Making the most of January sun

So far, January has been kind to gardeners who want to spend time outside. Each weekend has so far delivered sunny and relatively warm days. Winter in the East of England can be pretty unpredictable, so using these sunny days is essential so winter tasks can be done, especially those that benefit from less foliage. Winter offers the opportunity to get to spaces that will later be covered by new growth. Checking and repairing fence panels, planting bulbs, and mulching are more accessible activities between growing seasons.

One of the jobs we have worked on has been erecting an archway over our front gate. The plan is to use the archway to link the flowerbeds from either side of the path by growing climbing plants up them. I’ve not decided which plants yet, but getting the structure in place is good. The archway nicely frames the entrance to our property and has already received a good review from the postman. Over the past week, the archway has reminded me of how a change in height can provide visual interest by breaking up lines and drawing the eye. As I develop my garden, I will be considering height and structure more than I have been.

I’ve used the good weather to start clearing the flower beds of debris from last year and get a good look at the soil. I’ve never added any organic matter to the front garden, and the ground looks in desperate need of some help. I plan to add a good layer of compost and wood chip as a mulch. A job for a weekend later in the month.

Spending time clearing away old plants gives me the chance to spot spring plants taking their first steps. Daffodil bulbs are starting to poke their heads out of the ground offering a promise of the spring warmth to come. I’ve added many more daffodil bulbs over the last two years and have added some to the wild lawn I started last summer. I hope to have a large patch of yellow and white daffodils to bring some early colour to the front garden.

Please leave a comment if you have any flower recommendations for my front garden, both in the formal flower beds and the shaded wild area.

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