End of Month View: December 2015

IMG_0174

IMG_0171

Bare soil, the bare bones of the garden: winter is when your skills as a gardener are revealed. Anyone can fill a garden with flowers in July, but it’s not so easy to keep the garden interesting through the damp, dark winter months. My main criticism of mine is a lack of structure, which I could easily create with judicious placing of a few evergreen or otherwise interesting shrubs. On the other hand, since the winter months have been so mild, nature has lent a hand at keeping the garden alive. Look closely, and you can see spots of colour all over the garden.

IMG_0126

This little primrose has been flowering for months, ever since I brought it back from my grandmother’s Derbyshire garden in the summer.

IMG_0123

This cyclamen hasn’t quite found its home; this current spot beside the path and next to the rock lily is a placemarker until a better home turns up. I can see its cheery raspberry ripple flowers from the sitting room window.

IMG_0163

I was thrilled to find these shining berries on my Sarcococca confusa, ranging from deep red to chocolate brown.

IMG_0162

Bulbs have been shooting up relentlessly. Last year I planted three iris ‘George’ bulbs, and this year I am hugely lucky that they have divided themselves into six. Elsewhere, snowdrops, daffodils and and hyacinths are poking their way cautiously through the soil. My pots of bulbs are looking promising.

IMG_0165

And here, a good two or three months early, is the bright pink nose of a peony ‘Avalanche’!

IMG_0155

IMG_0134

Jobs have been stacking up during the month. My dahlia tubers are at last uplifted, and hanging upside-down on the inside of the shed door. After two weeks of this treatment I will cover the tubers in vermiculite and store them out of harm’s way till March, when they can be planted up again. (Many gardeners, especially in mild areas, don’t bother to uplift their dahlia tubers, but I am in fact planning to move mine to a sunnier spot. Besides, Scottish winters last just a month or two too long for me to wish to experiment with this.)

IMG_0158

IMG_0138

I have taken cuttings of my favourite salvia, and have lined up all the plants destined for my next project. Now is a fantastic time to go to the local garden centre and pick up bargains!

IMG_0135

Finally, one way of bringing colour to a drab winter garden is by planting up beautiful pots of the many plants that are at their festive best at this time of year. One of the many lovely Christmas gifts I received this year was a tiny hellebore from my uncle and aunt, and when I saw it I immediately remembered this page about planting pots for winter colour, which I’d bookmarked from one of my favourite blogs, The Frustrated Gardener. Greatly inspired by the gorgeous, homely arrangements therein, I made several of my own using similar plants: my little Christmas rose, Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’, variagated azalea (which will have the added bonus of pink flowers in spring), winter heather, white cyclamen, and finished off with trailing ivy. Pushing their way through this are some shoots of muscari to help extend the pots into spring time.

IMG_0139IMG_0140IMG_0142IMG_0149IMG_0141IMG_0144

End of Month View is hosted by Helen Johnston at The Patient Gardener, and I find it both wonderful and useful to visit the other gardeners who link in with Helen to see how they have managed the challenges that come at different times of the year.

11 Comments

Add yours →

  1. Winter flowers in Scotland is a bit of a challenge. You have some delightful blooms though. Your Skimmia is looking really healthy.

  2. With two inches of slick crust covering my garden, this tour of yours is rather sweet to peruse!

  3. I love your winter containers, these really must lift the spirits. My favourite is the Skimmia/Hellebore combo – you’ve a good eye for detail.
    Dahlia tubers are not for experimenting outdoors here in Scotland, are they?

  4. You’ve bought some good bargains, Jo. The scabious in particular will be very rewarding – in flower from about April to October. But do not ask me to weed around it when it is not in flower : scabious leaves are weedy and undistinguished and I have binned several of my own by mistake.
    What is the interesting looking blue flower between the catmint and the scabious?

  5. It’s so reassuring to see the first shoots poking through, although some are worryingly early. The weather has not been conducive to gardening and all is looking so drab. However, your pots with their lovely, imaginative arrangements, really brighten things up. I’m looking forward to a bit of frost to brighten up our garden, that has been planted up with grasses and structural plants, for winter interest, which suit frosts better than deluges!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: