Garden News Magazine December 2021
Surprisingly warm autumnal weather extended far later than traditional November chills of years gone by; I have been gardening, at times, in a t-shirt! All good things must come to an end and the frost finally appeared but the glistening sparkles were welcomed, dusting lawns and plant foliage with their magical touch. Luckily I had moved all my tender plants in to the greenhouse or wrapped them in fleece so I could breath easy, reach for my camera and enjoy the frosty wonder.
A couple of weeks before the frost hit we wrapped up ‘Dicky’ our tree fern for the winter. Just as well! I always find this ceremony a rite of passage, marking the end of the year. It did seem a shame to fold down Dicky’s beautiful arching green fronds but we knew a sentimental delay could result in losing our tree fern altogether if the temperatures suddenly plummeted. So, fronds folded over the crown and tied into place followed by two layers of fleece and Dicky’s all set up to hibernate until spring.
I cannot believe how many plants are still in flower. The mild weather has given way to a second bloom. Such a joy to keep finding floral surprises round the garden. ‘Sweet Honey’ rose is STILL elegantly blooming, fuchsia are in full swing, hebe, antirrhinum and penstemon are hanging in there, swiftly followed by rocket, purple toadflax and Cineraria ‘Silver Dust.’
I divided some perennials to share with a friend. Stipa tenuissima 'Wind Whispers,' Salvia nemorosa 'Ostfriesland,' Monarda ‘Squaw,’ Nepeta 'Six Hills Giant,' Geum 'Totally Tangerine' and Aster macrophyllus ‘Twilight’ were halved and potted on. I will enjoy watching them bulk up in spring.
I have been doing A LOT of bulb planting. Such a satisfying way to spend an hour or two in the garden. The promise of what will come next spring is tantalising. I did manage to score some fantastic bulb bargains in the sales and so have come home with a full basket! This year’s new tulip additions are ‘Night Club,’ ‘Queen of Night,’ ’Wedding Bouquet,’ ’Flaming Flag’ T. batalinii ‘Bright Gem,’ a beautiful combination pack of narcissus ‘Sailboat’ and triumph tulip ‘Synaeda Amor’ also Allium sphaerocephalon, A. christophii and A. schubertii and ‘purple sensation.’ So excited to see them emerge in glorious technicolour in 2022. Planting hope!
Reviving a friend’s Begonia rex back from the dead! The plant is now covered in fresh foliage.
All photos © Debi Holland 2021