Saturday, 9 February 2013

Pruning, tidying and getting the garden ready

The snow has long gone (touch wood) but it still isn't gardening weather. It's been in turn freezing cold or raining and today it's cold and rainy.

Last weekend I did manage to get a couple of hours in the garden and the main job was pruning the border at the back of the garden. I'm still an amateur at pruning and keep having to check pruning guides because I'm terrified of doing permanent damage.

This is the border last year, it was really lovely but slightly overgrown.

And this is what it looked like before I decided to take a machete to last weekend. Okay, a pair of secateurs but a machete would have been much more effective.

At the back of the border is a humongous honeysuckle which got completely out of control last year and was growing through everything on that border. The previous owners of this house must have liked honeysuckles because there are three of them in this modest garden, and last year they were all huge. I've already cut back one of them quite drastically, and decided to do the same with this one.

To the left of the photo is the flowering nutmeg which I'd already started pruning before I took the photo. And on the right is a choisya.

And this is the border after a couple of hours work. It looks a bit drastic.

I basically gave the choisya a haircut while still trying to keep some shape. The honeysuckle was rampant and I was tempted to remove it completely but I might see how it behaves this summer and review it next year. And the flowering nutmeg looks very stark and I was really unsure about whether I'd been too brutal but when I checked online the advice was to cut it down even more. I'm a bit nervous about that one as it was one of my favourites in the garden last year. Does anyone else have one? How do you prune it?

There are also two overgrown buddleias that need to be cut right back, I'm a bit more confident with those as my ex-husband was very fond of them and we had about eight in our old garden. It's a bit of a love-hate relationship because although I like them, they remind me of happier times in the old house.

I did a bit of tidying in the curved flower bed, especially around the hellebores which still had some of last years leaves, so they were tidied away exposing the beautiful flowers even more so.

I'm also on a bit of a crusade to get more wildlife into the garden. Our old garden was always full of birds but this one isn't, so I've been putting out different types of bird food and have moved my bird table into a new position. It's only been in the garden since December (it was a birthday present from my ex-mother-in-law) but I think it was too near the house. I moved it nearer to the trees at the back.

I hung this new wicket birdhouse on one of the smaller trees. I found this is TKMaxx on the reduced shelf so I snapped it up right away. I love the look of it, it blends in so well.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for better weather because I'm itching to get back out, there's so much to do and so many signs of growth. I never thought I'd be so enthusiastic about weeding and tidying the garden.

What are your plans for your garden this year?