With temperatures up to a relatively balmy 11°C today, the garden was hive of activity even when the gardener was occupied elsewhere. The birds were the noisiest they have been for many weeks (assisted perhaps by a recent topping up of the bird feeders) and on one of my rambles there was the distinct buzzing of more than one bee which I realised was coming from the flowers of Fatsia japonica. From previous comments, Jon the Propagator (host of this Six on Saturday meme), knows that these flowers are way above my head and, despite craning the aforementioned head and reaching as high as I could, it is unlikely you will be able to spot either of them in the above photograph but I can assure you they are there!
Still providing colour in the December garden are the vibrant crabs of Malus ‘Evereste’ although perhaps not for much longer as our extended family of blackbirds have been feasting on them; sadly no-one, feathered or otherwise, is interested in those of ‘Golden Hornet’ which have gone from bad to worse and with it not yet being a tall tree I have begun removing the offending fruit – but it wasn’t me who secreted a cache of them in the streamside border under recently cut back persicaria foliage, where they have rotted further – and I can’t imagine who the culprit might have been…
As well as persicarias, most of the hellebore leaves were trimmed this week too, except where they looked exceptionally healthy and upright as a few still do, a job not usually done till after Christmas. The impact on the snowdrop border was particularly noticeable, with the emerging spikes of snowdrops standing out clearly and the hellebore flower buds exposed to the light.
Snowdrops in flower from left to right: Peter Gatehouse, Gabriel and an out-of-focus Three Ships.
Hellebores left to right: White Spotted, Harvington Double Lime, Harvington Double White.
Also tackled, but for the first time, was the protection of penstemon and tender salvias with straw, in a bid to establish how much difference it makes to their survival or performance; I have visions, however, of the straw gradually being redistributed around the rest of the garden – or less gradually, given a strong wind…!
They may not actually need any any protection, as the mildness of this winter so far has already been noted several times. One of the resultant seasonal oddities has been fresh growth on many of my summer flowering clematis, particularly C viticella; shown below are fresh buds on ‘Madame Julia Correvon’ but some have quite lengthy new shoots. Has anyone else found this happening in their garden? I partially cut back my Group 3 clematis at this time of year before cutting them right back in early spring, so any new growth is not to their advantage.
That’s my mixed six for this week, so do now pop over to Jon’s blog to see some more.