There was a time when I would have considered myself rather negligent not posting several times a week or keeping up with my favourite blogs as soon as a new post appears – and not posting for popular memes would be unheard of! I was aware of the December Garden Bloggers Blooms Day when somebody else posted – but did I have time to take Blooms Day photos? or write a post? or see what was blooming in other bloggers’ gardens? No I did not. Did it trouble me that I hadn’t? No it did not.
For the first two years of blogging I posted every day but then made a conscious effort to post less frequently as it was taking up such a lot of time because I was interacting with so many more people. It was hard to wean myself off daily posting, but I managed it, and perhaps this is the next step, posting because there is something I want to say and not because I feel I ought to.
Regardless of any memes, I wanted the blog to be a record of the garden from year to year, so recording monthly views and noting what is in flower at different times will always be an integral part. In future years we can then look back and marvel at what was blooming in this exceptionally mild December here in the UK, like this pot of lavender (‘Little Bee Purple’) outside the sitooterie – which leaves me with the dilemma of whether to trim it back. The same dilemma surrounds the still very fresh and leafy Diascia personata and various penstemon.
Various roses are still hanging on, like a perfect ‘Madame Alfred Carrière’ against a temporarily blue sky, one of several ‘Queen Mother’ blooms, one of a dozen or more promising buds on ‘The Poet’s Wife’, and an out-of-focus bud on ‘Munstead Wood’, moved from its large pot to the shrub border:
Some blooms seem to appear sporadically throughout the year, like bidens and especially this comfrey which is rarely not in flower:
The native primrose also flowers in its own time but peaks in spring with its brightly coloured cousins tending to appear in early spring too, but here they are in December, tempting the local wildlife:
The usual winter flowering sarcococca and honeysuckle are a little early too – providing the first whiff of fragrance as I rambled today:
Most obviously early are the special snowdrops, green spikes appearing several weeks earlier than normally expected, and I have been out with a revised snowdrop map ticking them off as they emerge – sadly not yet near enough 100% for my liking but unfortunately that’s something snowdrop lovers have to learn to live with. ‘Faringdon Double’ is the only one to have fully opened yet, but ‘Mrs Macnamara’ (right) is nearly there.
Several of the hellebores are close to blooming too, with ‘Harvington Double White’ far more advanced than the supposedly earlier flowering H niger ‘Christmas Carol’, and H ‘Ellen Picotee’ full of pink promises:
Absolute stars this month though are the first of the witch hazels, also a few weeks earlier than might be expected – Hamamelis ‘Orange Peel’, ‘Jelena’ and ‘Magic Fire’ are all in full flower (below). Alarmingly, the first specks of colour on ‘Ruby Glow’ appear to be yellow rather than the – um – glowing red they should be…watch out for an update in due course!
A very strange December indeed, with temperatures up to the mid teens and the mild days providing ideal gardening conditions if only other things hadn’t been getting in the way – hey ho! Perhaps January will see the return of more seasonal weather and a chance to read all the blog posts I have missed recently…