Category Archives: Jobs for January

Another day another dollar

The new red shoots of the Peony ‘Molly the witch’ are bursting through the icy soil crust. We therefore bestow on this plant the honour of being the first in the garden to be given the decoration of home grown plant support.

Bea – the newest recruit to the ‘Babes with Spades’ team has created this very lovely support from hazel and willow:




and a reminder of how the plant will look in Spring…



We moved onto pruning roses in the wild garden, starting with the pink rose seen here on the right of the picture in July last year



It’s in the Wild Garden.  A stunning rose covered in flowers every year.  However some of the wood is very rotten.  We have had to cut out some of the old stems.IMG_2632


Inspired by a pruning course I took last year and an episode on Garden Revival currently on the BBC, I have decided to experiment with pegging down new growth so it is more horizontal than vertical:



Again a bit tricky to see in this photograph, but I am excited to see

how well this works as it should (in theory) break out in flower spikes along the entire length of the stem now.

WE did this to 3 other large roses in the wild area as there is plenty of space to do it here.  I can not wait to see what happens…

The Bigger Picture

I turned up to work today and was confronted with the very hairy Pittosporum. I fully admit to having ‘turned the other cheek’ for a while now, prioritising other jobs first,  but now I felt it really was shouting for help to be brought under control. ..



After consulting with the client as to what shape they would prefer the choice was left down to me. Naturally of course, the untamed shrub wants to be round and shaggy but when I cast my eye into the background there were the large square cut Beech  and Leylandii hedges beyond.  Perfect.  Let’s just square it up



There was then the temptation to square up the Hebe shrubs behind


– which I just couldn’t resist.

Luckily time ran out before I squared everything else in the garden…

Happy New Year 2015 and it feels like the sap is rising already…

My wish for this gardening year is for it to be at least as fulfilling as the last – which I’m sure won’t be difficult-  and my challenge is to have the courage to experiment more with planting times, cuttings and growing new plants. Watch this space!

So let’s jump in with the first gardening week of the year:

Pruning roses tends to be the back bone of our winter work.  because there are so many to fit in to a few months we start at the end of November and continue through to February/March supplemented by other jobs.  Other jobs at the moment still include weeding as the weather is still relatively mild here in the south East of England.

Yesterday I pruned one of the Wild roses in the garden.  I have no idea which kind of rose it is, but think it may be a rambler.  What I love about it most is it has the habit of a bouquet.


Winter after pruning



Today we checked up on the dahlia tubers that were dug up at the first frost and left to dry out in the shed



We stood them upside down and left quite a lot of the soil to dry out on them.  Normally by now we would have wrapped them in newspaper to insulate, and then store  in boxes.  Again, it has been so mild,  that we have decided to skip this step and pot them up in fresh reasonably dry compost today. We would usually leave this until March.




They still need protection from frost so they are back in the shed.

Those that were too big to fit in pots we gradually teased apart to create smaller plants.  As long as the tuber has some stem attached it will be fine. If the tuber breaks off without stem, I find these rarely grow again.