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Notes From a Small Garden


At last the rain has ceased and we can get on with tidying and preparing the ground for the coming season. We have planted out peas (Pilot) which have been growing in 3 inch pots. They should have been put out in November.


We have started a few tomatoes (Red Alert –


cherry early ripening) and melons (a variety called Outdoor Wonder from Thompson and Morgan) in the airing cupboard. They need to be looked at every day and as soon as they germinate they will be removed and planted on a prepared seed tray and covered lightly with sifted compost. They will need to be grown-on in a warm light place.


If the weather is mild towards the end of February, we will plant outside lettuce, potatoes and carrots and keep some fleece handy to cover them in any cold weather.


Julie has been admiring her gardener’s work this week. Who this person is is a great secret, as she is the most perfect gardening partner to have when you are disabled. Most of the garden is clear of weeds, the shrubs and plants cut back and for the first time in 35 years all the beds plus the potager have had compost spread over them: a sight which warms the heart on a cold January day!


Julie was out in the garden picking flowers/leaves for the house and for her cousin who has a lovely garden in Elmdon. Our mothers were first cousins and must have a common gene for gardening which they passed on to us. The winter-flowering honeysuckle, lonicera fragrantissima must have first prize – the scent is wonderfully overpowering; prunus autumnalis comes next (there is a beautiful tree at the Dumb Flea, now more than 30 years old and she would be devastated if she ever lost it); the winter box, sarcococcus humilis a very robust shrub, which she discovered this year likes to be cut back and is less easy to get growing, sarcococcus hookeriana, slimmer and altogether more elegant sister, and of course winter flowering jasmine, rosemary and the snowdrops and aconites which open most appealingly when you bring them into the house.


But alas one shrub is missing. Julie’s mahonia died and she forgot to replace it – so she has to content herself with seeing her next door neighbour’s plant out of the bathroom window. 6


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