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Happy new year ... on the 14th January!


Apologies for not looking in to GoY since before Christmas, poor health and some sad news of a friend has kept me away from here. Today I feel a turning point has been reached and I actually managed to spend an hour or so in the garden, wonderful to be outdoors even if it was a bit chilly!

The sun shone at times, no wind was blowing and it wasn’t too cold so long as I kept moving, which I did by spreading a bag of chipped bark around the back shrubbery part of our small garden. It certainly isn’t the greatest quality and I doubt it will be bought again, but it does the job of suppressing the weeds.

In the unheated greenhouse I was not at all surprised to find some cuttings have perished, but there are still a few Penstemons, a Lacecap Hydrangea and some Spider plants, all with roots showing through the base of the pots.

It was worth lifting up each and every pot as there were a couple of small black slugs lurking, along with a snail, all of them are now enjoying being in the brown bin!

Obviously there is very little colour in the garden right now, to be expected in mid January of course, but I did find a few bright spots. Firstly, the Crabapple fruited well, but a lack of Blackbirds has meant some fruits are still hanging on.

There is one brave wild Primrose in bloom, a potted Camellia waiting for the buds to enlarge before opening and the Daphne I bought last year is also in bud but the foliage is being nibbled by a critter or two!

It is always heartening to see the foliage of Daffodils once again, along with Crocus and Snowdrops, although I seem to have just one clump of Snowdrops now.

The area where the chipped bark was spread has a few Hellebores, lots of buds on this one today.

The past few weeks have found me with a lovely jigsaw puzzle to do, completed it yesterday but I shall definitely keep it for another time as it was a delight to see the attention to detail in each of the drawings.

OH and I are still undecided about whether to replace our Summerhouse, we probably shall, and this week plan to visit a couple of places to compare prices, sizes, cost of delivery etc. before making our final decision.

I have a Rose to dig up and re-site but that’s a job for a warmer day, no doubt about February the way the weather is at the moment.

I wish you all a very happy gardening year in 2024!

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Thanks for sharing your winter garden with us Shirley … much less dismal than mine! Glad you’re feeling well enough to some gardening, and to take photos too 🙂.

14 Jan, 2024


Lovely blog! I hope you get over your problems quickly & can enjoy the early days of spring sowing some seeds for the garden during the summer.

14 Jan, 2024


Happy new year to you :-) Hardly been in garden myself , although spotted hellebore coming up didn't know I had. My Malus fruits dropped by November not even blackbirds . My primulas get eaten :( Not seen any signs of bulbs as yet . Good promising garden for you here

14 Jan, 2024


Sheila, this morning saw a frost for us, but the sun is shining now so it should thaw soon. When I do get around to some more gardening I must thin out the masses of Forget-me-nots ... definitely not for a couple of weeks though.

David, this year the sowing of seeds may give way to plug plants being grown on in the greenhouse ... :o)

Klahanie, this time of year I find it difficult to post much on GoY but things will improve as the Spring flowers begin to bloom. I hope the freezing weather doesn't cause much damage to your plants.

Hi Paul, happy new year to you too. Have you had much flooding in your part of the country? I have a relative in Nottinghamshire where it has been awful ... :o(

15 Jan, 2024


Shirley hope the New Year will be a good one for you after a rather shaky start. Take care and make the most of the calm, sunny days.
We too were out in the garden yesterday and it was lovely to feel I was doing something useful out there again!!
We have lost a Daphne which I really loved so I must replace it but it can go in a large pot this time!
Very best wishes for 2024.

15 Jan, 2024


yes Midlands has been hit badly, we are lucky as we live on a hill so never get floods here . back garden gets a good soak though

15 Jan, 2024


Loved your blog Shirley! Very cold here too and can't wait for the warmer weather.
My crab apple is the same as yours as I only have one resident blackbird.
Best wishes to you and hope it is a healthy and good gardening year for you! xx

15 Jan, 2024


Nice to hear about your garden Shirley. I hope you find a suitable summerhouse.

16 Jan, 2024


Chris, minus five here today and we have had the front porch door open for hoses as a carpet and upholstery cleaned today. If I had known how cold it was going to be I would have booked it for another day! I hope you find a lovely Daphne soon.

Paul, the advantage of living on a hill .. stay safe and warm.

Thanks Rose, by the way I did buy some Rootgrow to use when I re-site a Rose, no hope of doing that until it warms up a bit though. The Blackbirds have deserted us since the neighbours chopped the huge Bay tree where the birds used to nest ... :o(

Hywel, we looked at a couple of Summerhouses yesterday and think we have found a good one. The company deliver and erect the building for a reasonable cost ... watch this space!

16 Jan, 2024


Glad to hear you're on the up, Shirley. We have very few blackbirds, but plenty of other contenders for the feeders. The crows line up in next door's cherry tree for our scraps as soon as it gets light. And the fat balls get a real hammering by one and all.
I'm impressed with your care in the g'house. I ran in this morning, splashed some water about in ours and ran straight out again without a backward glance. Too cold to deal with hellebore leaves too! I simply haven't woken up to the joys of the garden yet and wonder when/if I will.... I look forward to seeing your new summerhouse in situ.

16 Jan, 2024


Ooo new summerhouse, now that's truly something to look forward to!
My green house is a desert compared with yours, Shirley. When I bought the house a bramley apple tree grew so close to the greenhouse that, no matter how hard I tried to keep it pruned back, it would extend branches over the greenhouse roof each year and drop apples through the glass. So I tried replacing the glass with polycarbonate sheeting, with little success. Eventually I had the bramley removed (I replaced it with a sapling which i am training to grow against the garage wall) but the wind still manages to lift the polycarb sheets off the roof, if I am lucky they land in the garden and i try refitting them with even more glazing clips! At the moment it needs just one panel refitting and is bereft of plants. However I found today that B&Q have seed potatoes in stock so I shall refit the glazing and plant up some bags of first earlies in there. I intend to sow some trays of seeds in there too when the temperature is more favourable.

16 Jan, 2024


Ange, I was well wrapped up against the cold that day and I know from past experience that slugs and snails love being in the greenhouse, grr!
I stopped putting fat balls out when a Fox was coming in to the garden at night as he was seen nibbling at the fallen bits on the ground. The only food for our garden birds now are Sunflower Hearts which are now quite expensive. The Goldfinches, Robins and Sparrows enjoy them, and we love to watch them!

17 Jan, 2024


Xela, our previous Summerhouse was damaged in a storm late last year (see my blog about it) and was demolished, leaving us with an unattractive view of the back of a neighbour's garage and a small shed! We decided to replace it as it served us well over the years, good place to relax with a cuppa and a crossword.

I have a small greenhouse with polycarb panels, one blew out a couple of weeks ago, found it in neighbour's garden and OH popped it back in place. I used to grow tomatoes in mine, grow seeds and pot up cuttings but this year it will just be for bulbs, cuttings and plug plants to be grown on.

Good luck with the seed potatoes.

17 Jan, 2024

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