End of month view: January 2016 – our new garden

Liriodendron tulipifera casting its shadow on a frosty morning last week. 
The summer house faces west and to the right is a larch and beyond that a magnolia which was being strangled by ivy growing out of the boundary hedge. Just visible at the bottom of the garden is a wonky rose arbour engulfed in honeysuckle and roses.  There is a small paved area edged with a low stone wall which was a lovely place to perch during our many visits to the cottage in the late summer and early autumn of last year. To the right is a very old apple tree sadly suffering from honey fungus. Last year it blossomed but produced no leaves and a rose growing at its base is already dead. But right now narcissi are pushing up through the ground and I’m looking forward to seeing if it will blossom this spring. 
Not a very interesting photo but it illustrates to me how much the Viburnum tinus has grown since the summer. In the foreground to the right is a Philadelphus aurea which like many of the shrubs in the garden needs rejuvenation pruning. 
I’ve moved further along the deep terrace which wraps around two sides (the south and west) of the cottage. In the distance you can see the South Downs, from here it is a short but steep climb to the top of the South Downs Way. The tree to the left of the viburnum is a purple-leaved prunus just coming into pink blossom. This photo also gives you an indication of the size of the tulip tree. In its winter framework it is a magnificent architectural feature. The tree has planning permission (our cottage lies in the conservation area of a hamlet in the South Downs National Park so all tree work has to have permission from the Tree Officer) to thin the branches by 20 per cent and this work will be carried out next month by a tree surgeon. 


Here we are looking past a Robinia to the box-edged vegetable beds which I plan to use as cutting beds this year.  Also in this corner is the compost heap screened by a large laurel. To the left of the vegetable beds is a Salix fragilis (crack willow) being held up by a coat of ivy, elder and honeysuckle.  Snowdrops are just coming out at the base of the hedge, a very welcome sight. 
The driveway leading to what was the back of the cottage, before the advent of the motor car. You may be able to spot our carpenter working outside. To the left you can just see the extent of the conifers. These are four Western Red Cedar trees now about 40 feet high. The long term plan is to remove them and replace them with either yew or a native deciduous hedge. There is an old stone wall, still with the original steps leading to the original front door, encircling the boundary which we would like to restore but before then we need to do a lot of thinking and clearing and planning. 

I am joining in with Helen, The Patient Gardener, with my first End of Month View from our new cottage garden. We bought the cottage at the end of October last year and apart from sweeping up leaves and making a good start on pruning the climbing roses that cover the south and west sides of the cottage I have had no time to do anything else in the garden. However, apart from the necessary tree surgery to the tulip tree, cutting back the boundary hedge and any essential pruning this is going to be a watching and waiting year for me – which is very exciting indeed.



13 thoughts on “End of month view: January 2016 – our new garden

  1. It’s going to be a wonderful year to watch how your garden unfolds. It looks like such a beautiful space. No doubt it is full of wildlife. I shall really enjoy following your garden posts. CJ xx


  2. Hi Sarah, I just found your blog over Helen’s End of Month View meme! Congratulations to buying a cottage in South Downs. To me this sounds just like a dream coming true. My husband and I have been visiting this area of England a few years ago and remember very vividly how stunningly beautiful it is.
    And so is your new garden! It is already lovely the way it is with all the mature trees there, but I see incredible potential for a passionate gardener here :-)! I think your intention to sit back and watch the garden for a year is a wise one and I am looking forward to following your posts over this year.
    Warm regards from Southern California, where I live and garden,


  3. Gosh, I can see how exciting this must be for you Sarah – all that potential. Definitely good to watch and wait to see what comes out over the year and how the sunlight works at different times, and the winds, etc, and work out how you want to use the garden. Having inherited an established garden, albeit an overgrown one, it can take a while to work out how you want it to be and not be too stuck by what’s already there. You’ve already made progress and it’s great that you’re sorting out trees so soon. Well done. We’re in a Conservation Area, too, and need permission to do tree work on several on our boundary. You’ve inspired me to get on with it. I really look forward to seeing what you do here.


  4. Wow, what a lovely garden, so promising of potential. What an exiting journey you wil have discovering its treasures and deciding what you’d like to do to augment them. I look forward to seeing how it unfolds month by month.


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