These winter months are the time of year I try to carry out any ‘estate’ maintenance along with completing the pruning of the climbing/rambling roses, wisteria, vines, the apples and pear trees.
These all require the use of a ladder, which in the past has involved balancing on the top of a rather unsteady step ladder. Having some time ago reached the age where I don’t bounce so well and not wishing to add to the queues at the local hospital A&E department I have invested in a Henchman ladder. This is one of the best investments I have made in garden equipment. The ladder is similar to the Japanese tripod ladders, with adjustable leg heights to accommodate different ground levels and a bar at the top that you can safely lean into, so long as you don’t go any higher than recommended. This feature doesn’t seem to appear on the Japanese ladders which was the deciding factor for me when making my choice. They are made in the UK from aluminium and therefore very light to carry and come in different sizes. I did feel very safe using it this year, it can also serve as a coffee table!
You can view more details Henchman Ladders.
Two jobs required the help of a local builder, one has been the replacement of the walls to the raised herb bed. I originally built it, in 2004, with treated timber planks, as these have rotted away in places, I decided to replace them with new sleeper timbers.
This bed is also home to a climbing ‘Albertine’ rose, on the trellis, a red currant fan trained along the side fence and a standard red gooseberry in the centre. The new bed is not as big, therefore more of the herbs will be in either terracotta pots or the old galvanised bath and buckets.
The lawn just off the patio always looks a mess, especially at this time of year, it is not very wide and all the foot traffic passes through here ( human and animal ). I have had it edged with porous black pavers, to match the ones incorporated into the patio design. Wether the grass remains, in this small area, or is replaced with gravel, is yet to be decided. Another option is artificial grass, I am following Cathy at Rambling in the Garden’s progress, with interest, to see how she gets on with her small installation.
I have also edged the fence along the Green and White garden with the pavers to save having to strim the grass.
Our neighbour has a willow (Salix) tree right against the boundary fence by the Oriental garden. We have dropped several, so far unsuccessful, hints regarding keeping it pollarded to prevent it becoming to dominant.
I decided to remove the worst offending boughs, the main branches will be placed, in a corner of the garden, to become a wildlife sanctuary, with the whips along with some Cornus trimmings, being woven into a small natural edge to the bed behind the banana bench. The remainder will be chipped for mulching around the shrubs in the Oriental garden.
My compost bins are in a poor state of repair and need replacing. I have for two years, had one of the local authority garden waste recycling bins. This has reduced the need for so many bins here. I have replaced one with an extra leaf bin, this is such a useful garden by-product, either for mulching or adding to potting compost that I don’t send it away from the garden.
We have recently taken delivery of 400 NGS Worcestershire County booklets this month to distribute around local shops, libraries and any garden clubs we visit. We also have our county AGM and lunch this month, where we garden openers collect all the publicity material for our open days. It reminds us the clock is ticking ( I think I have heard that before with a french accent!)
We have been fortunate to have recently enjoyed some winter sun, thus enabling me to make some progress on the maintenance list, while enjoying the winter sunshine, entertained by bird song.
What winter maintenance projects do you have for your garden?
I am joining Chloris and her many followers in posting my Top Ten for November, please visit The Blooming Garden to see what their Top Ten are.
Number one, the seed heads of the Lunaria, which provides a silvery shine in the low November sunlight. This plant provides interest through out the whole year, from the young leaves with their maroon spots, the dark purple flowers and now the seed heads.
…growing in front is a young Cotinus, we lost a mature one a few years ago, therefore we are looking forward to this one developing and flowering in the future.
These two ‘Grasses’ make a striking feature at the end of the pebble river in the Oriental Garden. I originally saw this plant combination when visiting The Bressingham Gardens, Nr Diss, Norfolk.
This Viburnum, in the White and Green Garden, is one of the earliest flowering shrubs in the garden. It flowers from early autumn through to late spring, and looks particularly good when there is a blue sky behind it.
Anna from the The Greentapestry was recently singing the praises of this rose, mentioning that it flowers from July to November.
Here it is in the Iris bed on the south side of the house…
…along with ‘ ‘Geoff Hamilton’, I am hoping this bud will open.
I will always have Viola’s in the garden, whether it’s the diminutive ‘Heartsease’ which I grow from seed, (it does also self seed), or ones purchased from garden centres to provide colour through out winter.
We were given two Clivia three years ago, one flowered the first year, none the next year and one, (yippie!) so far this year.
I am not sure if Number ten qualifies for a November favourite, although it is one of mine and it is in the garden. The first sighting, today, of the female Blackcap on the bird feeders. I always like to see the arrival of this aggressive little bird, she always arrives before the male and tries to defend the feeders from all comers. the down side is that it heralds the arrival of winter weather, ‘Up North’ which will eventually make its way here.
This is a picture from 2014, they are quite nervous and therefore difficult to photograph. You can see more ‘Birdie” pictures by clicking the Wildlife Category.
That is my Top Ten in Our Garden@ 19, for November, I wonder what will be around for December?