Winter Green

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Last weekend was officially my final gardening weekend before Christmas. From now on it will be a roller coaster ride of shopping, wrapping, cleaning, writing cards and decorating before the festivities commence. Him Indoors has embarked on a social schedule that would make The Queen look lazy, offering me peace and quiet to complete my seed orders and plan for next year.

My ΓΌber-healthy gingers weren’t exactly cut off in their prime, but got a slightly premature chop to put them out of their misery. A handful of fuchsias, including beautiful Fuchsia splendens (below), still too lovely to maim, were transferred to the greenhouse where they will carry on flowering until Christmas. All that remains outside has been tied up or down and will have to fend for itself until February, when I’ll emerge from my sugar coma.

Fuchsia splendens, Polegate Cottage, November 2015

Just six months after acquiring a dilapidated greenhouse I’m already unsure how I managed without it. The 8’x6′ space is already jam-packed with tender echiums, begonias, aeoniums and geraniums, as well as pots of early spring bulbs. I’m constantly amazed at the temperature differential between inside and out, which illustrates just how long it’s been since I last gardened under glass. Ironically the greenfly have set up camp inside our house, leaving the greenhouse virtually pest free.

The greenhouse, Polegate Cottage, November 2015

Without the golden leaves of the hedychiums and the coral flowers of the fuchsias the garden has reverted back to its base-state of emerald green. It’s all very restful and not in the least wintry. In a good year we’ll enjoy this luxuriant look until spring arrives, when the first daffodils start to peep over the rims of their terracotta pots. After the luxuriance of summer it’s good to appreciate the garden in its foundation garments, thinking how I can dress it up again for next year.

I’d love to hear what’s looking good in your gardens right now and when you start to wind down for Christmas.

The Watch House Garden, November 2015


Categories: Flowers, Foliage, Our Coastal Garden, Plants, Uncategorized

Posted by The Frustrated Gardener

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33 comments On "Winter Green"

  1. Everything looks amazing!! I’m still very jealous of your greenhouse. One day.

    As for me in SoCal, I’m going through the process of doing all my winter pruning and cleanup. I love this time of the year because everything tends to look ship shape and Bristol fashion. Plus, I get a huge amount of material for my compost bins which come in handy for Spring.

    My citrus trees are beginning to ripen and I still am getting passion fruit and pomegranates. Last weekend I planted my winter garden of cabbage, Brussels sprouts, beans, broccoli and kale. I also added some predatory nematodes to the soil as I was severely attacked this summer by root ball nematodes. Fighting fire with fire.

    Anyways, enjoy your holiday season and stay warm and fat! Cheers from the colonies.

    1. Thank you James. I am just a little envious of your balmy conditions and wonderful fruits! Homegrown pomegranates for Christmas are something we can only dream of, although sprouts we can do with bells on. On the fat front, I am doing rather too well in that department, but it does guarantee warmth πŸ™‚ Hope you enjoy the holidays too. Cheers from Blighty.

      1. My favorite are the December arrival of my Satsuma tangerines. It’s the only established tree that was on the lot when I bought the house three years ago. They are absolutely perfect in every way. Best orange I’ve ever had hands down. I wait all year for these buggers and now the wait is over! Huzzah!!

  2. All that Green – how envious am I – we have BBQ’d brown grass and roo poo!! it is so dry. We have had the driest spring and not a hint of rain to come. Our water bill will be horrendous as what is looking good is the veggie patch – I am expecting tomatoes before Christmas as the black Russians are thriving, and am picking beans, zucchinis, chillis, rhubarb,strawberries and the potatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers. peas, beetroot, spring onions, chard etc are all taking off. Sadly the asparagus has finished. Am loving the snow treatment on this page… just like the Grove in LA last week where they were pumping snow from the tops of the shops down onto the crowd in the ‘square’…so Happy Christmas! Enjoy your seed catalogues….H from Oz

    1. Ahh yes, the snow. It happens automatically on December 1st and always takes me by surprise. I saw plenty of the real stuff in Prague at the weekend. I am sorry it’s so dry again. You seem to be having a run of very hot, dry summers which is tough for you and the garden. Nevertheless your veggie patch sounds abundant so keep up the watering and grit your teeth when the water bill arrives! You can always move to the UK if you want more rain πŸ˜‰

  3. Green? I haven’t seen green in weeks. I’m in the brown season awaiting the white season. I would be envious enough of that lush green patio shot but then you show a greenhouse that actually has color too. Impressive. The only color I have currently comes from my Christmas decorations. πŸ™‚

    1. Completely understand this Judy. I too am in a landscape of slumbering browns . . . the only other color being in my imagination, dreaming of daffodils and the peppermint stick tulips I planted several weeks back — hopefully they will survive the armadillos foraging.

      1. Armadillos! Sounds like a very exotic pest to an Englishman Jan. I went outside in the dark this morning to inspect the cold frame and spotted that the fox has been up to no good, pulling up plants and crushing others. I fear the damage will only get worse as food becomes scarcer. Spring will be upon us sooner than we think πŸ™‚

      2. And who wouldn’t go for an easy meal — I have to remind myself! Don’t I often pull the simplest tasty option out of the fridge when I arrive home late from work and manage to get a cozy fire made.

