COLUMN: Still plenty of gardening to do in rainy season

Kathy Fairweather in her Award Winning Garden.
Kathy Fairweather in her Award Winning Garden.
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By Kathy Fairweather

Welcome to our new column – gardening news from across Belper. I will be sharing gardening tips and news from our newly formed Belper Gardening Club every six weeks. For details about the club, please ring Kathy 07779412702.The beginning of 2014 has been a rather dismal one where the weather is concerned. I have heard many gardeners bemoaning the fact that they can’t do much in their gardens. Whilst it’s true that we can’t get out there in the incessant rain and wind, there is still much we can do and enjoy. I recently came across this inspiring quote: “Anyone who believes gardening begins in spring and ends in the autumn is missing the best part of the whole year; for gardening begins in January with the dream.” How true – planning can often be as exciting as the actual event. It is the visualisation and planning of summer colour, fresh fruit and vegetables, abundance of wildlife and a cup of tea at the end of the day in the garden that keeps me going! I am busy pouring over seed and plants catalogues; washing pots and seed trays; ordering nematodes for pest control; planning the vegetable garden and its growing rotation and looking after the greenhouse. Talking of the greenhouse, do ensure you give it a good airing on days when the sun is out, to help reduce fungus and disease.On the days that you can get out into the garden, there are a number of jobs that need to be done this month. Pruning non-stone fruit trees, vines, Wisteria, deciduous shrubs and perennials are best done at this time of year. In gardens where slugs and snails are a problem, rake as many of the leaves up as you can to prevent these creatures from hibernating in the leaf piles; use the leaves to make leafmould. Remove all the leaves from Hellebores so that you can enjoy their delightful flowers which are usually hidden underneath. Do also take time to stroll around a garden, be it yours, or one open to the public to enjoy the slow awaking of nature. When the rain stops, I often make a cup of coffee and take a leisurely walk around the garden, at any time of year; there is always something to see. At the moment, there are snow drops unfurling their heads, daffodils in various stages of development, swelling buds on most of the shrubs and trees. The Witchazel is in full bloom and the Mahonia is just shedding its flowers. Many of the Clematis’ leaves have already unfurled and the bluebells are poking theirs through. There are a number of big gardens in Derbyshire which open to the public to show off their delightful snowdrops, so do go out and start dreaming of a gardening summe