A good time to select your key players

Aucuba japonica Marmorata (Japanese laurel).
Aucuba japonica Marmorata (Japanese laurel).

When frost is off the weather forecaster’s agenda for a couple of days, take the opportunity to plant something new and keep all options open.

A few bulbs that should have been planted in autumn were still lying in their holding net last week.

Any longer and they would have started to degenerate, so the first week in January, which is far from traditional, they were planted.

Now at least they have a chance of growing and increasing in size; some might even flower in late spring.

I’m forever contemplating which part of the garden will take fruit bushes and trees, ornamental standards and shrubs, with herbaceous perennials never far from mind either. Last week, a golden variegated privet that had seen 10 winters, at least, was dug up and moved on a plastic sheet to a gap in a distant border, which it instantly transformed. I then planted a new aucuba japonica Marmorata, with super variegated leaves.

Now that we’ve started to dig up, divide and move plants around, nothing is safe.

To get the right balance in an ornamental border, you need to be quite ruthless.

If players fail to perform they lose their place and are relegated to the reserves.

Failure there leads to listing on the transfer market. Does this sound familiar!?