January 6th – week 1
Another gardening year begins, hopefully better that the last in weather terms. The outgoing year was the wettest in the South West since 2000. Taunton experienced some 131 mm in December bringing the total rainfall for the year to 1,107 mm.
Turning now to 2013, on Wednesday (2nd) I cleared the rest of the leaves this gave me the chance to have a stroll around the garden to assess the damage caused by the very heavy rain we had the last month. There was surprisingly little to report. The lavenders had all turned up their toes earlier in the year due to the water logging which they hate. I have replacements that were sown last year; these can take their place in the spring. As is usual at this time of year we have an abundance of spring-flowering bulbs pushing their way through the soil, a cheering sight and a taste of things to come. Currently in flower we have witch hazel, cyclamen primula, bellis, and viola. Just breaking are the hellebores and white forsythia (Abeliophyllum) and the buds of the magnolia stellata are just beginning to get furry, not long to wait there. Our star turn at the moment has to be the Christmas box (Sarcococca confusa), the perfume from this is overpowering and the flowers are only partly open.
The veg patch does very little at this time of year, suffice to say that of forty cloves of garlic planted only one has failed to germinate, tough as old boots garlic. The large greenhouse is now home for our newly acquired patio Apricot. I have never grown this fruit before but I am reliably informed by that RHS gardening encyclopaedia that they should be protected from the rain as an insurance against peach leaf curl. The rest of our pot grown fruit all seem to have survived the weather although it has been very mild so far this winter not such a good thing if I want my fruit and garlic to set for 2013. I have completed one pruning job and that is the grape Invicta. This is now four years old so I will let it hold a couple of bunches this year. It has been trained as a cordon and I am hoping that I will be able to train the rampant growth with this form.
This weekend (5th) I will make a start on getting the small greenhouse prepared for seed sowing and getting the fuchsias started into growth. Not a lot to do check out the electrics are all in good working order and rake over the sand in the heated beds (soil warming cable).
Next week I hope to finish the pruning of the soft fruit and also the big cooking apple and…. make a start on some seed sowing.