End of Month View: December 2012

It wouldn’t be a blog about an English garden, if there was no mention of the weather.  At the very beginning of December, we had heavy frosts for days, which saw the end of a number of our annuals.

DSC_0186 (1024x808)

At the end of December, in fact for the last few weeks, we have seen warmer weather but torrential, incessant rain, leading to flooding of rivers, roads and fields.  The majority of us are suffering from waterlogged gardens, making it almost impossible to do any work in the garden, when we can get out between the gaps in the rain.

wet gardenThis morning, Sunday 30 December, we have a break in the rain (for the time being anyway), the sun shone and the sky was blue, so I donned my new winter gardening boots and headed outside with my camera to do the End of Month View for December, before it started to rain again.

new boots

There is a sign of Spring, which is quite heartening.   The snowdrops are bursting through, and so are the daffodils, although these are the established ones,  the daffodil bulbs I planted last month are yet to decide to make an appearance.   I also saw that the Day Lillies are sending out new shoots, but something is eating them so they look a little ragged.

spring bulbs

Putting the camera to one side for a while, I spiked the flowerbeds to help the rain water drain away, and where the rain had flattened the soil, I hoed gently around the shoots.  Then I emptied out the bottom of the compost bin and spread some very healthy looking homemade compost.

compost Collecting the camera again, I found plants that I was not expecting to be sending out new shoots just yet.  The Verbena Bonariensis is producing new leaves, the Astrantia also has new leaves, and the Sedum is ready to grow again.

new shoots (683x1024)

There is a lot of growth going on in the garden, which is exciting but I do hope it is not too damaged by another bout of freezing weather we are sure to get before Spring arrives.   Someone should tell that to the Forsythia and the Elder (Sambucus Nigra) because they are full of buds.

ForsythiaElder bud

I still have some leeks left, and the Swiss Chard is looking such a fabulous colour, with wonderful new dark glossy leaves, so rather than pull it up, a job I had planned to do today,  I removed the old leaves and decided to leave it until the cold weather gets to it.

leeks and chard (1024x683)

Much to my surprise the parsley is looking healthier than I have ever seen it and it has taken over the herb pot.   I need to cut the fennel down to the ground shortly but it is covered in new fresh green, fluffy looking leaves so that, like that Chard, is having a stay of execution for the moment.

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At this time of the year it is lovely to see that there are some flowers in the garden.  The  very pretty, purple/orange Erysium (perennial wallflower) is in full flower and the variegated variety with the yellow flower is just about to send out some tiny buds.

Erysium The Iceberg Rose by my front door is covered in buds.  I love this rose, as it never fails to flower over Christmas, meaning I can have roses in the house in the winter.

iceberg rose

The Hellebores (Lenten Rose) are flowering now also.  They are growing underneath the Choysia (Mexican Orange Blossom) so don’t get much light at all, I think therefore my next job will be to cut back the Choysia to release them from their dark environment.  As I write this I am listening to Gardeners Question Time on the radio where, by coincidence, they are talking about thinning Choysias .  Apparently if I am careful I can thin it out at any time of the year by taking out old shoots, leaving last year’s new growth to harden off for flowering next year.

Hellebore Whilst no longer flowering, the Penstemon and Hot Lips Salvia are looking very healthy, despite being in some very boggy surroundings.

penstemon and salviaI moved some foxgloves in the summer to a different part of the garden, as they were looking rather feeble and not flowering.  Clearly they like their new home and have more than doubled in size so fingers crossed for some great flowers from them next year.

foxglovesFinally a reminder that Spring is really not too far away – I like to be positive! – the garden is full of Forget-me-Nots (Mysotis).  Despite pulling them up every year, the seeds have spread themselves to ensure that they will always appear.  That’s what Mother Nature is all about.

forget me notsThis is the last End of Month View for 2012 and thank you Helen (Patient Gardener) for hosting this meme.   I wish all of you a very happy New Year and plenty of sunshine for gardening days in 2013.

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  1. I think that the weather will have the last word this month Ronnie as it has done all year 😦 It looks as if your plants are further on than ours. I was snowdrop peeking in the puddles earlier on but although they are through the soil there’s no sign of whiteness yet. I hope that we are going to get some cooler and drier weather soon. Isn’t that chard cheerful? No wonder that you decided to leave be. Wishing you and your garden a most happy and healthy new year! xxx


  2. Thank you for the journey round your garden which is looking very promising for Springtime in spite of all the torrential rain you have had. Your garden always reminds me of back home when I lived in the UK (I have always been a keen gardener). I love and remember the flowers you mention although I can’t grow them here in the tropics. We have other benefits of course, but I still love to see a good old English garden! Memories . . .


  3. I have traveled around England in January and seeing gardens with new growth was always a very pleasant surprise. We have a colder winter and more dieback in Michigan – although some perennials send up shoots and buds. But nothing blooms this time of year – not until April. I have seen snow drops come up through the snow in February – a real promise of spring.


  4. I like your boots – in fact I am coverting your boots (what make are they). I have removed the leaves from my hellebores so you can see the flowers better. My choisiya needs sorting, I was going to get another one for the front garden but they wanted £25 in B&Q for oine about 3ft tall!!!

    Thanks for joining in this year and best wishes for 2013


  5. Your garden is looking really healthy and your iceberg rose looks great with all those buds! The rain has been (still is) dire but the buds and new life is really heart warming isn’t it. Best wishes for 2013! Looking forward to seeing how your garden grows over the next year.


  6. Hi Ronnie,

    Looks like your garden is a little ahead of mine in some plants but the same in others – the problem I have here is at this time of year the sun doesn’t hit either garden at all, so they’re still in the dark so I think things tend to come up a little later. No signs of Astrantia here (tends to come up late in my experience), and most Hellebores have no bloom buds but I do have sedum, Elder and bonariensis buds growing.

    I’m glad to see you managed to get out – I’m actually frustrated that I wasted the only nice day at the cinema! grrrr. I wanted to try out my new lens and get some work done outside – spreading compost would’ve been nice. No puddles/flooding in the garden here but then I am on a hill.


    • I hope it was a good film. We only had a good morning, the weather collapsed at lunchtime. I totally mangled the lawn by walking in it so hope we have drier days for it to settle down. Unfortunately there are large parts do the garden that, like you, get no sun…sun, what is that? He he!


  7. Ronnie I love those boots..I have warm wellies for fall and spring gardening…oh to see all the buds…I do know that under the 3 foot blanket of snow here there are plants growing and sending up new shoots as well as bulbs starting to grow…but I am not sure when we will see these…perhaps we will get a thaw but it is best to leave the snow until March!! Happy New Year and I hope you dry out a bit…


  8. Hi Ronnie. You have quite a number of shoots in the garden. My bulbs have not poked through yet. My Hellebores are under a foot of snow, so no telling what they are up to. You get so much rain over there that gardens are always verdant even in winter. I know this year you had lots of rain, even too much. Hope 2013 evens it all out weather wise.


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