The doors close on the autumn, slammed at the finish by fierce winds and torrential storms that swept in from nowhere and were gone in an instant. There were gentle moments too, when warm yet watery sunlight stroked the land and persuaded the lawn to keep growing. Growth has stayed lush this year and in spite of the ferocious heat of mid-summer has turned out fairly well. The potato crop is a bit light, but most other crops have done reasonably and anyone who tried sweet potatoes this year will be smiling. After several years of feeling that I had wasted money, this year there was a harvestable crop. So once more we move into the reflective days, when we can take stock and ponder over next years plan. Racks fill with seed, potato lists are out and new varieties tease.
There is much promise in the winter garden and as you travel around take note of how evergreen foliage and winter flowering plants have their say. The space can be totally rejuvenated, when plants hidden by summers bounteous show are given the stage. In my own garden I have Viburnums (both Tinus which is an evergeen flowering variety and Bodnantense ‘Dawn’ , flowering on naked wood) as well as winter honeysuckle (Lonicera Purpusii) and the fabulous Mahonia Charity with it’s scented golden spires. These plants complimented by the strong evergreen foliage of Eleagnus ( I have two ) the stand out bark of the Cornus and the lobed glossy leaf of Choisya all bring new life to our view. Then of course there is the Holly, I have Golden King, a smooth edged golden form that is robust, bold and very manageable. If you find yourself looking check out these families (there are dozens of different forms). If your garden is in need of a wake up, treat yourself. At a more practical level, the tidying continues, make any adjustments you may wish to make to combat rodents, secure doors and structures and should you have a working greenhouse, then consider the possible need to insulate or heat. Light pruning can continue in the borders and check supports and firm planting s with the boot. Cast an eye over any green stuffs too, consider netting as there is something very frustrating about loosing your sprouts to pigeons a week before Christmas.
And finally…………Have a good Christmas.