Tuesday, 1 January 2008


I'm not sure when the tradition started but I always go out into the garden on New year's day for the first weeding session of the year. I tell myself that for every weed I pull out now there's a further ten I won't have to pull out later in the year (and that's a conservative estimate). Some years it has been a real struggle, cold weather head throbbing, today however was a joy, not too cold, no hangover (we stayed in and ate roast chicken and shared a bottle of champagne).

I love the turn of the year it fills me with optimism, the days getting longer and the warmth of summer to look forward to. The winter garden is naked waiting for its spring outfit so I like to look out for the gaps that need filling (if I don't fill them with something I like then mother nature will certainly choose something for me which may or may not fit my somewhat disorganised design).
The transformation by June is quite startling all that life waiting to spring up, my roll is one of minimal interference, if plants don't like my garden then I don't try and grow them again I just stick with the many plants that do.
I hope this year that our country can achieve a similar renewal with a change in our political landscape.

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Newmania said...

Very nice Mrs. S and I like the bit about leaving it alone. An English garden is a goog image for governance . Assisting and pruning but not overly controlling. the Jardin Anglaise in fact .

( I kill plants by looking at them)

Mrs Smallprint said...

You got it in one, I didn't think I'd need to labour the point.

Ed said...

Lush garden!

Philipa said...

Hi mrs smallprint, nice garden. Mine's just sort of there, well there's space outside my house, and I must get around to doing something about it but I thought that happened in about march??

Mrs Smallprint said...

That depends whether it is an established garden or just a patch in waiting, plus the type of soil you have!!!!!!

Philipa said...

Soil is good loam but light a problem - back garden south facing but sun has to come over big conifers (which give much needed privacy), so either baking hot or in the shade of a tree. The rest is in between the side of my house and the big Victorian detached next door, 12ft -> about 15ft wide. The wind whistles down that corridor a bit so I'm thinking of developing it this year even though I have absolutely no money. Hmn, magic wand anyone?

When I lived in a village peole would happily give cuttings and sell plants at the local fair for about 50p, not here in the town :-/

I might stretch to fig and a grapevine and I'd really like some roses - the children are old enough now to avoid them (I had levelled the garden and turfed/paved it while they were young) I think it would take more than a miracle to make it look like yours mrs smallprint. Yours looks lovely :-)

Mrs Smallprint said...

Hi Philipa

I got started with a book called 'Right Plant Right Place' by Nicola Ferguson and Frederick McGourty, it's great for working out what will suit your soil conditions and sun/shade spots.

If you are planting roses check the labels for black spot resistance as it can be a real pest. Underplant roses with hardy geraniums which come in lots of varieties (I like Johnson's blue).
A really easy climber is clemetis montana (other larger flowered clemetis can be tricky), in spring it is literally covered in pink flowers. I have one on my east facing wall which is growing through a climbing rose.

Great for your hot spots will be the herbs, lavender, thyme, rosemary and sage (just an annual haircut in terms of maintenance). I love purple sage which makes a large mound (good boiled up with honey for treating sore throats).

Plan now, plant March onwards and I look forward to seeing the results!


Mrs S.

Mrs Smallprint said...

p.s. the book I mentioned is available on Amazon, mine is the 1986 version - used price £2.80 or the updated version around £20.

A great source of cheap gardening books is your local charity shop if you have one.

Philipa said...

Ooh good advice mrs s, I'll take pics now and post the before and after shots :-)

Mrs Smallprint said...

Whoops, I forgot to say I spend hardly any money because I buy my plants at the local car boot sale.

Philipa said...

I should go to one of those.. and take about half my stuff! You can hardly move in my house for toys and books.

I hate my neighbours, it's midnight and never mind sleeping, I can't hear my TV because of theirs. No wonder I don't bother with the garden, they make me hate it here. I dream of a detatched house... in the middle of a field!!

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