My Garden Journal – December 2017

I decided to post my final Garden Journal 2017 post for my Christmas post this year. I hope you enjoy it. Have a great Christmas time!

Here is the final episode of my 2017 Garden Journal, my entries for December. I have already been to my art suppliers and purchased books to become my 2018 Garden Journal. As usual I have changed the size and gone for a larger landscape bound drawing book. But for now let me share my December pages.

I began by looking at the bird-life feeding in our garden in December and in particular the characterful Tawny Owl. I did a painting of these wonderful owls using fine fibretip pens and Japanese watercolour pens.

 

I wrote, “Birdlife in our garden in December is generally quiet. Squeaks of Dunnocks sneak out from the shrubbery and Robins share their watery liquid winter song. Winter migrant Thrushes soon fill the garden with chatter.

Most noisy of all are our Tawny Owls who call loudly when the light fails and darkness overpowers the garden. We open the patio doors to listen more intently and drink in  the atmosphere these owl calls create.”

Turn over the page and we find a double page spread looking at garden editing and seedheads and I include a great quote from one of my favourite garden designers, Dan Pearson.

“December for us is a key month in our garden editing period. It is when we move plants, take plants out that are past their best and completely re-design and re-plant some areas. I was so pleased to read in his book, “Natural Selection”, that Dan Pearson thinks the same.”

“Editing the garden is a gradual process of  elimination, and I like to let nature take its course and for foliage to find its way back into the ground in its own time….. I savour many perennials for their winter seedheads,  form and structure, and this is what I edit back to so that there is plenty for the winter sunshine for the winter sunshine to fall upon.

Removing the clutter lets you see the things in a new light, but you need to retrain your eye in winter to see things in a more economical way. It is good to understand the structure of a garden  and to aim for it to be as handsome as it can be.”

“Seed heads of perennials take centre stage in our garden this month. When snow arrives our seed heads completely change their character. They appear strong enough to withstand snow’s weight.

Snow in December has become a rare occurrence in recent years as our climate changes. In fact we have not seen any December snow since 2010 and 2011. This year saw this all change. A foot of snow fell in a two day period and the garden looked weighed down, slumped and bent low”.

  

“We love to see how the snow changes the characters of our pieces of sculpture by strengthening their shapes and sometimes creating silhouettes”.

  

Turning over the page we meet lots of colour, winter bedding plants and our plant of the month.

I wrote “We like to use winter bedding plants in pots to add extra colourful, bright patches to our winter borders. Violas and Cyclamen are two of our favourites often linked with the gentle colour and textures of grasses.”

  

“Our plant of the month for December is Hesperantha which flower strongly at this time of year, glowing bright pinks and reds.”

     

My final page in my Garden Journal 2017 is all about the surprises that the garden treats us to in December, bright colours that lift the heart. You will notice that I have included more pictures in the post than were originally in the journal, but I simply ran out of space in my book. I hope you enjoy the extras!

“Red surprises in the winter garden can warm the heart and souls of the garden and the gardener alike. Joined by splashes of oranges these colours warm us up nicely.”

The reds and oranges are provided by coloured stems of shrubs, odd blooms on roses, the berries of Iris foetissima and the late colours in Acer leaves. So much colour to end the year.

       

It is good to finish my year of reports on such a positive colourful note. My Garden Journal will return next year!

 

 

Published 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.

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