Turn over a new leaf

January is a great time for gardeners. There is still plenty to do in the garden but not too much that you can’t enjoy perusing the seed catalogues from your favourite armchair. You also have time to think about what worked for you in the garden last year and what you could do differently. It is often the smallest changes that make the most difference to the garden. Last year I decided to add 30 cm to my long border so that I could edge it with box for a more formal look. It has made a huge difference to how the plants behind it are viewed and has really anchored them in the border. But if there is anything I am going to do in the garden this year, it’s to be more organised and plan in advance.

A garden's structure is so much stronger when covered in snow

Last year I looked at planting by the moon’s cycle and it has been very rewarding so that’s also something i’m going to continue to research. I asked Ursula Cholmeley, Owner and Head Gardener at Easton Walled Gardens, what she would be doing differently in the garden this year. Last year Ursula added a vegetable garden to the already extensive gardens at Easton Walled Gardens. She trialled a selection of Italian seeds from Franchi, a family business linked to the slow food movement, and really encourages growing your own. “One of the key things I’ve noticed since I started gardening is how Spring is getting later, with many late frosts, and how milder our Autumn’s have become. This means we are going to look at planting more Zinnia’s and Rudbeckia’s to prolong our flowing season,” she explained. Late 2009 saw the final planting of David Austin roses for the gardens meaning that they now have over 60 varieties of roses in the pickery and kitchen garden as well as the wonderful display of cutting garden plants. “Last year we linked the new vegetable garden to the tea room much more closely with many seasonal ideas coming through in our recipes. We’ve learned a lot in the vegetable garden and this year we’ll be growing more cabbages for the tea room’s coleslaw as this was such a huge success as well as remembering to thin out our beetroot so they bulk up,” she continued. Ursula runs a series of events in the vegetable and cutting garden throughout the year to inspire would-be growers. They offer both unusual seeds and expert advice for the vegetable garden as well as the cutting garden.

Dahlia's in the cutting garden

Easton Walled Gardens, re-opens on 12 February 2010 for snowdrops. Easton, Grantham, NG33 5AP.

Tel: 01476 530063.

www.eastonwalledgardens.co.uk

If you would like some inspiration for your home or garden this year then please get in touch. Tel: 01572 747318. Mob: 07973 843020.