Greenfingers - January 2020

I’ve been drawing up my list for Santa. At the top is a polite request for a big bag of excuses, each to be drawn at random as the need arises. The first one covers the lack of tidiness in the flowerbeds, which is ‘to help overwintering wildlife’, but I’m struggling to find a satisfactory one for not clearing the pond during the autumn – too wet?,…too deep?.... 

However, the apple trees and vines have been pruned, and the roses will be next. The old hellebore leaves will be removed to allow the early spring flowers to be seen, and the same applies to any clumps of epimedium, whose delicate flowers are often covered by the last seasons’ leaves. 

Check on Christmas bulbs and any cuttings made during the autumn. The treated hyacinths I planted in early October for Christmas seem to be at different stages of growth, though they’ve all seen the same conditions. Remove any cuttings which have died off, and check for pests amongst the tender plants brought into the greenhouse for the winter. This applies to a tender salvia and a couple of abutilon plants amongst others.  The citrus which have been brought indoors are also inspected for scale insect regularly. 


I considered including a photo showing a taste of summer, but thought better of it. Enjoy the snow, while it lasts. And thumb through the gardening catalogues to plan for the coming season, possibly in the company of a glass of something warming. 

There’s another chance to see a conjunction between a 3 day old moon and Venus on 29th Dec, again shortly after sunset, and on 10th January 2020 the full moon passes through the outer edge of the earth’s shadow, producing a penumbral eclipse, so may look a little darker than normal. 

Pete Smith