Mild or bitter?

Red Admiral on the wing in Mid December UK
Red Admiral on the wing in mid December

I too am jumping on the “It’s way too mild in the December garden” bandwagon.

Flies are still (annoyingly) about, the occasional bumble bee burbles by. Two Pippistrelle bats were out hunting two nights ago. This Red Admiral butterfly was on the wing last week.

OK, you might expect the odd primrose to be flowering fitfully and possibly daffodil Rijnveld’s Early sensation to be in flower already, plus a sprinkling of early periwinkle flowers and some tentative winter flowering jasmine.

Last year’s Iris reticulata Cantab are flowering early in amongst a scented leaved geranium left outside which should have expired by now. Iris Katharine Hodgkin is also in flower but looking a bit weedy and scruffy – should have stayed underground until February m’dear!

Frost hits tender plants 23/11/15 UK
One hard frost on 23rd November 2015

Tenders like Solanum rantonettii which dropped their foliage overnight after a hard frost in November are now re-sprouting. The hardier Impatiens tinctoria is pushing juicy shoots above ground again. Nasturtium seedlings are germinating in the flowerbeds although the parents were zapped by this frost. The large tree-like plant is the dead top growth of Dahlia imperialis which has now been dug up and the tuber/s put into storage.

The first tentative yellow ribbons of Witch Hazel Westerstede have unrolled from brown fuzzed buds. New growth is appearing on vulnerable plants such as fuchsia and hydrangeas, some bitter weather and – ouch!

To be fair I’ve had a very extended period to get tenders into the greenhouse, I only dug up assorted abutilons yesterday, the leaves of which haven’t so far been touched by the few frosts we’ve had.

… but what happens if we get bad weather Jan-March? And if we don’t and things continue as they are spring will have been fast forwarded, what will there be left to delight us in February? Although the snowdrops are sort of where I’d expect them to be, perhaps just a little more up than usual and most of my daffodils are still underground.

Stormy weather

Much wind and rain over the last few weeks but not as much as Northern Britain this time. It’s winding itself up again tonight as I shut up the chickens, the garden is due for another southerly battering. The wind is soughing through the fine top branches of the nearby oaks accompanied by the brittle rattle of desiccated hornbeam leaves in the hedges.

This morning it’s more full-on there’s a great roar of wind and trees – just waiting for the lashing rain to begin. A day to sit and plan.

Gaining momentum

The gardening mojo is starting to return. There are times when I don’t want to think or plan or garden particularly. I can’t bear to look at garden books or catalogues – now the excitement is returning.

The ragged garden I look out on this morning with its unkempt grass because it’s been too wet to mow but in this mild weather keeps on growing, transforms into the luxuriant abundance of summer in my mind’s eye. But before then there are borders to tidy, weed and mulch, seeds to be considered, purchased, sown and nurtured, soon the new growing year will begin in earnest!