So far January has been a month of two halves, the first two weeks were positively balmy with temperatures well into the teens and unusually for my part of the fens, there was hardly a breath of wind. It was a pleasure to get out and do a bit of hard physical work after a long Christmas break. The warm start to the year has meant I’ve already done my winter digging and I’ve also just managed to top the beds and borders with a good layer of mulch to trap the warmth in the soil.
I love this garden but it’s definitely the windiest garden I’ve ever worked in. Over the years I’ve gardened in a several different locations, from the warmth of a sheltered South London garden to the countryside of highland Aberdeenshire, where frosts could strike as late as June, plus 20 years in a tiny Yorkshire garden with a very stony allotment.
Now I’m in the Fens where extremes of weather aren’t normally expected. But yesterday, just up the road in Norfolk, a huge amount of snow fell and over 60 schools were closed. My garden has had a few centimetres of the white stuff and the forecast says there’s more to come at the weekend. It should be pretty to wake up to a blanket of snow on Saturday morning...
The positive thing about a covering of snow is it lets you see the bare bones of the garden; where the ‘height’ is and what could be improved to get a better balance to the space. It also shows up where the wildlife goes. Cats, birds and mice are obvious by their tracks and in rural areas it shows up pests such as muntjac and bunnies, a chance to mend fences maybe before they feast on any greenery. One year in Scotland the rabbits ate every rose that poked its head above the snow. Amazingly the roses loved the impromptu pruning and came back good as new that summer, but I’m not chancing it, chicken wire is at the ready if I spot any rabbit tracks on Saturday!