Friday, 13 January 2017

Hey, good lookin...

I don't know about you, but I find January hard work.

It is hard work to get up in the mornings, hard work to squeeze back into those favourite pair of trousers, hard work to get motivated and hard work to accumulate a healthier bank balance after the festive period. 

If there is one thing we can rely on to get us through this long month, it is the winter flowering beauties that greet us enthusiastically with their vibrant buoyancy and colour. 

They are not downtrodden and miserable - they are insistent on putting on their own garden pantomime full of colourful characters with varying habit, shapes and sizes. 

If your garden is looking a little bare during this time of year, it is worth investing in these mood boosters that are certain to etch the largest of grins, providing the ultimate feel good factor. (Well... they do say that plants and gardening has many health and livelihood benefits after all!) 

Daphne odora Rebecca 

Daphne Rebecca is an intriguing plant with glorious green foliage that fashions a divine yellow-cream outline, creating unusual variegated foliage. This contrasts perfectly with a delicate central cluster of highly scented pink blooms. 

Rebecca will illuminate often grey days with bright beams of colour throughout the entirety of January, February and even March! 

Clematis Winter Beauty

This aptly named plant is a dainty and stunning addition to any winter garden, with tentacle like foliage that weaves their way over unsightly walls and features. 

White, waxy bell shaped blooms will decorate the lush green foliage like droplets of snow - a luxurious and decadent climber that oozes charm and notoriety. 

Flowering from December to January, the evergreen foliage will continue to provide interest throughout the year, so you need not miss it when the blooms fade.

Clematis winter beauty requires very little pruning and is an easy plant to maintain and care for. (Even better!)

Primula Ooh La La Blood Orange 

A colourful character that'll warm winter beds and borders, alongside providing a cheery disposition.

These blooms pack a punch from January to October! Can you believe it?

Multi-headed stems are packed tightly together over attractive ivy-leaf foliage.

I can tell you are tempted...

Abeliophyllum dis Roseum
A little treat for you all - a refined and more subtle variety than its close relative - the common yellow Forsythia. 

A deciduous shrub that will have you clapping your hands with glee over their glistening brushed pink blooms,  leafless, dark branches and the concoction of rose and orange blossom scent. D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!

 I can almost smell the sweet fragrance, picturing the perfect place in the garden for this sought after shrub. 

Helleborus Winterbells 

I bet you thought I had bypassed this one - absolutely not! No winter garden is complete without the presence of a Hellebore. They are like garden royalty and we bow down to their wealth of beauty and elegance. 

This particular variety is incredibly unique and are known for being one of the earliest and longest flowering of all, appearing as early as November and lasting through to May! 

Beautiful cup shaped lime green flowers are flecked with light pink, adorning thick dark stems and dark green, perfectly shaped foliage. 

It seems like such a treat to see plants during January, almost as though they are a sacred wonder that only a chosen few are lucky enough to experience. We take pride in showing them off, whilst others often put up with a grey landscape.

Let these beautiful plants ease the January blues, forming a welcome pre-requisite to spring bloomers.

Do not let January get you down! Get out there and soak up the colour and beauty that we CAN and SHOULD enjoy!

Friday, 6 January 2017

New Year Wishes

Happy New Year Haylofters!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year - I can't quite believe it is all over again for another year. 

The decorations are down and I have hidden/eaten all tempting Christmas treats so that my diet can commence without the temptation of rummaging through the Quality Street tin or snooping around the cupboards to hunt down any stray boxes of mince pies. 

Each New Year conjures renewed hope and we are inspired to learn something new, quit a bad habit, overcome a fear, undertake challenges or just aim to tick some lines off our bucket list. 

I am sure many of us have made resolutions, which are easier promised than completed but at least the thought is there.

It was this notion that inspired this weeks blog - What do we want to achieve this year in the garden? 

Is it a case of transforming a neglected space, creating new areas of sanctuary in the community, refreshing tired beds and borders or introducing a completely new style? 

I have a whole blank canvas to work with in my garden. I moved house in September of last year and the garden was very overgrown as it had not been looked after for some time. It was decided that we would remove most of what was in the flower beds as weeds had overcome much of the space and it was unclear as to what was what and what was where, as labels freely scattered themselves all over the place.

After digging over the bed and removing weeds from the patio
There is no lawn but instead a lovely thick border that surrounds a small square patio and gravel area which currently supports a bird table (which I wish to give a coat of paint) and a bird bath. The patio continues to weave around the back of the property and conservatory making a lovely seating space in the summer.  

Clearing, tidying and re-constructing the bird bath

Many hooks are perfectly positioned on the brickwork for some hanging baskets which has made me a very happy lady as there is nothing I like more.  

I would like to concentrate my efforts on filling the large expanse of space that surrounds the perimeter of the garden. 

An unsightly mottled green fence is all I currently see when I look out of the bedroom window and therefore some climbing Roses or Clematis would be most beneficial.

A replacement trellis and Rose maybe? 

Rose Scent from Heaven
Lupin's and Digitalis will also create the perfect balance of height and structure.

Lupin Manhattan Lights

Diascia Breezee Appleblossom

I am yet to decide on smaller growing perennials and shrubs and so I am open to any suggestions that anyone has.

Containers are a must and I am keen to introduce Diascia Breezee Appleblossom to the patio. They are long flowering and produce a bubbling mound of blooms. 

I love the soft, subtle colour and think it will work well with companion container plants and baskets. 

I may even get a few of these and put some at the front of the house too! 

I feel as though I need to plan my baskets carefully around what I put in my containers. Half of me wants bold and vibrant blooms and the other part of me is muttering away that I should probably tone it down a little. Hmm... I will update you on that when the time comes.

For the future I would love to construct a seating area with some sort of outdoor heater which would elongate the time spent outdoors in the evenings, but that is an ambitious wish. 

For now, I am going to concentrate on getting things tidy, whilst planting some of my favourite perennials and shrubs to fill the border and containers.

What are your New Year Wishes for the garden?

Let me know!