In the midst of the festive season when the days of winter are darkest, thoughts of the garden remain close to my mind as I’m looking forward to the next growing season, the flowering display and some daylight. When it comes to flowering, right now, we have a gap.
In the previous garden – despite how small it was – we just about managed to have something in flower every day of the year. Winter was the most difficult but Bergenia, snowdrops, winter flowering honeysuckle, Sarcococca and Osmanthus carried us over. In the current garden we don’t have any of these plants and several weeks ago, after the first hard frosts hit, we were all out of flowers and it has been that way since.
Given the garden is still a work in progress and only a few years old I can be forgiven for having this winter gap in the annual flowering as there are many more plants yet to “move in”. We have some young Sarcococca plants in the greenhouse, they were grown from seed and will soon flower and I can already see the leaves of the Crocus appearing. The Camellias will then formally start the show in mid-March with their incredible floral display, weather permitting. We don’t have any daffodils…yet.
Christmas Box – with flowers due very soon
One plant I have forgotten about is the Chimonanthus Praecox or the Wintersweet. This is currently a young shrub in the middle border and I’d be surprised if it flowered this year but when it matures, this will help fill the winter gap with deliciously scented unusual waxy yellow flowers; that’s if the cold weather doesn’t get to it first. I have taken a risk with this shrub as it’s not terribly winter hardy. Combining the plants mentioned above with a few more additions such as Mahonia and Daphne, this winter flowering gap should be a thing of the past. I just need to make a home for them in the garden.
A crocus (one of many) pushing through frozen ground
In the meantime, there are a surprising number of evergreen plants that stop the garden looking like a barren brown wasteland. There are the imposing Camellias, spires of Italian cypress, the broad leaves of foxgloves, various multi-coloured euonymus and of course, the tree line at the back is Scots Pine and we have the considerable rhododendron hedge all along one length of the garden. It’s far more green than I was expecting but none of it is flowering at the moment.
If I do manage to get out into the garden in what daylight we have, I’ll be sure to check on the Sarcococca in the greenhouse and see how far on the Crocus have come, then I’ll quickly head back inside to enjoy the warmth and comfort of this holiday season and make garden plans for the New Year.
Greenhouse rosemary in flower, but no bees to attend