Ursula's Cambridge Garden

Professional gardener and plantswoman writing from my small urban garden in a great city


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January 2020 projects

Happy New gardening Year!  It’s been a busy January so far!

Work is progressing well at my new client’s garden – now in my fifth month of working there.  The garden is very stylish, already laid out and planted to a very contemporary design, with lots of yew hedging, lavender, grasses and strong use of mass plantings of silver birch.

Before Christmas is was non stop tidying, cutting back and trimming of hedges and perennials.    This generated a lot of debri, still being slowly cleared.  Here is some of the detritis –

Now we are progressing onto new planting, adding more seasonal succession to the established matrix of plants – more perennials and later, more bulbs.

In the front garden I have started to plant good stalwart evergreen shrubs, known toughies that will last and last (Viburnum tinus, Viburnum davidii, Holly, Bay, Pyracantha, Pittisporum etc.) to a native deciduous hedge line which is a bit bare in the winter.  This also means more shrubs in a garden where there are at present too few shrubs.

First session setting out….

Second session…

Almost there – just one end section still to go….

At another client’s garden the front garden main bed has been much improved since I found it in Autumn 2018 like this….

All the unhappy conifers were removed, and a year later in September 2019 it looked like this – lots of lovely evergreen repetition (Sarcoccoa, Euphorbias) with Salvias, Hebes and Caryopteris in a colour scheme of blues and yellows.

And now this month I planted up the first of a collection of pots to ‘adorn’ (disguise and cover up!) the old man hole cover over a deep drain pipe.  Inspired by Great Dixter’s pot collection I have planted up with Agapanthus, Achillea and assorted bulbs in blue and yellows to make a virtue out of an obstacle that obviously could not be removed from the bed.

At the same garden there is a vast circle bed which is pretty stunning in the Autumn, with huge Viburnum opulus, Cotinus and Forsythias running wild for many a long year to spectacular effect.

But now it is time to take these shrubs in hand, and the client wishes to be able to walk through the centre of the bed, so this month I am tackling the task.

Session one….

It’s a start but still a way to go, watch this space!

Meanwhile in my own garden my witch hazel flowered well in it’s big pot…

And my mass bulb planting last Autumn (in pots, otherwise my cat digs them all up in the beds!) is paying dividends now -Iris reticulata and snowdrops are out, and others on the way.

There is truly no such thing as a dull moment in gardening!