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December in my garden *


I can’t believe how quickly time comes around, it really doesn’t seem that long ago I was writing last December’s gardening post. But now it’s December in my garden once again and time to see what’s giving my garden a festive feel. Including the beautiful Christmas Rose helleborus niger (cover pic) which is glowing in the damp shade of our orchard wall.

What's flowering now?

Winter is usually the time when plants have died back and you can see the bare bones structure of your garden. If you’ve been smart enough to take photos throughout the year, you’ll know what really are gaps and what are only temporary spaces for later spring and/or summer colour. Of course I haven’t done this, but luckily I’m a blogger so I’ll be poring over all of this year’s garden posts instead…

Much to my surprise, there’s still a lot of colour around. Like these incredibly late flowering stocks, grown from seed earlier this year. And they’re beautifully fragrant too, albeit rather leggy and in need of support.

And although the leaves are rather ragged, this pretty little primrose is a welcome burst of brightness. As is the purple Jacob’s ladder polemonium in one of our shadier flower beds

I’m always surprised by what I find underneath our weeping pear tree. Over the years I’ve stuffed so many different plants into the soil (including three new ferns this autumn) but I’d forgotten about my winter cyclamen until recently. Aren’t these little crimson blooms and heart-shaped foliage pretty? And yes, those are indeed wild strawberry leaves behind them. I’ve pulled up so many wild strawberry runners (honestly, they grow like mad) but these obviously escaped my cull.

Last year I planted a winter flowering honeysuckle close to our front door, which burst into flower recently and smells wonderful. It will die back in spring and the climbing rose behind it will take over again. One of my more successful attempts at successional planting, I’m pleased to say!

And our flowering quince has reacted to the unseasonably mild weather by bursting into flower again. I can only hope she does so again in spring, otherwise we might not get any fruits next year – fingers crossed.

What's fruiting now?

I must say a huge thanks to my lovely husband who cleaned the greenhouse last month. So the cut and come lambs lettuces from Flora’s September Mud and Bloom box can continue growing steadily in the winter daylight. Cut and come harvesting is a new thing for me this year, but we’ve enjoyed great success with our salad leaves and window ledge herbs.

The only other edibles still around are the bonanza of grapes which are clearly much appreciated by the birds. Chateau Willows’ loss is Mrs Blackbird’s gain. (Sorry for the dreadful photos taken on my phone, I couldn’t get any closer without frightening her away).

Jobs for December

As I didn’t get around to feeding and adding fresh mulches to all our flower and vegetable beds last month, this is a carry forward for Christmas. Fortunately, the ground is quite sodden thanks to all the rain we’ve been having. So digging in some chicken manure pellets and organic manure shouldn’t take too long. Famous last words…

And we’ll be <