Monday, 14 February 2011

Weeders' Weekly - Garden in winter

Rosehips- not sure why birds haven't eaten these- maybe there's nowhere for them to perch.  Tidy gardeners might have pruned their roses already, but I like the look of the hips, and there's plenty of time for pruning- any time before the roses start putting out a lot of new shoots is fine.  Roses are much more resilient than people think - you can cut them down quite dramatically if necessary and they'll be fine.  More on roses when the weather's warmer- but if you want to plant some, then this is a good time to get them settled in.

Globe artichoke- seems to have been preserved by the cold- looks almost like something found in an ancient Egyptian tomb.  Hoping the globe artichoke plants will survive the winter - they're messily wrapped up in straw and old cardboard.  Foxes investigate everything here anyway so there's not much point trying to do it neatly- practical is better.  The globe artichoke is that rare beast- a vegetable which (frost and cold permitting) comes back every year.  It dies down in the winter (like lots of flowering plants), then shoots up again and starts making big thistle like leaves and flower buds - those are the edible artichokes.  If you don't cut them off and eat them they open into wonderful purple flowers (like giant thistles) which bees and butterflies will feed on. 

Experimented with using these old mattress springs as a support for beans last year. Not that clever as very hard to pick the beans between the springs. 

Love a good shadow effect - and the wire itself is quite interesting when not much is going on in the garden.

This kale is amazing- it's been totally frost resistant and pigeons haven't worked out how to perch on it to eat it. They're pretty dim birds, but once they do stumble upon your young cabbage plants or winter salad they will keep going back for more.  If this happens put net over them or chicken wire if you have any around, or cloches.  One way to hold net in place is to cut up old wire coathangers (with pliers) and bend into U shapes, push into the ground.  It usually doesn't matter if the net is resting on the plants as birds are pretty wary of getting tangled up.  Just don't leave the net on too long as it's maddening trying to disentangle the plants from it once they've really started to grow.

This is honesty, reduced to just an outline by time and weather.  It's a plant which seeds itself all over, grows quite tall quite quickly and has purple or white flowers.  Good for bees. A year or so ago the formal beds in front of the palm house at Kew Gardens were a sea of honesty- looked great.

Love this pumpkin, bought at an Open Garden Day a few years ago at Susan Bennett and Earl Hyde's amazing garden in Muswell Hill.  I think both of them are potters.  Read more and check out this year's Open Days.

Iris Reticulata - wonderful colour, always amazes me by suddenly appearing in full flower when I hadn't realised it was doing anything.  Unlike a lot of bulbs it comes up reliably year after year.  If you didn't have any this year, plant some in a pot in the autumn for next year.

1 comment:

  1. yes, please give us lots more info about roses! I love them but must be doing something wrong as after a few years they die on me - a month by month guide would be v useful - thanks in advance!


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