January Column: Homegrown Gardener

Published on: 04 Jan 2013

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January Column: Homegrown Gardener

We have almost reached the end of December and I have at last finished raking and piling leaves for composting. Cotoneaster

As I worked along the edges of the borders I realised how much colour was left in the garden. The most striking were the stems of the cornus alba, dogwood and the cotinus coggygria, the Chilean Smoke Bush.

The stems of the Cornus were taking on the distinctive coral red and the Cotinus leaves were a cranberry colour.

These prompted me to look elsewhere and I found  the gold and yellow of euonymous, lime green foliage of the young conifers, gold and green of elaeagnus pungens, dark leaves of the holly, background for the salmon pink of rose shoots.

This set me off on a wander around the garden to find the brown seedheads of hydrangea “Annabelle”, a few dark pink heads of seedum, red berries on the cotoneaster and the pale leaves of buddleia davidii. What a remarkable reward for a moderate amount of work!

When my wife and I  were first married we bought a house with a small garden. We planted roses at the side, and grass at the back. Very new to gardening we bought a second-hand hand mower. A lovely machine, it cut our grass in about 10 minutes. Vegetables and plants did their best but usually died.

We realised there was more to gardening than we thought.

Then we moved to our present property, which is about 10 times bigger with the accompanying amount of work!

What Is A Garden?

To one it is a piece of ground

For which some gravel must be found,

To some, those seeds that must be sown

To some a lawn that must be grown

To some a ton of Cheddar rocks;

To some it means a window box;

To some who dare not pick a flower

A man at eighteen pence an hour.

To some it is a silly jest

About the latest garden pest

To some a haven where they find

Forgetfulness and peace of mind.

There have been several articles in the gardening press itemising all the tools that are most useful. I  have been thinking about my tool kit for the garden. Obvious ones are hand shears, secateurs, pruning saw, mower.

I also have a pair of 27" loppers, a 10ft-long arm pruner, spades and forks. Also I had a wire-tined grass rake but that joined my old mower at the amenity centre. Now I can look for a new one as big as I can get.

So I shall be off soon, with all my Christmas vouchers, to scour all the garden centres and find the best offer. I hope you all enjoyed Christmas  and the new year.                

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