The sprouted ranunculus are ready for planting into the tunnel.  The tunnel needs a bit of a rationalise with so many self-sown seedlings pinging up everywhere, and the sweet peas I planted in there just before Christmas needing netting to grow up.  We still have a big dumpy bag of Dalefoot Compost to spread around the beds, and I will admit we still have patches of last year’s annuals to clear before seeding with the new season’s crop. 

I have pruned about half the roses, and need to get on and prune the rest while the weather is still so mild.  And then, if we have time, we plan to pollard the limes on the left of the avenue we planted fifteen years ago.  We struck whips 30ins high from Ashridge Nurseries, and now the limes are thirty feet high and almost beginning to shade out the dahlia patch.  Their zingy green leaves in spring are beautiful against the darker leaves of the hornbeam running the other side of the avenue.  I love a pollard tree: I love the fat crown of twigs and knots the pollarding process makes, creating a true Arthur Rackham home for birds and insects.

Jobs for you to do in January if you haven’t already completed them:

  • Order bare root plants from good nurseries – try the Independent Plant Nurseries Guide for a high quality plant grower near you.
  • Mulch beds with a good layer of compost to feed the beds and act as a carpet to prefect weeds.
  • Order seeds for the coming season – try Higgledy Garden for a really good selection of cut flower seed and use the code georgie15 for 15% off.
  • Order dahlias for high summer colour.  Tell your suppliers not to deliver till April or May when you can propagate or pot up and have good sized plants for planting out after the risk of frost is past.
  • Keep off the land if it’s very wet – you’ll only compact and make sludge.