End of month view – January 2017


The weather forecast had promised a bit of brightness but I gave up waiting and took a few dull shots. It was raining soon after, and still is.

The garden is down to its bare bones at this time of year and a comparison with the picture I took a year ago shows very few changes. Almost too few, few enough to get me asking myself if it has become too static. A couple of sizeable woody plants have gone, I really don’t miss them; which suggests I’d have to get brutal to make an obvious difference.

As usual, the dead leaves of Hakonechloa are the brightest thing in the garden. I’ve cut down most of them, they’d been fairly well trashed by the cats jumping in them. Other than that it’s down to the evergreens. Pittosporum ‘Elizabeth’ on the right is so good we’ve planted another. The tree at the left is Ligustrum ‘Excelsum Superbum’, which looks really good all winter then tatty in spring until it has grown new leaves.

I wired the fastigiated yew in this year as it was losing its shape. It’s about 14 feet tall now, which is not a good height to be trying to get a loop of wire around it. Looks better for it though and the narrower I can keep it the longer it can stay. The other conifer is the ironically named Lawson cypress ‘Little Spire’.


Looking back the other way it is clear that my Schefflera taiwaniana is going to make taking this shot from the same place impossible in a couple of years. The deciduous tree just right of centre is Magnolia Heaven Scent, below it Camellia ‘Bob Hope’. The prominent grass is Chionochloa rubra.

On a smaller scale I have snowdrops flowering. I like snowdrops could never become a fanatic. Mine are doubles, I don’t know their name. If I didn’t keep inadvertently digging them up they’d be doing rather better. I have some nice Cyclamen coums still in pots and needing planting. The two double Hellebores I bought last year are back, which is good, and not entirely healthy looking, which is bad.


Looking slightly battered, such that most of its flower display is on the ground, is my Camellia ‘Minato-no-akebono’. I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with Camellias; unhealthy because there are an awful lot of them, they grow large and I have a pretty small garden. It does force a high level of selectivity on me though and Minato is a very pretty single with lovely scent. I don’t mean the somewhat heavy oily scent of the sasanquas, this is a light and fresh true perfume. When it has finished flowering the new growth will be bright red for a couple of months. It’s a cracker.



As ever, my motivation to put finger to keyboard is to be part of the Patient Gardener’s end of month meme where there will be links to other participants.



6 thoughts on “End of month view – January 2017

  1. Lots of colour and interest despite it being January. I plant my snowdrops around the base of shrubs and perennials where I am unlikely to dig, although of course this doesn’t prevent me changing my mind about where shrubs and perennials are planted. You could square off the top of the conifer to make it more architectural and keep it under control


    1. I’m reluctant to take the top off the yew because I don’t want it getting any wider. The fastigiate forms are tricky to keep narrow because all the branches are vertical; if I took 3 inches off all round there would be almost nothing left. You’re right about the snowdrops; they were around a tree which is no longer there. I should have moved them when I got rid of the tree and stated growing dahlias instead.


  2. Your garden looks interesting with lots of corners and curves to make it a garden to travel through rather than see from one spot, which I like. Should should be able to keep the Yew to the size and shape you want quite easily with pruning.


    1. The autumn/winter flowering camellias, usually called sasanquas, have an aroma, somewhat oily to my mind. The varieties that are japonica x lutchuensis hybrids have a real perfume. Not widely available unfortunately.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for the info Jim. I shall now go about sniffing at the camellias. Scent is so welcome in the winter. All the best. Karen


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