You would expect January to be a quiet month for a gardener but there is plenty to be getting on with! Firstly, we jet-washed all of the hard surfaces. We then dug a new bed towards the rear of the garden. This bed was originally dedicated to wild flowers, but over the years the grass has taken over and the area has been left to its own devices. In 2016 we intend to re-introduce wild flowers and whilst there is less to do elsewhere in the garden, now is the perfect time to prepare the area. We then added a 3 inch layer of peat free composted stable manure (as a mulch) to all of the flower beds. You may ask why we don't dig the manure into the soil? Well, by laying the mulch in winter it not only acts as a weed suppressant, but it also gives worms the time to work the manure into the soil for you! Once the worms have done their job the manure will improve the soil structure and provide the plants with a nutritious growing medium. Our last job of the month was to prune the wisteria on the pergola. Last year the wisteria was intertwined with a beautiful climbing rose. Unfortunately, the garden has had a recent infestation of Honey Fungus and last year the rose was infected and died. Since then we have removed the dead rose and been left with a rather sorry looking wisteria in need of a fairly drastic prune. At this time of year I would normally prune back the long wispy shoots of the wisteria to 2-3 buds and leave any flowering spurs, but in order to get the wisteria back into shape we had to remove a fair amount of crossing branches and in doing so lose some flower buds. However, I'm sure this years sacrifice will prove to be next years bounty.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!