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As we write we are still digging up leeks for Christmas lunch, but by the time you read this there are probably leftover turkey and sprouts in the fridge and you have possibly spent too much time on the sofa. Well we have managed to spend a bit of time outside this week, and there is still plenty to do in the garden at this time of year. Just in case you need some inspiration, here are a few ideas.
- There are probably still leaves to be raked or swept up to make leaf mould in a wire frame or in bin bags (don’t forget to make a few holes in the bag to let some air in).
- You may have a greenhouse which could do with opening for some time each day to let the air circulate, and there may be some tidying you could be doing inside the greenhouse if the weather is too damp and cold outside. Clear any dead leaves from over-wintering plants and sweep out any shelving and clean the glass on both the inside and the outside. This has the double benefit of clearing any over-wintering pests which are lurking in crevices and of increasing the amount of light which can get to the plants. They need all the light they can get at this time of year.
- If you don’t have a greenhouse you may have a shed which could do with a tidy up. You could clean any used plant pots you have lying around. They need brushing out to get rid of any compost and pests and then give them a rinse in soapy water.
- Your tools may need cleaning and sharpening. This is the perfect time of year to do this, when you are not doing much in the garden. Brush off any soil, sharpen the edges with a sharpening stone, clean any remaining dirt or rust patches with some wire wool and wipe lightly with grease before hanging up.
- If like us you haven’t yet ordered all of your seeds for next year this is a good time to do it – back on the sofa! We are planning to grow some veg which are harder to find in the shops. Salsify and sconzera as well as Japanese salad leaves which we will cut repeatedly for several weeks. We are also planning to get some unusual tomato and chilli seeds from our favorite supplier, Chiltern Seeds, and hope to get some of these sown in the greenhouse before the end of January.
Courses with some availability in the coming weeks:
- Botanical Printmaking (6-week course) – 11th January
- Basic Slab Laying – 13th January
- Renovation Pruning – 22nd January
- Fruit Tree Care – 2nd February
- Border Renovation – 5th February
- Cutting Garden – 9th February
- Your Veg Patch – 12th February
Plant of the Week
Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’
This lovely evergreen Clematis produces slightly fragrant, cup-shaped creamy-yellow flowers in late winter which are spotted purple inside and are followed in early spring followed by fluffy seedheads. It can grow up to 3m and requires a warm, sheltered position to flower well, though it thrives in any fertile, well-drained soil, and should be pruned after flowering in mid to late spring to maintain shape.