End of Month View and Another Year Over

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

(John Lennon and Yoko Ono ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’, 1971/2)

Sadly there has not been an end to war nor fear since the above song was released more than 50 years ago, but nevertheless I wish everyone reading this a happy and healthy 2023 and an enjoyable year in their garden.

Unlike the last couple of months I was very much aware that the end of the month was approaching, and with it the end of another gardening year – what a strange gardening year it has been for many of us, with some extreme weather patterns that we have yet to properly assess the effect of on our plots. As always, it seems no time since we were last getting stuck into seasonal tasks like the ones I talked about yesterday and, for the likes of me, beginning to closely monitor the arrival of winter blooms in the garden, blooms like witch hazels, hellebores and snowdrops. Much of the garden, however, is still relatively bare although in many cases this allows the structure to be more in evidence, and also indicates the more obvious gaps in borders. I shall not be including a video this month, but may take the opportunity of a ‘winter specials’ video tour in due course. If you look under The Garden tab above you will find a map of the garden and an indication of where the usual photos are taken from, although the main map is about to be revised to take account of moving the named snowdrops to the woodland, and other minor changes.

Let’s go then, starting with the view from the back of the house (above) where the phormium in one of the square pots has clearly suffered in mid-December’s freezing temperatures, followed by the adjacent streamside and shrub border (below), where recent work clearing the area under the apple trees has been taking place. When I walked this way yesterday taking these photographs I failed to notice Hamamelis ‘Jelena’ was in flower!

Continuing through the woodland, where the paths have been raked clear of leaves to allow easy viewing of any emerging snowdrops, and take in a view of the main borders from the bothy at the far end and then the same view from ground level at the back of the shed:

We now turn and walk between the woodland edge borders, where hundreds of common snowdrops are beginning to emerge and more and more hellebores are in bud. On the right, witch hazel ‘Rochester’ is in full bloom, one of the earliest to flower. The borders are also shown from the other direction before moving on to the grass border, the grown-from-seed Stipa tenuissima making a tactile statement “Touch me, I’m feathery!”) and the two bold borders:

Moving on, we see the bubblewrapped working greenhouse and two of the cutting beds, filled in summer with dahlias and sweet peas; a pack of free tulips in mixed colours has been planted in one of these beds. Walking between the extended blue & white borders we then reach the rose garden before walking under the clematis colonnade towards the main borders.

Heading back towards the house we pass the obelisk border (ex snowdrop border), still needing more inmates, and glance at the newly-pruned wisteria:

Finally, going round the side of the house we can drop into the Coop where spring bulbs are still a number of weeks away from flowering, before looking to see what’s happening in the Coop Corner where wonderfully the Clematis armandii has been completely revitalised after its early season near-demise.

Another year over? Indeed, but our gardens will always bring promise for the new one just begun…

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19 Responses to End of Month View and Another Year Over

  1. I enjoyed the stroll and views. The beginning poem was perfect for ending the past year and starting the new. Happy New Year and here’s to gardens that thrive in 2023!

  2. tonytomeo says:

    It certainly looks wintry; which, as you say, is a good place to begin. I constantly brag about our lack of wintry weather, but spent much of yesterday in a flooded drainage pond scooping out a bunch of wintry slop that clogged a grate, and then watched as the creek outside here flooded. The neighborhood across the road was evacuated, so the neighbors partied in a parking lot across the road until the New Year. By that time, the water was receding, and everyone could go home. Horticulturally, the brief winter here is the busiest season. There is less time for all the winter tasks than in other climates.

    • Cathy says:

      Ah, so you are still prone to some weather aberations!! 😁 Interesting point about the lack of time for winter tasks though…

      • tonytomeo says:

        Yes, although difficult weather is rare here, it sometimes happens. Of course, it might be relative, and what is considered to be a very bad storm here may not be so bad by standards elsewhere. It will be a long night though, before the next storm arrives early in the morning.

        • Cathy says:

          Yes, it can be all relative, can’t it, and ‘weather’ is only a snapshot within an overall climate

          • tonytomeo says:

            The ‘entertainment industry’ was based in California because of the remarkable diversity of the climate here. It began in Niles before relocating to Hollywood. California has more climates than most of the rest of the Continental United States of America. The volume of rain that we get here, although not excessive for most other climates, would be devastating to desert climates, such as Trona, which gets about four inches of rain annually.

          • Cathy says:

            Thanks for all this info, Tony, as I am always interested to hear more about local areas and their weather

          • tonytomeo says:

            You are welcome.

  3. bcparkison says:

    Every thing looks peacefully sleepy.

  4. Cathy says:

    You are so right – our gardens will always provide us with hope and we can rely on them to give us joy throughout the year. Wishing you and the Golfer a very Happy New Year!

  5. Going Batty in Wales says:

    So much space, so much possibility, so much promise. I love looking forward to a new gardening year and the chance to do better this time. Thank you for sharing your garden, knowledge and enthusiasm with us all.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, the idea of a whole gardening year stretching ahead is wonderful, isn’t it? I am pleased to hear you enjoy reading the blog – mostly it is just a kind of record keeping for me, but I have learned so much for other bloggers along the way so am delighted if some of that knowledge is now being passed to other people too

  6. Heyjude says:

    You certainly work hard in your garden Cathy and you justly receive the rewards. Mine is just a wet soggy mess at the moment, though the bulbs are breaking surface and the alliums are producing leaves. I have a lot of editing to do this year, but I won’t begin until the spring.

    • Cathy says:

      Opening in mid Feb, Jude, is a good incentive to get stuck into winter tasks and new projects, weather permitting, as it has done here recently. I suppose we are lucky here as it is good deep arable soil that presumably drains nicely as we never have a problem with waterloggeding. Paths round the garden make getting round easy too, whatever the weather. Do you know yet what is going to replace the things you edit?

      • Heyjude says:

        True, that’s quite an incentive. I want to plant more naturalistic plants including more grasses and revamp my raised beds as they are beginning to rot and create a more cohesive set of herb beds. The Kilmarnock Willow has gone – it was blown down in the gales and the roots were out of the ground so I had it removed, giving me a bed that is no longer in shade. I might move my roses and daylilies there.

        • Cathy says:

          Gosh, you must have had strong winds for your willow to been uprooted – or are the roots quite shallow? Willl you miss it? Perhaps not, especially with the potential for a new sunny bed👍

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