanageable height, before realising that, in all honesty, it’s probably already got to that point. And anyway, that’s what the long, dark evenings are for, isn’t it?

 A little light reading...

A little light reading...

We’ve a few more days of cold brightness before the warmer air moves in from the west. Time for me to move away from the screen, and get back out there.

A prune with a view. A sunny day for cutting the dead wood out of the photinia

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