I have been busy tidying the beach garden on dry days this past week. I have such a large collection of plants woven into the planting that I sometimes forget what I have until they flower.

One such plant is rosemary. It is a pretty versatile herb, but more importantly can also provide evergreen interest all year round. An added bonus is that its fragrant leaves can be used for cooking and it also provides nectar-rich flowers for the bees in the spring.

If you grow rosemary along a path, every time you brush past, the leaves release their aromatic oils to enjoy. The shrub hails from the Mediterranean so it thrives well in a sunny, sheltered spot in well-drained soil.

I have two lovely specimens growing in the beach garden, one in a fairly sheltered spot of my wind-ravaged garden and one in a more exposed spot, both have done well. This week there are lots of delicate mauve flowers on them providing a splash of colour on grey days.

It can struggle in heavy clay soils, particularly in winter when the ground tends to be wetter. You can grow rosemary in pots, but bear in mind this perennial herb can grow quite big, and will need potting on in fresh compost every couple of years. Young plants can suffer if their roots are sitting in wet soil in the winter, so it’s probably a good idea to grow it in a container for a couple of years before planting into the garden. I cut mine back annually to prevent them becoming woody. You can plant rosemary in spring or autumn and it is frost-hardy too.

If you are local to Clayton, near Ditchling, the National Garden Scheme has Pembury House opening up on several dates in February for local only exercise.

Take a look at the website, www.ngs.org.uk for the full details and book yourself a £5 entry ticket if local. Depending on the vagaries of the season, snowdrops are at their best in February.

It is a country garden, tidy but not manicured. Work always in progress on new areas with winding paths giving a choice of walks through three acres of owner-maintained garden, which is in and enjoys views of the South Downs National Park. Wellies, macs and winter woollies are well advised.

I’ve certainly noticed the days are getting slightly longer now, generating more time to be in the garden, we just need more sun to encourage us along. I’ve got some very clear signs that spring is on the way with bulbs starting to sprout and shoots beginning to appear on shrubs too.

Read more of Geoff’s garden at www.driftwoodbysea.co.uk