Friday, 13 January 2012

Christmas in the Garden

We left the Florida sunshine for a couple of weeks in Bury over Christmas.  Even though I'd flogged through the day's transatlantic travel and was under par with a viral infection (which lasted six weeks) day two found me in the garden.

The front garden was looking distinctly untidy with the tall dead remains of the glorious summer show of various 'daisies' and crocosmia, so that certainly needed a good clean up for the sake of the neighbours!  That lead on to tidying up the climbing yellow rose and the lovely deep purple clematis, neither of which was looking particularly glorious in December.  

Overlaying those two climbers were four fantastic sweet pea plants.  They were all lusciously green and full of flower stems filled with buds.  Talk about too little too late.  What a freaky year 2011 was in the garden world.  Most of my stuff was really, really late coming into their prime thanks to the cool start early in the year and some of the Spring flowers were thinking they'd done a winter and were trying to flower again.  Sadly the sweet peas had to be ripped out; the first frost would have just shrivelled them and they would have looked dreadful hanging there until Spring.

Now the bug had bitten and I decided I really wanted to get the climbing roses hacked right back (their five year massacre) and the clematis pruned right back.  I am hoping that I will have a lovely flush of new growth next year with everything looking strong and clean.  The roses were brought down to about thirty inches and the clematis to about a foot and all the debris and straggly growth cleared away.

Gardening is certainly an addiction.

I found this snippet in Gardeners World on-line which pretty much describes what went on if you want to do it properly. 

Pruning clematis is not the difficult task some people imagine it to be. Only Group 3 clematis, which flower in late summer, require regular pruning. This is done in late winter, just as buds are starting to emerge.
Group 3 includes the Clematis viticella hybrids and C. texensis, as well as the lovely variety ‘Bill MacKenzie’. Clematis that flower in spring or early summer are classified in Groups 1 and 2.
Winter-pruning clematis simply involves cutting back all stems to 30cm above ground. Growth can be quite rapid once the soil starts to warm and day temperatures rise, so keep on top of tying in new shoots.

Right now, back in Florida,  I am scrutinising the Thompson and Morgan catalogue veggie section and planning my 2012 potatoes, beans and salad stuff.  I might a long way from fifty-three degrees North  but my heart is back home.

Happy New Year to you.  Here's hoping 2012 is a great year for the English garden (and all of us).