january in the garden

One of the main reasons I started blogging 3 years ago was to keep track of what was going on in the garden. I’ve never done that systematically – although you can sneak a peak at some of the things that happened over the last few years here. (actually, I’ve just had a flick through that link myself – what fun! That’s made me feel far more jolly about the garden already! I didn’t realise there had been so many flowers – and there even appears to have been some fruit and veg grown at various points too (although there’s a picture of one year’s entire garlic harvest – one bulb – sounds familiar…)

Anyway, this year I’m going to do a gardeny post at the end of every month, joining in with the ‘end of the month view’ over at the Patient Gardener’s blog. I suspect her garden will be a little prettier than mine…

(I should point out that I’ve had this post half written for the last week or so, and not quite got round to finishing it off. Maybe I’m fussing about showing you the garden in all its not-very-glorious glory… But this is what it looks like, so it’ll have to do).

Our garden is a bit of a weird shape – it runs round two sides of the house, is narrow, and is directly next to the pavement. There’s no ‘back garden’ as such, it’s all right there on the street. That picture at the top of the post was taken with me standing on one leg hanging out of the bedroom window – slightly precarious, but actually gives a pretty good plan view of the front garden – I’ll do that every month.

On the right is the wall which leads on to the neighbour’s garden – they’re up the hill a little from us, and there’s a privet hedge on top of the wall which gets quite overgrown in the summer. Next to the wall you can just about see the tiny little fennel, and that tree is a rather pretty acer. In the circle of stones is a sage bush, and just behind that is some lemon balm (and that path looked far prettier when I was making it than it does now!)

Looking to the left a bit you can see the new seating area, which doesn’t look too appealing at the minute, but which will be a fabulously cozy little haven away from the street *very* soon. I must do something with that pile of stones – they were all either dug out when we built the terrace, or given to us to fill in the terrace, and somehow never made it under those big flagstones. I’m not sure what I’ll do with them.

The picture below is the other side of the garden, the bit round by the back door. Also taken leaning out of an upstairs window, this is the slightly more ‘functional’ bit of the garden, and in a bit of a state – eek! All those branches belong to a large and rather unwieldy lilac, and you can just see the bird table in the middle there. On the left is our rather unusual compost bin – looks a little bizarre, but it’s nicely camouflaged (it’s right next to the pavement), and it works reasonably well. That bright blue wheelie bin doesn’t usually live there, but it’s been so windy lately I had to move it somewhere flat and a little more sheltered.

Those green bags have been there for months, while the council decides whether it wants to reinstate our garden waste collections or not… I suspect they’ll have composted themselves by the time they get round to it!

Pottering around the garden last week I found this…

… garlic! Testament to my shabby gardening habits – I’d planted it a couple of years ago, then couldn’t find it when it was time for harvest, then forgot about it, and now it’s sprouted again. I must get out and separate it.

The giant fennel has started growing again in the corner…

Last year I harvested the fennel seeds, and now I can honestly say that we are entirely self sufficient in fennel tea. What an achievement!

One new thing I’ve done this year is to plant green manure. I don’t have a grand plan with this, I’d got some seeds left over from when I had an allotment (the packets were still sealed, so clearly I’d never planted any green manure at all on the allotment…). I’d also got some bare ground, so I threw in some field beans.

They grew! I’m not entirely sure how big they’re meant to be before I dig them in, but I suspect I’ll end up doing it once I’ve figured out what’s going in after them.

This little tiny bit of garden is around the front, near the acer. I split my chive plant last year, and a friend gave me some parsley, and I’ve planted it all in here – most of the plants are even still alive!

So, there we are, January’s whistle-stop tour round our little garden. It’s snowed quite heavily here this week, so the entire place is buried under a blanket of white, and half of what I’ve shown you may well be dead, I wouldn’t be surprised.

For the first time ever, I’ve also spent a bit of time planning what’s going in the garden this year. My general way is to plant some seeds, forget to water them, some of them die, some of them make it into the garden but are eaten, and some things grow – including some things I didn’t think I’d planted in the first place.

This year, I’ve got rid of all the seeds I’m not going to plant, and made a list of what needs planting in which month. February, according to my list, is garlic, and another fruit bush, and the first round of sweet pea seeds. I’m hoping to grow a bigger proportion of our fruit and veg this year than ever before, and that requires a little more planning than I’m used to!

Right, I’m not going to spend any more time fiddling with this post – the garden is scruffy and you can all see it – maybe this’ll be an incentive to sort it out!

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5 Responses to january in the garden

  1. Robyn says:

    You see, garden organisation, this is what we need. Actually I’m hoping for more accidental tomato plants this year – those were rather useful! Our garlic from last year has decided to grow now too, so fingers crossed we might get some of that at least…unless the snow has put paid to it!

    Looking forward to seeing how yours works out this year!

  2. Lorraine says:

    What happened to your blueberry bush? Mine didn’t do anything last year, just sat there all stick-like looking dead. Maybe it is. I’ll leave it there for another year before I give up on it.

  3. Roberta says:

    Every garden should have a meandering path and a place to sit. I’ll bet this is going to be a lush and beautiful garden in the Spring and Summer. Keep the photos coming!

  4. Thank you all!

    Lorraine, my blueberry bush actually had a few blueberries on it! Not loads, just enough for breakfast every now and again, but still cheery, and it was only the first year. I forgot to write about that because it’s in the bit of the garden you can’t see in the photos… (along with the rhubarb which should be appearing some time soon!). My gooseberry’s been sat looking dead for a year too – but then it was from Poundland, so I’m giving it a little while to get going!

  5. Fay says:

    If it makes you feel wonderful, I love your garden. So lovely to see it. My garlic is sprouting in the fridge…..and the last tomatoe I grew is still on the vine, in the living room, ripening nicely……go you.

    Ace post.

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