It’s been mild and wet recently.
That’s a statement that would validly apply to the weather here at any time of year, not just at the end of January as we are at now.
Winter hasn’t bothered to impose itself strongly and while we have had occasional storms and heavy showers pass through, as well as clear nights with frosty mornings, there’s been nothing to be overly concerned about in my neck of the literal woods.
I’ve been doing the winter clean up chores and border edging during the sunnier and milder periods (when the ground hasn’t been too wet) and I’ve noticed that with the mild weather, the garden has decided to start on the new season early, with many plants emerging from the ground or starting to swell and open their buds for the coming Spring – before we’ve even reached February.
This has meant that I’m not going to be able to mulch without burying the emerging shoots. I’ll also have to be much more careful cutting back old plants so that I don’t also chop the new growth coming through.
It feels like a year-round flowering garden means it’s also a garden that never sleeps. While there is far less growing activity happening in the winter, all the winter-flowering plants are, of course, active. Bulbs are busy growing under the soil and plants like Arum Italicum and crocuses are also in full swing.
I, however, do need a break sometimes, even if the garden doesn’t, so I am gradually learning to simply accept that no matter how ahead or behind I am with my gardening chores, the garden will simply start without me. The clematis and roses will shoot before I can get to prune them. The bulbs will emerge before I have chance to mulch the border and the Delphiniums and Crocosmia will sprout before I’m able to put up the support structures they will need in the summer.
In some ways it’s liberating knowing the garden will simply continue on and let me catch up at my own pace. In some ways it’s annoying that I’m easily out-paced by plants.
Either way, I will eventually catch-up in my own time and that might mean I have to skip some jobs like mulching, or do them at a less-optimal time of year, but there’s no negotiating a start-time with nature. February may slow things down, with the coldest weather withering a lot of the new shoots, but they will simply re-sprout as soon at the weather becomes mild again, and they’ll just keep going and going.