1. Snowdrops

Snowdrops perfectly represent this time of year.  Always so welcome and fresh among all the general brown twiggyness.  

As January progresses into February, the sheet of snowdrops will unfurl further and further until this area of the garden is carpeted with them.  Weekly photographic updates will be posted!

2. Rose pruning

I've made a start on pruning the roses.  It will take me a few weeks to get round them all.  The central bed in the centre of the rose garden contains Margaret Merril floribunda roses.  I've cut them back by about a half.  The time consuming part of the job is clearing up all the fallen leaves from the ground beneath them to reduce the spread of the dreaded black spot.  I've then mulched the roses with home made compost.  This also takes time as the hedge prevents me from just tipping up the wheelbarrow and I have to transfer it to the border using a bucket.

3. Home made compost

I'm rather proud of this stuff.  It's rather heavy and claggy compared to the compost you buy, but its a huge improvement on our first attempts.  The only problem is that we could do with more of it.

We compost the grass cuttings and mix them with any material I've cut back in the borders and any cardboard boxes we get.  It gets turned once or twice only and takes the best part of a year to get to this stage. The piles are just too big and heavy to turn any more often.  

4. Virginia Woolf's Garden by Caroline Zoob

This book was a Christmas present.  It tells the story of the garden at Monk's House, now owned by the National Trust, which was the home of Leonard and Virginia Woolf.  Caroline Zoob and her husband were National Trust tenants for over ten years, living in the house, opening it to visitors and looking after the garden. 

The book describes each area of the garden, from the borders and fish ponds, to the Orchard with Virginia's writing hut and the vegetable garden.  Each chapter opens with an embroidered garden plan by Caroline and has beautiful photographs of the garden both wider views and close ups of the plants mentioned in the text.  There are also planting plans for many of the borders, something I love to see in a gardening book.

It is Leonard Woolf who was the gardener.  It was he who spent every afternoon in the garden (he spent the mornings writing), and who wanted to employ a gardener before they had made the house reasonably habitable.    Virginia enjoyed being in the garden and on occasion helping Leonard in it.  Caroline writes that 'I do not think that she was particularly interested in garden making; after all, she was the lover and intimate friend of one of the most exciting gardeners of the century and yet hardly exchanged a word on the subject in nearly twenty years of regular correspondence.'

I didn't know much about Virginia's life and enjoyed the biographical information in the book, but it is primarily about the garden and its development.  It's a relaxed country garden with a bit of a Bloomsbury feel to it.  There's nothing grand about it (they buy their garden ornaments from the local shop), but it is charming in a cottage garden kind of way.

5. Buried Treasure

I don't know why, but I love to find bits of broken blue and white china in the garden.  I was digging a hole for a rose and found nearly half a plate. 

6. Winter Aconites

Since I last posted about these some more have come up - so I've chosen to feature them again.

 That's all from my garden this week.  If you'd like to hear from other gardeners about what's happening in their gardens , then visit The Propagator, who kindly hosts Six on Saturday (goodness knows how he finds the time to go running as well!)


  1. I never get tired of looking at Snowdrops.

  2. I can say the same regarding aconites, what an admirable swathe.

    1. They seem to be doing particularly well this year.

  3. it 's today that I start my pruning of roses. The frosts are gone as I said in my blog and now I have at least 10 days without cold nights which allows me to cut them back. (Especially since there are already many new young shoots.)
    The snowdrops carpet is superb! I don't have as much but it's very nice to see yours

    1. I've noticed a few new shoots on some of my roses too. The mild winter seems to be encouraging them to get growing early. I'm glad you like the snowdrops. The main display is still to come.

  4. I love your snowdrop carpet. I've been planting more each year but they're still a fringe rather than a carpet. Are yours the double ones?

    1. The ones open at the moment are doubles. The singles aren't out yet. Good luck with creating your carpet.

  5. I get a little sense of enjoyment from finding things buried in the garden too. To date I have uncovered a pair of shoes, some mugs, a pair of reading glasses (actually they were mine and I found them in a rhododendron) and todays discovery - an entire tea-spoon. One of these days though I'm sure there will be treasure to be found...


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