This Month December 2013 - Sunday, 01 Dec 2013
It has definitely been a bit of an ouch time in the garden lately, I forget just how many plants have thorns except at pruning time. I do wear gloves but a lot of thorns still find their way through the material and it is not a good idea to let the pruning saw graze along the back of my hand. Today it seemed to be mostly roses, they are the wild Dog Roses cascading down over the native hedges. They grow a phenomenal amount every year and threaten to drown some of the ornamentals so I have to seriously curtail their exuberance. In spite of their thorny state they do make a beautiful show with the flowers and hips.
I have usually been doing the pruning in the Lower Garden in the morning then in the areas nearer the house in the afternoon so I don’t need to walk up the hill too many times a day as I am sure it is getting steeper though it is more effort in the winter due to the numerous layers of clothes I wear. Having said that, it is quite warm work lately so I am discarding coats and hats around the garden.
I have done some serious hacking (technical term) in the Jungle Garden to let more light in to the under layers of planting.
I have also been tidying up the herbaceous plants around the lake, being careful not to go head over wotsit into the water when working on the bank. Some of the plants are already showing new shoots such as the tall white Sanguisorba. The Kniphofia is still in flower by the lake so I will not cut that down yet and I will leave the Teasel and Miscanthus sinensis as they look so good throughout the winter.
The snowdrops are up and so are some crocus, I also noticed a Rhododendron in flower.
The Buzzards have been in action low over the garden lately, a few days ago I saw a Sparrow Hawk and mum saw a white Pheasant. We do have a new Barn Owl box ready to put up and a Tawny Owl box in the process of being made and hope they will soon find occupants.
Plant of the Month: Saxafraga fortunei
These perennials, biennials and annuals are native to temperate, alpine and sub-artic areas of the northern hemisphere. There are about 440 species but many of the garden hybrids have been cultivated. Many prefer sun and are good in rock gardens or for ground cover. Saxafraga fortunei is from Japan and forms rosettes of clumps in moist humus-rich soil in sun, or semi-shade in hotter areas, ours is quite happy in the shady shrubberies. It grows to about 12ins (30cm) with masses of small very pretty flowers of white or pink. The leaves are also attractive and can be shiny in varying colours with rough dots of a darker shade over the surface. Some of the varieties include Crystal Pink, Black Ruby, Mount Nachi and Blackberry and Apple.
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