January jobs

I’m often asked: “what is the best time of year to makeover my garden?” and the answer is anytime you like.. there is no time like the present!

And what better time than January, it’s a new year, a new start and there’s still plenty of time to prepare the garden for summer glory.

Having recently embarked upon a new maintenance/rejuvenation project with one of our clients I thought I’d share with you some of the tasks we are undertaking. Anyone can have a go at these jobs and start transforming their garden. We believe that by starting early in the year, you can kickstart your 2019 garden maintenance routine and fall in love with your garden again.

Firstly cut back all that dead foliage and clear up all those leaves, it might be back breaking but it’s very satisfying and a good way to make visual progress at this time of year. Remember to compost herbaceous waste, it’ll make great mulch next year!

Mixed border before annual clearance

Mixed border after a cut back & weed. Note: Penstemon don’t get cut back until winter frosts are over.

If you have Hellebores start cutting back (and disposing of) the leaves, this not only reveals a gorgeous army of flowers underneath, it also prevents fungal leaf spot, which Hellebores are particularly susceptible to. My advice would be to burn the foliage to make sure the fungus isn’t introduced into your compost

Cutting back hellebore leaves

Hellebore flowers revealed

By now, Wisterias should have dropped all of their leaves so you can easily see the buds. Prune back stems to the second or third bud and remove any dead, damaged or diseased wood.

Wisteria before winter prune

Wisteria after winter prune

Now get some heavy duty gloves and prune those roses, the harsher the better. Trust me, they’ll thank you for it. Don’t be frightened, just remember to make an angled cut above an outward-facing bud and you’ll do no harm.

Shrub maintenance is also a lot easier at this time of year, less foliage means you can see what you’re working with. I always start with the three d’s: dead, damaged, diseased. If any of the above apply, get rid. Then take out a third of old stems at the base if the plant is becoming overcrowded. I find the best tools for dealing with shrubs are extendable loppers and a pruning saw.

Viburnum x bodnantense getting some attention

You’ll be amazed at how much rubbish even the smallest of gardens produces. My favourite methods of waste disposal are composting (anything soft/herbaceous) and burning (anything woody/pernicious) but if you don’t have the space or means for this there’s always green waste collection or a good old trip to the tip!

If you have any questions about January jobs, or any other gardening-related queries, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me on twitter @emmysheltonhort

Happy gardening!

Gardens Restore our Wellbeing

Happy New Year to you all, and a massive thank you to everyone who follows Applewhite Garden Design on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

We are doing something a bit different this year…

At the beginning of 2018, Emmy and I explored the idea of creating a garden in Grantham Hospital. I’m sure you will agree, our hospital grounds are gloomy, depressing and uninviting and in much need of some TLC.

Naively we thought we could draw up a design, employ a contractor and hey presto! Ward 6 would have a garden…

It didn’t quite work like that. Understandably the NHS has a ton of protocol and red tape to wade through, with health and safety issues at the forefront. However, after a lot of perseverance we should have the go-ahead to start the project within a few months.

Having received so much positive feedback about the concept we decided to roll the idea out to all Lincolnshire hospitals. In order to facilitate this we need to raise substantial funds. Consequently we have set up the charity G.R.O.W. Gardens Restore Our Wellbeing.

Applewhite Garden Design has completed the pioneering design, but we need to raise money to pay for the groundworks, landscaping and materials.

The bank account should be set up by the end of February so we can start raising funds after that.

If any of you have groups, clubs or gatherings that you would like us to talk to, we would very much welcome the opportunity to explain the charity and the progress we are making.

Visit growcharity.co.uk and follow @GROW_charity to keep up to date with the latest developments. Join us in helping to make a difference.