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