Here’s a copy of my gardening column from the January issue of Eastlife Magazine, which is a fabulous magazine all about ‘Living life in the East’.  The full version of the magazine can be viewed online at www.eastlife.co.uk

IMG_7821February is a bit of a marmite month; you either love it or loathe it.  On one side there is the feeling that the winter will never end, yet pop on your positive hat and we’re actually through the worst of it.  Or let’s hope we are …

There are glimmers of hope in the garden.  Those tiny little snowdrop bulbs I painstakingly planted back in the autumn are now rewarding my efforts, with their bright white heads dancing in the breeze.  As the Betula utilis Jaquemontii they have been planted beneath are too young to have developed their trademark silver bark, the snowdrops are a welcome beacon; the bare branches of the ‘glade’ are somewhat lost against the green grass for now.

I also salvaged a few Helleborous from one of the borders we were closing down.  They were being suffocated by the heavy clay and perked up no end once transferred to a position under one of our willow trees, an area which had been freshly dug over with plenty of organic matter added.  Having trimmed their foliage back to give the roots the maximum chance of settling in, they are now happily flowering.  Helleborous niger is particularly striking and co-ordinates well with snowdrops.  As a little tip, now is a good time to trim back last year’s foliage so you can showcase the flowers.  This will also encourage new, vibrant leaves giving the plants a new lease of life once it has finished flowering.

If your garden is lacking a bit of late winter/early spring colour, consider adding an evergreen Camelia japonica ‘Elegans’.  This stunning, bright pink camellia is guaranteed to brighten up even the bleakest of days.  In a sheltered spot, the shiny deep green foliage creates a fabulous backdrop for herbaceous planting later in the season.  Alternatively, if you have a tired old fence or wall that is crying out for a climber, why not head to your local garden centre for a Jasminum nudiflorum, more commonly referred to as Winter Jasmine.  Adorned with bright yellow flowers, it’s a real show-stopper at this time of year.

The latest copy of EastLife magazine can be viewed online at www.eastlife.co.uk

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