The final chapter! December. We have followed the journey through the months of 2014 looking at our garden trying to decide whether we have succeeded in our aim of creating a garden with interest in every month of the year.
So here we are on our final wander of 2014 to see how the garden is looking in December. Next year we open our garden for charity throughout the spring and summer so we hope we have succeeded in our aim for creating an all year garden. The day I decided to go for my wander with camera in hand coincided with the day of the first proper frost. But it didn’t last long and had little affect on the plants. The grapes are now well past their sell by date, but the chickens and the local Blackbird population seem to enjoy them anyway. Frost brings out the texture in leaves and seed heads.
The Blackbirds and Mistle Thrushes are enjoying the variety of berries we grow for them, but once the winter migrant thrushes arrive they have more competition.
As the frost melts away it has a translucent look where it sits on the leaves of this Hypericum.
Garden ornaments and furniture both play a more important role as the plant life dies down over the winter months.
Our Hellebores are coming into flower far too early this winter. We usually enjoy them in February and March. But the Prunus subhirtella autumnalis can blossom anytime from November to March, so to see it this good in December is no surprise.
Our trees show off their wonderful silhouettes now they are bereft of leaves. The bark texture shows up sharply in winter light.
Some of our Japanese Acers are hanging onto their leaves still so give us plenty of colour to admire.
As trees are now largely leafless and much of the perennial growth has died down other features of the garden gain prominence. Just look at the curled up Birch bark in one of our insect hotels and the hanging glass globe.
The poppy seed heads have shed their seeds long ago and are now very delicate but extremely beautiful.
We have a few flowers alone and out of season, the last Sweet Peaand a single Calendula struggling to stand upright in the cold, but other flowers coming out now seemingly enjoy the cold and poor light. Violas with cheerful faces welcome visitors. It seems that the perennial Wallflower and the Welsh Poppy can send out an odd flower in any month of the year but in the depths of winter they seem to glow more than a any other time.
Hebe “Great Orme” is still flowering well after many months and shows no sign of giving up. The last seedhead of our many Crocosmias still glows a russet-ginger in the low light. The viburnum is just beginning its long display of honey scented blossom.
The last few leaves of the Ricinus in sheltered spots retain their glossy texture like well-polished shoe leather. Some curl at the edges and glow orange. Veins deepen to the darkest blood red.
So that is it. Another year in the life of our quarter acre plot here at Avocet. We have had a great gardening year with plants performing outstandingly, our first open day and the first magazine article featuring our garden. Next year looks set to be just as busy!
I am going to begin a new series in January – my garden journal – featuring words, paintings, drawings, photos and I hope some i-pad art too.
Below is a further small selection of shots taken in mid-December on a day the sun shone. They celebrate the year in our garden and give promises for the year to come.