This Month

This Month January 2021 - Friday, 31 Jan 2020

The world turns and another year has passed and it is best to look forward not back and to have some achievable aims. You may surmise that most of my aims revolve around plants and the garden to which end I greatly look forward to being able to go out to some nurseries looking for new plants.
Whilst I write this there is a touch of snow on the ground but that will not stop me finding some jobs to do outside even if I feel it is too cold to be pruning.
Nearly every week, if not every day, sees new spaces opening up where the pruning has been more severe than in recent years. One such area is just below the house which is a sheltered spot with sun some of the day, there are several shrubs but one, a Viburnum opulus, had gone very straggly, partly due to a Clematis rehderiana scrambling all over it. This is a lovely Clematis with pale yellow bell-shaped flowers and a long flowering season, it also grows a huge amount each year, the intention is to ensure it only grows over the archway. The Viburnum is yellow berried and I think the only one we have so I will dig up and move a small plant that has rooted away from the parent plant and move it somewhere else, the parent plant will be removed totally. It is a good place for a more tender shrub so I am thinking I will put Rhatitamnus spinosus which I have in a pot waiting to be planted out. They are evergreen and native to Chile and Argentina and introduced to UK in 1843, they grow to 20ft in the wild but may only be 4 to 8ft here. They have unusual blue trumpet-shaped flowers in spring and bright blue fruits in autumn.
This is just one small area we are changing, there are plenty of others much larger and mostly in shade or semi shade, I am in need of shade loving shrubs of about 3ft to fill several gaps. I don’t really want ones that will need a lot of pruning to keep to size as that adds to my workload, one of my reasons for clearing is to put in plants that need less attention rather than the shrubs that sucker and spread so much.
Another rejuvenated area is around the Arbutus unedo (Strawberry Tree), due to large trees one side it is growing in the other direction and in turn forcing other shrubs to lean, like dominoes. We have pruned the strawberry tree back to allow in more light to the other plants which we have also pruned to encourage them to grow more upright. We totally removed one small conifer which would not grow back and looked in a rather sorry state. There are also a number of the single flowering Rubus spectabilis under the Arbutus which have  self-seeded, once I have new plants ready for this area I will dig the Rubus out. In this area there is now space for half a dozen plants of varying sizes. I really need to make a list of the gaps and size of plants they will take.
I do hope I will get the opportunity to get out to the nurseries but for now I am not going out , with plenty of logs, books and home grown food I can manage for a while without shopping but I do miss fresh organic milk in my tea. Happy, healthy new year to you all.

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