Well, now that the snow has melted I've been able to pot up and put out the boxes of plants that I bought before Christmas (just in time for the snow to arrive so they had to spend a month in our hallway). We've had some gorgeous sunny blue sky days in which I've been happily pottering around on the doorstep allocating plants to different pots based on where i'll be putting the pot (sun or shaded side) and whether they like well drained, or damper/humus rich soil conditions. It has been great fun!
Unfortunately in the fun and happy soil covered whirl of it all I've not taken any photos yet... or kept note of what went where, so i'll have to get my camera out when there's a moment and do some detective work. I have also, finally, trimmed back the poor neglected herbaceous plants which had been long neglected and looking kind of dishevelled (to put it politely). The pots are now looking much tidier as dead stems have been cut back, weeds removed, and the rose has had its stems pruned.
Before pruning the rose I looked on the David Austin rose information page and in my RHS book. It seemed that it is ok to prune roses as early as January if you don't have very hard winter conditions, which generally the UK does not (normally) have. So, as I was getting quite into the spirit of all this plant tidying and trimming I gave my rose a bit of a prune too... and a bit more of a prune... and then a bit more! What started as 'a little tidy up' to remove the worst of the dead/diseased/dying wood, turned into a full scale massacre as my destructive instincts took control. It is now VERY pruned! Which in some ways is great as there are no more mildewy/black spotted manky leaves to look at/be concerned about... however now I worry that:
a) the weather will now turn bitterly cold (again) as we did reach an abnormally low -8oC during the freezing spell around Christmas, and that what is left of the rose will suffer.
b) there is too little of the rose left and it won't grow away again in the spring! I'm sure this is just nonsense, but I do get quite attached to my plants. Fingers Xed that the weather between now and spring proper is kind!
Apologies for the lack of photo(s) in this post - i'll certainly try to take some up-to-date photos of my steps as they are now so different looking to when I first started in March '09. I may even post a photo of my pruned rose if I can get over my embarrassment (it really is a shadow of its former self!).
Bye for now :o)