Thursday, December 7, 2023

Guest Column: Winter Gardening Advice

It’s the end of January, 5 weeks past Christmas and the shortest day. Looking out of my window at the mist and grey clouds, my eye rests on the beautiful Witch Hazel which is in full flower.

It’s an amazing shrub for this time of year, just like the golden Mahonia; these two shrubs light up the dullness of a January garden and can look amazing with frost or snow on them, as can be seen in the 2 photos taken a couple of winters ago in my garden:

Whilst frost, soggy lawns and cold weather aren’t exactly inviting us out into our gardens, this time of year is perfect for armchair gardening. It’s time to start dreaming and planning. The days are getting longer, spring bulbs are beginning to peek their heads out of the winter soil and there are many signs of buds on early trees and shrubs.  It will soon be time to start weeding, turning the soil, pruning and mulching; gardening in its full swing. But, in the meantime, we can relax in our warm homes and with some pen and paper and a few colourful catalogues, start planning. Do we need to change anything in the garden? Which plants weren’t doing well last summer – do they need to be moved, divided or even chucked onto the compost? Are there bare patches which need to be filled? Shall we replace some of the ornamentals with beautiful edible plants?

How about deciding this year to share your love of gardening with other enthusiasts and open your garden for the Belper Open Gardens? It is a wonderful weekend on many fronts. We get to share our love of gardening with some delightful visitors who come from far and wide. They love to get ideas for their own gardens by visiting other people’s gardens of all shapes, sizes and styles. This is an excellent opportunity to invite visitors from all over the UK to get to know Belper whilst raising much needed funds for our local charities and community groups. I have been opening my garden for a variety of charity events for about 8 years now and we have never had any unpleasantness. Most visitors are delightful – they are respectful of the garden and the hosts and love to share their own gardening stories and experiences.

So, please do consider joining us and open your garden. The dates this year are 1st and 2nd July. For further information, see the poster here.

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