Autumn, that lovely season of stillness, peace and. . . rain. And winter the season of. . . oh, rain - lots and lots of rain! Boo.
Well after last years' snow everyone wanted to prepare for the worst this year so I spent a lot of my time insulating greenhouses and bringing tender perennials under cover by the barrow-full! However, all that zealous preparation may have been a little extreme as we've actually seen very few frosts this winter. Having said that, those tender plants wouldn't have survived even those.
Winter started well with some crisp, dry days which meant that I could get all the serious winter pruning underway. It also meant that I could do some long overdue structural work for another of my clients, including the removal of and old, decrepit trellis. This involved extricating it from a rather wild climbing rose that was all that was actually holding it up. The rose contained an awful lot of dead stems and wood so I decided to prune all that out and cut the remaining stems down to below wall level so that they wouldn't be damaged when the new trellis is installed - I know the client was feeling extremely exposed! Unfortunately I also had to prune the Lavatera (which shouldn't really be done until spring) as it got damaged when the trellis finally gave up the good fight and collapsed. The Lavatera has a vigorous growth habit (3m in a year) and is well established so it will survive. Hopefully this year will see the installation of the new trellis and lots of lovely new growth from both plants which will be good indeed!
This weekend we're off to the allotment - the first time since the beginning of December, but I don't hold out much hope of being able to do any work. We might manage a swim though! I just hope everything has survived the gales, including the 400 trees we heeled in in November. The trees were obtained from the Woodland Trust as par at of their 'Free Trees in Your Community' scheme and comprise of native species such as Hawthorn, Crab Apple and Dog Rose. These species were chosen in consultation with Active Newham (who manage the site) to supplement the ancient hedgerow bordering the site and are due to be planted by a voluntary group in a couple of weeks. Should be a good day!