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My Garden Journal – December

To celebrate the moving from 2015 into 2016 I thought an appropriate post to publish would be my final monthly garden journal entries for 2015.

This is the final month of reporting on my garden journal where I have been keeping track of what has been happening in our Avocet garden. December should be a month of cold nights, frosts and wintry showers but this year it has been a month of strong winds and rain accompanying mild temperatures. We have still only had one frost in this last bit of the year. Our Dahlias remain outside as we move into the first week of December as we are waiting for frosts to blacken their foliage which would allow us to prepare them for their winter rest.

Opening up my garden journal onto the first pages for December reveals photos of berries which are such a strong feature of our winter garden.

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My first entry for December reads, “The berries of our trees and shrubs give bright splashes of colour in the Winter Garden.”

My photos show berries of Hypericum, Sarcoccoca, various Hollies and one of our Sorbus.

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We have many different Cotoneasters throughout the garden giving shiny berries in many red shades – ruby, scarlet, crimson – and one even has yellow berries. They are so easy to grow but add so much to the garden. Each variety has a different habit and foliage in different shades of green, different sizes, shapes and textures. But what is common to them all is that they are true favourites of our berry eating thrushes.”

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The greenhouse features next in my December Journal as it is during this month that it fills up with tender plants which we want to overwinter.

“The greenhouse is very full and busy in December. Our Fuschia thalia after flowering outdoors for months is still full of bloom now but in the sheltered environment of the greenhouse. Accompanying this special Fuschia, our succulents are also sitting out winter under shelter, after spending the summer and autumn in the Rill Garden.” 

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I tried to show the uniqueness of the Fuschia and its incredibly bright colour with watercolours.

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My final quote for 2015 from the little book by Jenny Joseph, “Led by the Nose” appears as we turn the next page.

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Fragrance outdoors in this season is not so much a twinkle in the eye as a sniff in the nosmic imagination. You will see the tips of bulbs and look forward to being overcome by spring.” 

Below these words I share photos of a few of the flowers that are sharing their scent with us this month, roses and perennial wallflowers.

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“Roses and Perennial Wallflowers invite us to get our noses close to their blooms so that we can enjoy the sweetest of scents. Other plants need us to rub their leaves before they share the secrets of the scent with us.” 

The accompanying pictures show two such plants, salvias and mints.

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The colour yellow can cheer up the garden in the deep dark days of December, so I moved on to see what plants were giving us these golden tints.

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“On gloomy days in December when there is no sign or chance of sunshine, we really are grateful to plants that give us cheerful yellow flower and foliage.”

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Opposite my tour of our garden yellows I make mention of the members of the ?thrush family that share our garden with us in the winter.

“Let me introduce you to our Winter Thrushes, drawn in a stylised fashion.”  I hope you enjoy them.

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We next turn from the colour yellow to bright pinks, Nerines.

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“Nerine bowdenii is the shocking pink of winter. It is difficult looking at these dry bulbs to think that such bright and wonderfully shaped flowers can burst from them.”

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Seed heads are the theme of the page opposite the Nerines.

“Seedheads on perennials and grasses play such an important part in our Winter garden. We have even bought ourselves a trio of seedhead sculptures made from stoneware.”

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So now we turn the page to the very last entry in my 2015 Garden Journal.

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As December slowly comes to an end for 2015, we are already looking ahead. Jude’s little nursery is well-stocked with young plants which we will sell on our open days and to garden clubs who visit Avocet. The greenhouse keeps our tender plants warm and snug. They are patiently awaiting Spring 2016.”

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Young plants that we are growing on for sale at next year’s open days are sheltering in a plastic mini-greenhouse to encourage them to grow strong and healthy ready for next year. They look pretty sad through the winter though as most are herbaceous perennials.

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By greenbenchramblings

A retired primary school head teacher, I now spend much of my time gardening in our quarter acre plot in rural Shropshire south of Shrewsbury. I share my garden with Jude my wife a newly retired teacher , eight assorted chickens and a plethora of wildlife. Jude does all the heavy work as I have a damaged spine and right leg. We also garden on an allotment nearby. We are interested in all things related to gardens, green issues and wildlife.

5 replies on “My Garden Journal – December”

Yes we do heat our greenhouse. We often drop below – 20 each winter outside so we would lose plants to the cold without heating. We also insulate it with bubble wrap. Our greenhouse is in two sections, the first you enter is 8ft by 8ft and this we keep at about 10 degrees Celsius to protect tender garden plants. A second door opens into a smaller section of 6ft by 8ft and this section is kept at about 15 Celsius. Here we sow early seeds and have propagators to raise heat for seeds to 21 degrees Celsius.

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