The Grizzly Gardener: A Furtile Imagination

P1240840-1600Okay, Geoff has badgered me enough to do this, so here goes. I like to garden and to grow plants, I have a 40m2 southwest facing garden in Pocklington, and right now it looks a little bit barren and empty.

That’s because most things are either in pots in the house, garage or conservatory or have been chopped to ground level.   I like to grow out of the ordinary (…..but legal!) versions of plants you can buy anywhere. For 2015 I want to do something slightly different in the garden and just grow things that have big (….like mahoosive) leaves and create something of a jungle effect if I can. Hopefully over a few blogs I’ll tell you what I’m doing with a fair bit of what you should be doing in your garden included too!

Japanese Razor Hoe-1600Just when you thought there was nothing to do outside, get a fleece on and go and tidy the borders up. There’ll still be some weeds setting seeds even now. Just have in your mind when you spot a weed and can’t be bothered to pull it out, “one year’s seeds means seven year’s weeds”. Think about all those weeds you’re going to get in that corner of your garden now Geoff! For a truly amazing weed getter-outer, get a Burgon and Ball Japanese Razor Hoe, £12.95 on Amazon – bloody brilliant!

Anything not too woody that will rot, put onto the compost heap or bin. If you don’t have one, you should. Don’t worry if you pile it up, it’ll soon rot down and it’ll make a nice place for all the hibernating bugs and grubs to lie up. Keep an eye out where you put your feet though, there are already snowdrops and spring bulbs poking through.

Snowdrop-1600Next, go to B & Q (other DIY stores are available) and buy some horse manure, as much as you can and larrup it on the borders. Failing that, if you can see any grow-bags going cheap, get them instead, or do both! The more you put out now, the better although I’ve only just seen this horse manure in B & Q so don’t blame me if you end up with a fine crop of nettles, buttercups and docks next summer. I buy 4 at a time and create a half inch layer on the beds. It’ll help supress weeds and improve the soil structure no end plus it will make a nice backdrop for the spring bulbs and no, it doesn’t smell.

There’s not a lot else more to do outside right now but if you have anything like a magnolia or camellia, try to protect the buds from the harshest frosts if you can. With camellias, it’s the morning sun and rapid thawing of the frosted buds that does them in but they won’t be stirring for a while. Use that fleecy stuff or an old, but not too heavy bed sheet to cover them if real stonking frosts are forecast. If you’ve got ceramic pots outside they might freeze and crack so either empty them or drag them into the garage and you too can have a garage that looks like mine.

All that remains to do now is stay warm and start looking for the first signs of growth. If you get things right, with things like aconites, primroses, spring bulbs and anenomes in the garden you should be able to have at least one flower in the garden every day of the year. All the photos in this blog were taken in December 2014.

Viburnum x Bodnatense-1600One winter plant that is worth looking out for in the garden centres right now is the deciduous shrub Viburnum x bodnantense. It will push out a few flowers every day through the winter and has a great scent that gets stronger in the evening, just as you come home from work. Plant it near to a door you use in the winter, or if it’s too cold to plant out, just keep it in the pot until the Spring and enjoy its winter fragrance.

There are hellebores already hitting the garden centres. These are fantastic plants. More about them later but wait and buy plants in flower then you can select the ones you like.

Hellebore (3)-1600Right, time for me to start hunting down those big leaved plants that I’ve noted down in my list.   Nothing special – cannas, bananas, castor oil plants, dahlias, hostas, you know all of those types of plant……but wait until you see how they grow!

Does anyone know where I might find a Spodiopogon sibiricus please?

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