Archives for category: winter gardens


Bare root  Amelanchier canadensis and Betula pendula have now joined  Eleanor’s garden.

005 These silver  birch were around 80cm in height when planted six years ago.  They now stand at a good three metres, with their  white bark looking  stunning from the house – particularly  in  winter.

Amelanchier canadensis are a new addition this winter.  They  have been planted in semi shade and with the  garden soil being acidic and moist  they should be happy.  By planting closely in groups of three I have created a multi stemmed effect.  Truly   beautiful white spring blossom  and rich autumnal colour in variations of purple, red and orange makes this one of my favourite trees to plant.

Bare root plants are available in most garden centres and nurseries through the winter planting season.  They are incredibly economical to buy, really simple to plant and grow away fast.    I  use a spade to make a notch and then  drop the roots in, covering up to the point of where the sapling  had previously been growing in the ground.

If you have sufficient space, planting bare root is a really affordable way to add structure to your garden this winter.  Why not give it a go ?


January finds me planting trees, pruning dozens of deciduous shrubs and  mulching.  Raking away vast amounts of collapsed spent foliage appears to be my main task though.


Gardens with narrow borders pose no problem,  these jobs can be undertaken from the  edge.  Wide borders pose a  gardening dilemma, should  I stride through them to complete my winter work?  the answer is no – I will not be the person responsible for damaging the soil structure and leaving  a mud bath in my wake as I do so.  Instead, I  choose to stretch in as far as I can reach,  the rest will have to wait until it is a little drier underfoot.

However I am striding through Geoff’s large borders pruning as I go,  due to countless small stepping stones which have been set into the border.   Over the years they have become well camouflaged by encroaching planting and earth.  In fact I would go as far to say you probably wouldn’t know they were there if I hadn’t  mentioned them.  I like the fact that they are unobtrusive, yet extremely useful, and when well placed don’t affect the aesthetics of a border.


January finds me surrounded by the immense beauty of bark, sharp winter sunlight, flowering shrubs, magnolia buds and racing streams.  Believe me,  gardening is good for the soul  throughout the entire year.



Deep winter snow, a true rarity in Shropshire, which brought my working life as a self employed gardener to an abrupt holt for five days.

These images will remain etched in my memory for a very long time.  Believe me it has been breathtakingly beautiful.

Income generation recommences tomorrow, as sadly it all melted today.



041With my pruning and mulching almost complete,  my   focus is  now  to  cut  back  all  that  remains of last years  perennials .    This  Veronicastrum in Judy’s garden has been given an extension of leave,  and continues  to  defiantly pack a visual punch with its enduring sturdy stem and seed head.

Unless  pest and disease ridden, I tend to leave spent deciduous  foliage on the borders over Winter.  Not only do they  provide temporary winter soil protection, mulch out weeds, but  then naturally decay down  to improve the soil’s fertility.  It is only now in  mid February, that I have started to remove  this  old foliage away from emerging bulbs,  whilst  ensuring  the leaf mulch is aside from the crowns of perennials.   I have a perfect Wolfgarten tool for this job,  which enables  me  to  leave  behind the delicate foliage,  buds and flowers of countless bulbs  in my care as I rake through.


wheelbarrow loads of hellebore foliage have been cut back, to reveal some  truly stunning flowers.

Finally , and most importantly some of my favourite perennials are no longer subterranean, ” Hello  2017 ”  from  an emerging Euphorbia Fireglow  in Geoff’s garden.


My lovely sister Louise, made me these  gloves for Christmas.  It made me laugh out loud, when I realised  they are an exact colour match with the cyclamen in Geoff’s’ garden.003

I think we should all make an effort to colour co-ordinate  with our gardens more.

It  was too cold for gardening, which  led to a working day  sitting by the fire and drinking coffee.  I spent my time visualising  each garden in my care,   making  notes of everything I would like to  achieve for my clients.  New borders, large-scale sculptural willow projects, renovation projects, new vegetable and soft fruit beds, to name but a few. I  read through  mounds of seed catalogues and horticultural journals, noting must have plants and seeds.  I like productive days,  this definitely was one.

018This image is from Geoff’s garden on Tuesday. Snowdrops emerging through a leaf  mulch.  I loved the way the bulb tips had pierced the foliage.

Birds land by the  stem and branch full  at home, bringing my garden to life .  From my lounge window, on a wet  or frozen day, or any other day come to think of it, it is a truly great space to look out onto, and take winter images.008

P1050057 I will  continue  mulching from the edges whilst standing on boards and finish all  necessary deciduous winter  pruning; as long as it is niether below freezing, or chucking down.

Happy  new year,  and when the weather is right for you happy gardening .