December 2012

This past year the weather has been dreadful. Although this is always a high rainfall area this year has been exceptional. Springs have come to the surface in the garden, and the heavy soil
drains poorly so the constant rain has left the garden extremely wet. This has set back plans and left some plants struggling. I am ending the year by planting a small area of shrubs focusing on
spring flowering shrubs, and under-planting with wild primroses, snowdrops and ferns.

As I plant I am trying to dig as deeply as possible and improve drainage. The group contains a number of corylopsis – pauciflora, glabrescens and willmottiae, fothergilla major, and weigela middendorffiana. Some other new additions that I am looking forward to see growing include euonymus cornuta quinquecornuta – what a lovely name! This euonymus has fruit that look like jester’s hats with five points. It is a super looking shrub in the autumn, differing a little from other euonymus by having narrow leaves reminiscent of bamboo. I saw it in the Plantsman’s Walk at Scamspton Walled Garden in Yorkshire, and thought it wonderful. I now have got hold of one and have planted it on a raised area created from the composted vast weed heaps I build up every year.

After such a dismal year in the garden, it is great to see the tips of snowdrops pushing through the ground. The last of the nerines are in flower in the greenhouse, along with pelargonium ardens, and a few flowers on the Regal pelargoniums. There is almost always something in flower amongst my double primroses. At the moment, the polyanthus-flowering Strong Beer, a rich purple, is flowering next to Corporal Baxter, a rich crimson; a glorious combination of colours. Another half dozen varieties at least still have flowers on even at this late stage in the year.