Picture above: Barrington Court white garden with temporary addition
One of the engaging characteristics about Christmas is that it is swiftly followed by the New Year. The battered baubles and tatty tinsels have been exiled to a corner of the loft and the tree has left a trail of needles from behind the radiators to the recycling centre. Now, in January, we can look forward with nary a backward glance to a more optimistic future. The Roman god Janus guarded the gates of heaven by looking both ways and has given his name to the month. The French revolutionaries renamed it Nivose, the snowy month, whereas the Saxons used to call it Wulf-monath , when the wolves threatened. Our gardens may be briefly enhanced by a bit of snow but we can ignore the wolves for the present until this rewilding business gets out of hand.
While we resist the urge to leap out of the armchair and get stuck in, what is required now is a bit of planning. And not just the usual mid-winter musings; something more radical must be done to counteract the isolated grimness of the past months. Those of us who have gardens are lucky, revolution is at the end of the fork. What we need in the borders is a lifting of the spirits, a bit of pizazz, some celebratory fireworks. Out go those genteel rain-washed pastel shades and let's give the African marigolds, the bright scarlet salvia splendens, dazzling delphiniums, shasta daisies and begonias galore a chance to brighten up the landscape. A sort of throwing away of the horticultural masks. Or, one could invest in a monochrome design. A white garden was fashionable at one time, appealing to penguins and polar bears, but would be improved by a spot of colour. A yellow garden gives too jaundice a look while a red garden would enrage bulls and retired colonels. The time has come to do something silly in the garden and cheer ourselves up. It may involve a little effort but it is fun planning it all. The humourists Sellar & Yeatman caution:
'You will never achieve a blaze of colour unless you have a greenhouse, some green fingers and of course a huge orange and blue umbrella.'
The Gardening Club will be meeting this year and a start is scheduled for February.
This, with a dose of caution. In the meantime, on behalf of all members, I wish all those who have an interest in gardens large or small, a healthy and productive New Year. Pip.After this went to Press, we decided to change our plans for Meetings and Visits
Given the current high levels of Covid and the uncertainty of Omicron outcomes at the moment, we have decided that it would be best to cancel January's meeting and postpone our AGM and Quiz to February 10th, provided that Covid numbers have reduced. The plan is then to resume Speaker meetings from March 10th. We are looking to arrange a local visit to see snowdrops and we will let you know the details as soon as possible - see our Events Page on this website.