The weather is pretty bleak at the moment so it’s just as well some signs of life are beginning to peak through. Already on display are hellebores and snowdrops. One of my favourites is the native stinking hellebore, Helleborus foetidus. Happiest in a shady border or woodland setting, it's striking divide evergreen leaves give year-round interest. Dog wood is also adding some much needed colour; Saville Gardens have some brilliant displays including Cornus sanguinea ‘Anny’s Winter Orange’ and Cornus alba siberica ‘Midwinter Fire’.
With all the rain we’ve had recently and more to come, my lawn is starting to suffer. To help give the turf a fighting chance I’ll need to try to stay off grass. If more help is needed you can spike the lawn to create drainage channels and, in the spring, apply a fertiliser to help the grass recover from the winter damage. This will also create a stronger root system that will help the lawn withstand the wet winter weather in the future. For more advice go to www.rhs.org.uk.