This Month

This Month December 2015 - Monday, 30 Nov 2015

As I write this I feel I should call this ‘slippery drippy gardening’ as even when it is not raining it is slick under foot and all the plants are dripping wet. The storms caused a little damage such as blowing the top out of a Larch which unfortunately landed on the shrubbery area I had pruned earlier that same day. While the worst of the gusts were happening I stayed indoors for safety sake but I do get a little stir crazy therefore when the winds were slightly lighter and it wasn’t raining cats and dogs I would work the more sheltered areas of the garden. This means that we do have the pruning well under way and I do hope there will not be too much and that we have the time and energy to complete the winter pruning before we need to do the late winter/early spring pruning. Ideally the first areas to do are where the snowdrops are, however due to splitting and replanting a few buckets full every year there are not too many places which do not have snowdrops. There are a couple of small trees to take out which have turned up their toes such as a Laburnum which do not have a long life span, at least that gives us a new planting opportunity.

Just when I think all the planting is done for the year lo and behold there are more bulbs to plant in the shrubberies as well as a few more new shrubs. A shrub I have not come across before is Distylium racemosum which is native to south Japan. It is evergreen with dark green glossy leathery leaves and Hamamelis-like small red flowers with purple stamens in spring.

There is still a lot of plants in flower including the Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo) has had a profusion of flowers which grow in clusters and are white or pinkish and slightly lily-of-the-valley-like. The fruit from last year is still hanging on and do look strawberry-like and can be eaten but are not very palatable.

The Weeping Willow which Orlaith sits under has finally fallen after a few years of slow decline however I am sure one of the several cuttings I heeled into a veg bed will soon grow sufficiently to replace it. The sooner the better then Orlaith can once more be semi hidden enough to catch the unwary visitor that will keep him plump and happy!

I have been very saddened by the enormous forest fires in Borneo which have been started deliberately with the intention of planting yet more Palm oil plantations. These crops are not vital to world food security and are just a money making opportunity for people who have no care for the natural habitat and lives of countless animals including the amazing Orangutan. The long term effect to our own health is also a huge cause for concern, forests are the Earth’s lungs and we have already lost more than is healthy for future generations. I plant trees not only for my own pleasure of watching all the varying species grow but also for the future, I also feel that as one who cuts wood for heat, cooking and hot water then it is also my responsibility to plant more so that I put as much, if not more, into the land than I take out.

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