Six on Saturday

I’m beginning to feel some sympathy for the long lasting month of January.  Maligned in the old song ‘January, you’ve been hanging on me’ I’ve come round to thinking it does have much to offer.  My hands are cold as I’ve just come in from completing what is the first of my sixes.  Yes, I have been in the garden this week and here’s what I found.



This morning’s main job was to prune the grapevine.  It produce grapes which inevitably split just as they seem to be ripening so I’ve come to accept that its main role is to shade the pergola.  This is my second year of pruning it (I’m in a new garden if you are new to this six) and I’m getting bolder.  This time I cut out a whole branch on the grounds that it was very clearly crossing.  Otherwise I restricted myself to cutting back to one or two buds, which were clearly  visible.  I think I did this job just in time.  The tree in the background is my neighbour’s enviable willow.



January is the month for pruning some types of fruit trees.  Earlier on I pruned the Persimmon tree and this week it was the turn of the apples and figs.  The smaller ones I did myself but I called in the professionals for the large fig and a large apple tree both of which had got to a height that had defeated me and my ladder. Which is not actually that great a height.  This photo is the apple tree after the prune.  It is much lighter, but I think the reshaping will take a year or two.



I recently spotted a bargain buy of 6 helleborus niger and they arrived mid week after a deluge of rain.  The lawn was sodden and the heavy clay soil of the borders was sticky and uninviting but in they went.  The seem to have settled very well. There’s also a bit of colour from some primroses.  I prefer the yellow common primrose but these are staying in for the moment.  Just behind you can see the first of the daffodils pushing through.



January is also the month when the first snowdrops appear.  Mine, planted in the green last year, are now getting into their stride, edging the line of small apple trees.



So despite the cold, windy and wet weather that we have had recently the garden is waking up.  Today I also spotted the first new shoots of the lovely magenta phlox that is dotted around the back border.  I can’t wait for these to be in flower again.  But first I’ll need to cut out last year’s dead stems.



Finally, a rosebud.  It may not make it into a fully formed flower if the rain and cold weather continue but it is another cheering sign that the seasons are changing.

Yes. It’s a thumbs up for the end of January at least.  For more news and views from the other sixer gardens stop  by The Propagator’s blog for links to the posts for this Saturday.


12 thoughts on “Six on Saturday

  1. Wow !… also surprised by this rose bud! My last roses are calm but nothing new apart from new leaf buds to come. Otherwise for my grapevine I cut to 3 buds each stem that didn’t give fruit last summer and the whole stem if I had fruit on it


  2. Thanks for the reminder – I’d totally forgotten about pruning the grape vine! Like yours, mine is essentially providing shade. I’ve only once managed to eat a single grape; usually the blackbirds get them just as they’re about to ripen. I wonder was your bargain six the same as my bargain six of Helebores from T&M.


    • Mine came from garden express. They still seem to have so much at sale prices. The plants arrived a little topsy turvey but they seem ok now. First time I’d used them. I seem to remember they have a sarcococca that maybe I could put in a pot until I find the right place….


  3. Sounds like you’ve been very productive w/the pruning this month. The apple looks really good, as does the grape vine. That pergola will be a smashing place to sit this summer & enjoy all the hard work you’ve done in this miserable weather. Loved the daffs – the very image of spring coming.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That apple tree looks like it could have been brought down a bit more. They are surprisingly cooperative with pruning. The arborist may want to get more low growth for a year before bringing the upper growth down.


  5. Nothing wrong with a grapevine to shade the pergola. That’s what mine does really, until i can be ruthless enough with the pruning. It’s hard to convince myself to take out enough fruit to ensure the remainder get a good size. Maybe this year. I also have a couple of rosebuds, though they look totally dishevelled in comparison to your lovely specimen. Rosebuds in January – crazy. They’re thinking of flowering and I’m thinking of pruning them right back to start a new year!


    • Yes, pruning the Rose was my dilemma. I did prune this one in late December as it had small buds on it then that I thought would come to nothing. I’ll be pruning my other roses in the next week or so.


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