an indoors sort of a week

Although this would be the perfect week to make a start on pruning all the hundreds of rose bushes we now have growing in the flower garden, this wet grey blustery weather is keeping us firmly indoors, except for little bursts of outdoor activity when we have to drive to school/take the dog out/feed the sheep...  Barney is making the most of a quiet January to pursue his horticultural studies, which is very admirable, and he has found a cosy corner by the log burner at home where he can read all about plant biology without being disturbed.  We have masses of gardening books, both at the garden and at home, and now is the ideal time to be re-reading some of them, including those favourites which we always refer to month after month, such as the RHS pruning and training guide, and the Floret cut flower growing book.  One series which we always find extremely useful, concise and sensible - although the presentation and covers are so unattractive - is the Dr D G Hessayon series of Garden Expert books.  These really are so very useful, and although there are more picturesque books which we might prefer to turn to for pleasure ('Some Flowers' by Vita Sackville West) or for the charm of their writing ('A Flower for Every Day' by Margery Fish), if ever we need a straightforward answer to any practical question, Dr Hessayon has it.

Most of my reading so far this month has been in seed and bulb catalogues, choosing and planning which new things I need to order for the season ahead.  The annual seeds are all ordered now, and the new dahlias, and this afternoon I will return to the question of which hardy garden chrysanthemums to add to our collection this year?  I've discovered some unusual old varieties which are new to me, and which I feel I simply must find space for somewhere in the garden - perhaps a trial bed all of their own somewhere. But what will we be able to relinquish in order to make space for them?  Ordering seed from our favourite seed merchants, Chilterns, I was disappointed to see that the very fashionable and sultry variety of larkspur, 'Smokey Eyes', was out of stock, and I was cross with myself for not having ordered it sooner.  However, Barney and I visited the garden yesterday for the first time in two weeks, and to my great joy we discovered three trays of flourishing little 'Smokey Eyes' seedlings growing happily in the polytunnel.  I must be more organised than I think, although perhaps not quite so methodical.