Monthly garden update: January

As Chawton House settles into the new year, Garden Manager Andrew looks forward to what 2018 will hold, and what still need to be done.

It starts with a mild nagging feeling that tugs at my conscience as I walk around the garden early morning. To ‘walk the garden’ is part of my self-imposed routine that I have employed in all of the gardens I’ve worked in. The basic idea being that there is no point starting anything unless the whole garden has been inspected to check one’s priorities. You can leave work on Monday thinking you know what you are going to do on Tuesday – but on Tuesday morning you discover a tree has fallen over or some such issue. So each day starts with my walk.

Upsurge of flowers in the wilderness

New year resolutions

It is always at this time of year whilst on my rounds the nagging feeling begins. That rather blasé smugness and thoughts such as “It’s still only January, we have plenty of time to catch up…” begin to ebb away. For as I walk I can’t help but mentally jot down the hundred and one things that need to be done! To punish myself further, I can’t help but continue that line of thinking with just how long these hundred and one things are each going to take to be completed. Out comes the notebook, now to start putting these things to paper. Back in the office, now to transfer from said paper to my whiteboard…and if it is really beginning to make me uneasy it will be written IN CAPITAL LETTERS…WITH A RED PEN! So if you ever visit me in my office and see behind me the whiteboard is covered in large red writing, perhaps it is best you make your excuses and quietly leave me to whimper and feel very sorry for myself.

Come see our beautiful snowdrops!

That said, what a great month to revel in the nuggets of small offerings the garden brings. We have tens of thousands of Snowdrops flowering across the garden. Thanks to the hard work George and I did back in November, clearing large areas of the Wilderness, long dormant Snowdrops have appeared in the sunlight and are providing a spectacular display. My new worry is that they have all appeared too early! We are holding a Snowdrop Sunday opening on behalf of the National Garden Scheme on Sunday 25th February. I need as many of these plants to be flowering on that day as possible to delight our lovely visitors…so the nagging doubts continue!

Beautiful shot of our snowdrops taken by @darrenvenables on a garden tour

The spring plants do seem a bit confused – our early Daffodils have also begun flowering. I wouldn’t expect to see this until late February/early March. A bonus for the Bees and other pollinators I suppose but again, what about our visitors?! This is all very stressful…I am off to vent my frustration with my red pen, and I just might be using some extra exclamation marks too!!


Garden Manager