You can see the days getting slightly longer now, just another seven weeks until the clocks roll forward and we really feel like Spring is upon us. I’ve been busy tidying the new sunken patio area and have splashed out and had 3 mains wall lights fitted to the railway sleepers. The area now looks very inviting as dusk falls, with the shadows created through the rusty metal sculptures but it is still far too cold to sit out and appreciate it as yet. Roll on Summer.

I’ve got a selection of large containers with shade loving plants like camellias and fatsias dominating along the back wall of the house but a variety of palms in containers in front of the railway sleepers. One in particular that caught my eye a few years ago was Chamaerops humilis var. cerifera. It is a Blue Mediterranean Fan Palm and I think, an extremely breath taking, silver-blue form of the classic palm. It is aesthetically a perfect companion for other hardy arid plants, such as yucca or alongside olives and other Mediterranean classics in a sunny border, or as I have them, in large containers. The European Fan Palm is a small, clustering palm with distinctive large leaves which form a very attractive spreadout fan shape as they grow. I loved the one so much, I invested in a second one recently too.

Next week sees the start of the National Garden Scheme’s snowdrop openings at Pembury House in Clayton. They will open for pre-booked visits only, each morning from 1030am to 1230pm, every Tuesday to Saturday from the 10th February up until the 11th March. Entry is £10, which includes home-made teas too. Depending on the vagaries of the season, hellebores and snowdrops are at their best now. It is a country garden, tidy but not manicured. Work always in progress on new areas. Winding paths give a choice of walks through 3 acres of garden, which is in and enjoys views of the South Downs National Park. Wellies, macs and winter woollies advised. Check out all the details and book your tickets, at

READ MORE: Geoff's column Jan 29

If you really want to get out and achieve something in the garden this weekend, then maybe try removing any soggy leaves from around the heads of newly emerging shoots of bulbs. I’ve got lots emerging at Driftwood. They really dislike getting wet around their necks as this can cause them to rot before having the chance to bloom. Waterlogged earthenware and ceramic pots can also crack if weather suddenly gets cold, as the water in the soil expands as it turns to ice.

Read more of Geoff’s garden at