Although the temperatures are definitely dropping it seemsto me that Winters are not only becoming milder but theworst weather is shifting into January and February. I used tocatch the bus to school and there were many occasions whenheavy snow meant that the busses were cancelled and it wasnecessary to don the wellies and trudge through the snow.Whilst I do like to see the garden covered in snow I am equallyhappy when its gone. Snow turns the garden into a monochromepicture all colour seemingly banished or diluted, a great excuseto turn our attention to the structure of the garden trees and builtfeatures dominate providing the opportunity to assess the gardenstructure, are there gaps, do you need to add more structure orindeed remove overgrown trees or dilapidated features?Moving house is stressful enough but is often achance to de-clutter and dispose of unused items,especially from the loft, keeping those items youtreasure the most will ensure that your new housewill take on your personality and style. With thisin mind how many of us take the time to turn ourattention to the garden, and what items and plantsare part of the family and need to be transferred tothe new plot.I appreciate it isn’t every day that we movehouse but we should review our garden annually,checking that it is doing all that is expected, plants,features and specific areas may need refurbishingor changing to suit the needs of the family. Thechallenge for my partner and I was how to ensurethat our most treasured plants and features couldbe transferred to our new garden, It was a doubleproblem as we both had houses and gardens to move.A fair proportion of the plants in our gardens wereherbaceous perennials so it made sense that we liftedand divided to give us a head start at our new garden.We have some amazing friends and one in particular,Sarah, offered us space in her garden to keep ourplants so on January 2016 we marked out a spot inthe corner of her nursery and dug over the ground.Not the best time of year to be moving plants butneeds must and we systematically went through ourgardens lifting, dividing and replanting. Some of thelarger subjects, Shrubs and Trees that were not fullyestablished were lifted and potted, again transferringthem to the nursery for safe keeping. I understandthat not everyone would have the desire to move agarden but as a Yorkshire man, my instinct is to takeas much as I can.Although the days are shorter this time of year thereis always a job or two to complete in the garden.All our efforts to keep on top of the weeds over theprevious year can be quickly undone by a period ofinactivity in the garden at this time of year. Weedsseem to ignore the cold wet weather and continue togrow unlike many of our more desirable ornamental perennials, so its good practice to continue removingweeds, choose a mild dry day and nip out wth abucket and a hand fork. an hour or so can make areal difference especially if you are troubled withperennial weeds. They are also easier to remove atthis time of year as ornamental perennials are cutback and don’t get in the way.Planning for both the kitchen and flower garden istop priority, and although a trip to the local nurseryor garden centre is a welcome opportunity to viewracks of seed packets and benches of plants the sheervolume can be confusing. Many seed merchantsoffer catalogues on line and the monthly or weeklygardening magazines offer the opportunity toperuse at your leisure and prepare a list before yourvisit. You could of course order on line but I lovethe opportunity to see plants and support our localnurseries and garden centres. It’s also a good timeto select plants for winter interest, either by visitingopen gardens or perusing the benches in nurseries,buying plants in their season of interest can give youa better idea of how they will look albeit on a slightlysmaller scale in the case of trees and shrubs. Chooseshrubs or trees with a good shape and balancedframework of branches as it is more of a challengeto correct a ‘lop sided’ framework although notimpossible.Next month ;- Keep an eye on emerging bulbs,Check structures and plant supports and continueplanting in mild weather.
Happy gardening Martin

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