Category Archives: jobs for February

Coming back to Winter

I’ve just got back from a fabulous month long trip to the Antipodes – +30degreesC temperatures- and wearing my plant-hunter hat, the wonderful Lord Howe Island gave me all a ‘palm loving’ gardener could ask for. Forests of Kentia Palms (indigenous to the Island) and others – featured on the stamps below – only growing on the top of the these two mountains with their very specific climates.

Such a wonderful holiday, I was sad to leave, but my small bag tells the story!

Home I came, to a very different world of icy cold grey days and garden neglect..

Last year’s perennials strewn across the borders and Hellebore leaves obscuring the delicate new flowers.  For some gardeners this winter abandonment is absolutely fine as the coverage provides hiding places for wildlife. This is an excellent excuse to stay indoors and do nothing.  However I firmly believe that there are plenty of alternative hiding spots around the garden for the newts and frogs and if we stumble across a hedgehog nestled in some grasses we just tuck them back in again.

So with my trusty gardening colleagues Emma and Chris

we set about putting the gardens right.

With these two cheeky chappies, the jet lag was forgotten and the fun began.

the old hellebore leaves now no longer detract from the glory of these mid-winter beauties:

The dead fern leaves were cut back to the ground

and old flower spikes went too…

The hedges and Bay tree were trimmed before birds start nesting

and the weeds – yes the weeds are still growing – have been carefully disposed of (at least for now).

Aaaaaah, now that feels better and looks just great! The perfect antidote to coming back to winter.



And I’m back!


A computer malfunction has blighted my working and blogging life for 2 weeks now.  All I can say is Thank you Apple for bringing me back on line and reuniting me with my fave old (well over 5 years now really is old) iMac. Not sure how I managed without you  but all is forgiven.


In the mini break I managed to have my business card printed and a banner made for my Gardeners Accessory Belt, beautifully modelled here by my good friend Maddie (and all care of a special free offer from Vistaprint


Now I must get back to the most important stuff – what is going on in the garden?

Yes we are still pruning roses and yes we are still weeding and mulching with garden compost.

I thought these snowdrops looked fab at the bottom of the hedge growing in amongst the Lychnis and Lavender as they all share that lovely bluey green hue to their foliage, which makes a fab backdrop to the white bells of snowdrop flowers..


as does the glossy dark green leaves of the Spotted Laurel ..



One of the jobs we worked on today was an attempt at digging up and dividing the Arum italicum.  When we first dug it up from the wilds of the woods a few years back, it was really difficult to dig deep enough to pull it up with roots on, as they were so entangled with the grass and roots of the wood. We only managed to get enough for 3 small clumps.


Now they are 3 bigger clumps.  I hoped they may now be easier to dig up given the sandy loam nature of the soil in these beds.  What I like about these plants is that they are a low growing evergreen that loves the shade and the leaves look lush at this time of year.



They were still pretty deep as can be seen by the length of the white stem as seen here.




But Emma made light work of it and before I knew it they were up, out, divided, back into smaller bunches, dotted around the area, planted and watered. Thank you Em, great job.

Arum italicum
Arum italicum

This is how they looked on August 26th last year. Otherwise known as Italian Lords and Ladies

Dividing snowdrops

Me dividing snowdrops
I suggest you don’t walk past a large patch of snowdrops without quickly digging them up with a trowel and dividing them into smaller clumps and re-planting straight away.

Snowdrops bulk up very quickly so as long as you keep dividing them,  it won’t be long before an area can be carpeted with these dainty little darlings.