What a grey day!

Conservatory December 1st
Conservatory December 1st

I sense a grey theme is developing in the recent posts. Today, December 1st, dawns grey and damp, typical English run up to Christmas weather in fact.

Wrens are busy in the garden, unlike my old garden when I only heard their loud rebuking tchiking, here they are more apparent flitting round the various climbers and pots. Delicate flashes of rich brown. Other birds are coming in to the garden again including the red faced Goldfinches just now on the bird feeder. Starlings in constantly shifting groups are enjoying the large pools that have developed in the pony field again. Although the drip, drip of the land drains into the stream continues the pools remain.

The last trees to lose their leaves are the oaks and hazels. The birches have been shedding golden arrowhead leaves for a while, which can be found migrating down the hall, into the kitchen, living room and elsewhere. The seasonal advance of ivy up various trunks is also apparent, I was stripping some away from one of the old apple trees which revealed how rotten the main trunk is. A pity as its blossom in spring at the end of the garden is very attractive. Do I grow a rose up it (which could look too fussy) or replace it?

A cut of the lawn was done yesterday after the frost lifted which has neatened things up, I can see the chickens again as they roam about.

Yesterday was spent shifting more pots into the unheated greenhouse and into the conservatory where I hope to keep the temperature just above freezing. Poor old worms have been evacuating drying pots, I even found one who had sadly expired in the window frame. The picture shows a mish mash of agave, Melanoselinum decipiens, Geranium maderense Alba, Olive, a phoenix palm, abutilons, solanum and other odds and sods. I still need to find room for more if the weather gets harsh in Jan/Feb. I excavated last year’s Amaryllis from the back of the greenhouse and potted them on, they’re now in the conservatory.

I kicked the pepper plants out of the unheated greenhouse to make room for gingers dahlias and fuchsias.  Some of the dahlia tubers may survive. I probably could still have had fresh green peppers up to Christmas. One was trusty Seeds of Italy bullhorn pepper Dulce Italiano the other smaller pepper was T&Ms Taste of Italy Friggitello.

There are no pickings for vases to be had at all from the garden now apart from the white Schizostylis. I must remember to pick some berried holly before the birds finish them off.

Pelargonium Holt Beauty
Pelargonium Holt Beauty

This is Pelargonium Holt Beauty in flower at the moment, alongside heliotrope and the last knockings of a big datura.

My “grow an acacia to flower in spring” scheme hasn’t progressed as fast as anticipated,  the largest A retinodes is about 1 foot tall from seed sown in the summer (they are all in the conservatory). Last year a 5 foot A dealbata kept in a cold draughty spot at one garden centre was £45, I wasn’t going to pay that even if mimosa is one of my first favourite sniffs of spring.


All bulbs apart from some of the alliums were finally planted in pots last weekend.  The old pots tipped out, resident bulbs from previous years sorted through, some re used and some chucked and refreshed with new plump bulbs (particularly the tulips). I’ll now forget what is in which pot until I re-discover them in spring. Tulips include the golden double Monte Carlo, Margarita, Queen of Night (mixed with some of last year’s Ronaldo) and a Parrot. Narcissus for scent, Sweetness and Martinette and some hyacinths. Early Iris including Sheila Ann Germany and Harmony added to the “getting more mixed up” survivors from last year.