This is a New Year post about looking forward to the year ahead, and without a New Year's Resolution in sight.
1. A Spring Clean
What better way to start the year than with a jolly good tidy up. We have swallows nesting in the garden shed each Summer and they do rather decorate the place, if you catch my drift. But several hours later, and with the aid of a bucket of soapy water, it's looking much tidier. I even managed to wash up a few of my stash of plant pots in anticipation of all the seeds to be sown.
Talking of seeds, the catalogues have started to arrive. Many hours will be spent making lists and then trying to edit them down to a reasonable length.
3. A Good Book
I've been reading 'We Made a Garden' by Margery Fish. I'd not read any of her writing before and greatly enjoyed this one, mainly because of the slightly disparaging tales she tells of her husband, Walter. This is Margery's first experience of making a garden, but Walter, however, has his own ideas about how things ought to be done. To some extent it is a reflection of the gardening enthusiasms of the early twentieth century. The first area of the garden they make is a rock garden, and there are many recommendations for plants to grow in walls and between paving stones.
But the main reason I love reading a new gardening book is that it sets me off dreaming about changes and improvements I can make here. Most of these dreams may come to nothing, which is just as well, since there are only so many plants a gal can look after.
One of the chapters in Margery's book is 'The Value of Evergreens'. It is a short chapter, which can be summed up as - your garden will look bare in winter without any, and a bit of structure from clipped shrubs is good in a formal garden. But you knew that didn't you? So did I, but I can't say I've planted many evergreens apart from hedges, both dwarf and tall, like these in the Rose Garden.
I didn't plant any of the evergreen shrubs in the photo below. Here there are juniper, mahonia, hollies and spotted laurel. But imagine the scene without them. It would be so bare.
5. Skimmia Japonica 'Rubella'
Since evergreen shrubs are so important to the Winter garden, I did think it could have been the theme for this week post, with profiles of six different evergreen shrubs. I even started taking some photos. They didn't half look dull. I thought this Skimmia was worth including though, with its pretty red flowers.
6. Winter Flowering Cherry
This has already been flowering for a few weeks and will carry on for a few more, despite the pigeons pecking at them. I look at this froth of pale pink flowers and think can it really be Winter?
Well it definitely is, but there are signs that we have turned a corner into Spring. Those early flowers, the Pulmonaria, Aconites and Hellebores are showing signs of flowering soon, and so the garden year begins again.
May I leave you with best wishes for a healthy and happy New Year.
This post is part of Six on Saturday, a weekly gardening theme, hosted by The Propagator.