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…