Scottish garden in January

January25

winter garrya ellipticaIt’s January again in our part of Scotland, but the suspended, withered state of the garden doesn’t bother me as much this year, for some reason. Maybe because, unlike the state of the world, I know the garden will get through this dark, cold time, without fail.

This morning there is a scouring wind that’s shaking the absurdly tall stalks of last year’s delphiniums and the strappy brown leaves of the dead crocosmia, which are, I think, the only debris that really irritates me. I hate crocosmia out of all proportion: its invasive rhizomes, its cocky orange flowers.

Maybe I’ve just gone off orange.

Can’t think why.

But apart from those dead crocosmia, which I swear I will yank out today, I don’t mind seeing the dead pieces of last autumn’s perennials shake in the breeze. I know this means they’ll snap off with an easy crack, so I can do a quick bit of tidying as I pass through the garden without needing to run in for my clippers.

I have a fantastic garrya elliptica I inherited which you can see in the top right of the photo above: its white tassels catch the breeze, like a wintry weeping willow.

January 2017 is a difficult time for any thinking person on this planet, not just the 5 million who marched last week. But I’ve decided to take my cue from my resurging garden, and my absolute faith in it. It will get through this, and so will we. Yes, a tyrant is trying to hold hostage the country that raised me. But we live in a time when collective action has never been more possible, or more powerful.

We will hold him accountable. And we will be unstoppable: a force of nature.

I am hopeful. Because spring is coming.

What reasons to be cheerful do you see in your garden?

To keep in closer touch with what I’m up to, I’m tweeting at @sheilamaverbuch most days, and I’m also on Facebook and Instagram as @sheilamaverbuch, where I post pictures of my garden with greater regularity. Please come say hello!

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Iris reticulata come fast and disappear even faster

March21

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I almost didn’t bother taking this photograph. The cluster of iris reticulata outside my back door was a miracle the day it first bloomed, but almost immediately I began taking it for granted, rushing past on my way to something more important.

Today I noticed it’s faded utterly, and the chionodoxa are out instead. Spring goes fast — it’s right there in the name, I guess. Take photos while ye may!

This photo shows the iris with the Siberian dogwood Cornus alba ‘Sibirica.’ Not just the colour, but the texture of its stems with those corky spots, is intriguing to me.

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What’s out in your garden this weather?

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SWG003 Mid February in a Scottish cottage garden

February21

Phlox stolonifera Blue Ridge large

Welcome to the latest Stopwatch Gardener podcast, where I take a mid-February walk around the garden. In this episode I’m looking at a creeping phlox, dreaming of meconopsis, and announcing my 2014 Rare Plants for Rare Disease Research fundraiser for neuroacanthocytosis patients. There’s a link to subscribe to this audio podcast at the bottom of this blog, or you can sign up in the margin here to get an e-mail alert whenever I publish a new episode.

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SWG002 Early February in a Scottish cottage garden

February6

Galanthus Nivalis flore pleno

Welcome to the latest Stopwatch Gardener podcast, where I take a sunny February walk around the garden. If you use iTunes, there’s a link to subscribe at the bottom of this blog, or you can sign up in the margin here to get an e-mail alert whenever I publish a new episode.

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How I forced hyacinths in time for Christmas

December21

forced hyacinths

This is the first year I have managed to force sweetly scented hyacinths in time for Christmas. Here’s how I did it:

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