    2. Pleased to hear you have your decs up already Judy! Thankfully my garden doesn’t have a brown season, but if we get frost we do have a short sludgy-colour season. The greenhouse will not be heated this year as we are not sure if it will remain in the long term. What I do know now is that I won’t give some kind of greenhouse up, especially as I like to grow plants with an exotic edge. Assuming you prefer the white season to the brown, I hope the former arrives soon πŸ™‚

  4. Dan,

    Do you really take these (stupendous) photos with an iPhone6?! The technical image quality is astounding to me. Plus, you have a sure eye for composition, if you don’t mind a little shameless extolment, which is deserved and veracious.

    1. You are very kind Patrick! Yes, the majority these days are iPhone shots unless I am on holiday or on a garden tour in which case I take my SLR. I don’t think I have ever been extolled before so I appreciate that πŸ™‚

  5. Thx for the offer of a move to England…and although Anglophile that I am, I would miss grizzling about the heat, the flys, the Roo poo, the Aggies….yes I de headed more than 300 at the weekend as I don’t want the petals falling in the pool. Like Judy and Jan, Christmas decs will be the answer to my brown grass and dehydrated flower beds I suspect, but I haven’t even got near to organising the tree. Happy Christmas everyone, and a huge thanks to you Dan for entertaining and informing so many of us around the world with a wonderful blog, full of fabulous pics, witty prose and a wealth of botanical knowledge. H of Oz.🌲🍸🌲🍸🌲🍸

    1. Thank you Helen! Too early for a tree (unless you are a JL customer in which case, BUY NOW!). Ours arrives on the 10th and won’t come indoors for a few days after that. Whilst I am sorry not to see you more often I think you are as wedded to Oz as I am to England, so let’s just celebrate the difference. At least it’s always summer with one of us πŸ™‚

  6. The Green garden looks wonderfully restful. In Cornwall everything is blown to bits rather than frost damaged. But we do have the first daffodils out now. It would be a pity to disturb the serene green, but Narcissus ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’ is in full flower down here this year [a good β€˜yellow daff’ – but very early]; and it is usually in flower for Christmas. I agree; once you have protected growing space you wonder how you did anything without it.

    1. Now that’s a daff I keep meaning to acquire Chad. I agree, a few handfuls around the garden would bring a lot of cheer. I am down in Cornwall this weekend and the weather forecast looks appropriately vile πŸ™

  7. Great fucshias. I shall have to add those to my (ever expanding) must-plant list. I moved roses around three or four weeks ago–here they do all their best growing in October and February usually, so I was, predictably, late–but the weather’s been so odd lately they may still have time to get roots under them this fall. I live in a region that can’t decide if its climate should be coastal mid-Atlantic or coastal equatorial, so shorts at Christmas is at least as likely as sleet–but this year takes the biscuit. I’ve never had pears and citrus bloom simultaneously. I envy you a bit–I’d love to pull off some really good brussel sprouts (or broccoli. Or cherries.)

    1. It is a fabulous plant, Fuchsia splendens. However, it’s frustrating because the huge leaves suffer terrible capsid bug damage in midsummer and the flowers don’t appear until October. Perhaps it’s the way I grow it. It might be hardy enough to survive outside in Broadstairs and one day I’ll be brave enough to see if it does!

  8. Contrary to evidence, I do know how to spell “fuchsias”–my field identification prof is spinning in her grave…

  9. That top shot is an absolute belter. Wish I’d seen it before I did my “planting design for autumn, but with continuing winter interest’ homework assignment!

  10. Like the others, I admire both your green winter garden and the photos of it. And I lust after your glasshouse. I want one but not being handy, will need to buy one and have it constructed. Choices here (the U.S.) seem much more limited than those I see in UK garden magazine ads. And the cost is a bit daunting especially since I would need to heat here in the cold climate we usually have. This year, however, the lawns and conifers are bright green. We’ve had lots of rain, no snow. And the temperatures have been way above freezing for most of the start of this autumn/winter season. I’ve heard of parts of the eastern US having cherries and lilacs blooming already. not here yet, but I fear if we don’t cool down significantly soon, it may happen much sooner than it should. Most of my garden is brown mush, but the Geranium macrorrhizum is scarlet, orange and yellow. It usually never gets a chance to change color here, as it would have been frozen and/or covered in snow by now.

    1. Hi Dean. The mild weather must be world wide as we are looking at a forecast of 16 centigrade in Broadstairs this weekend which is an April temperature, not a December one. I don’t even need to wear a coat to work in London at the moment and everyone is turning their heating off. I am sure we’ll all catch a chill in Jan and Feb though, the weather is just teasing us! We do have an extraordinary abundance of greenhouse companies here, and some very fine ones too. I sometimes wonder how they all survive. There are still plenty of people with the money for a greenhouse here and most companies will put them up for a charge. If I were spending top whack I think I’d let them. I am struggling a little with the greenhouse being away during the week. Again, because of the mild weather it’s getting too sweaty and plants are starting to rot. Greenhouse gardening isn’t really a hobby for an absentee gardener! Wishing you a very Happy Christmas. Dan

  11. Your winter garden is lovely! I am also considering buying a greenhouse so I can continue with growing vegetables in the winter. I have started with gardening two years ago and now I am totally keen on it! Green house gardening is definitely much different than gardening outside. Thanks for sharing your winter experience! πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you Jennie! You are right, it is a completely different ball game. For a start, those precious plants are utterly reliant on us for TLC when they are in a greenhouse. And, even in winter, I have found it tricky managing the temperature and humidity when I am not around every day. I’d definitely recommend automatic ventilation if you can stretch to it. Have a lovely weekend.

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