December 2014

Frosty day

With a hard frost on the ground all day today, there is time to think back over the autumn. It has been a much better year for weather. Two months of drought, July and September, contributed to a warmer drier year that helped a lot of plants to settle down and grow happily. The shrub walk still really only exists in my mind but shrubs that were planted this year have mostly done quite well. Deutzia pulchra at least doubled in size and had flower buds until the frost caught it this last week.

Viburnum plicatum mariesii

The autumn colours were good this autumn too with various viburnum and hydrangea quercifolia ‘John Wayne’ being the best here. But perhaps the best month was September when the roses flowered and flowered. June rain had tattered the main flowering, but it was more than made up for the September flowering. I did learn a lesson however. I started dividing the primroses too early not expecting the weather to turn so dry. In the end I resorted to putting in an irrigation system in the shade tunnel – irrigation in my garden! But by and large everything was fine, and pulled through.

Rose parterre

Now at the end of December I have six or seven varieties of double primrose in flower in the garden. ‘Easter Bonnet’ tends to come into flower in November and then flower through to August. I have no idea why it got the name it did. ‘Sunshine Suzie’ is in flower under the Chaenomeles ‘Scarlet and Gold’ which is trained against a north wall. It has a very Christmassy feel. ‘Fife Yellow’ has been in flower but seems to be taking a pause. Just along from it ‘Kalle-K’ is making the most of an opportunity. Sparrows nest above it and have been shredding its flowers; at the moment they seem to be leaving it alone. ‘Val Horncastle’ and ‘Pridhamsleigh’ are both in flower along the bed where I have planted several varieties of yellow and blue doubles. ‘Delft Blue’ is flowering strongly in the shade tunnel where it seems to be happier than it is in the open garden. Several other of the Belarina range, Cream, Buttermilk and Buttercup are also flowering away. ‘Captain Blood’ my favourite of the dark reds has a lot of flowers, and the other lovely dark red another Belarina ‘Valentine’ also has flowers. ‘Bon Accord Purple’ has been in flower and has buds, and ‘Bon Accord Gem’ and ‘Bon Accord Cerise’ have both just finished flowering. That’s more than I had realised and I am sure there are some I have forgotten. Not a bad way to end the year.

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