Leaves have been a long time falling this autumn. As soon as you collect them there is another covering over the flower beds. The more that can be cleared off the plants the happier they will be, rather than spending the winter under a soggy blanket of wet leaves.
If you have bare areas of soil that you plan to seed next year it is worth giving the area a rough digging over. The frost will do its work and the soil will be lovely and crumbly by the spring.
Check on your bowls of hyacinth bulbs. Like me you may have forgotten where you hid them in the dark, but, if you can find them, it’s worth a look now. If they are well above the soil and the flower buds are just visible then put them out on a windowsill – giving the bowl a quarter turn each day.
The Victorians were the first modern gardeners. They pillaged the past for styles: Elizabethan knots, Italianate urns, Gothic ruins, Moorish arches. Their gardens were gaudy, gorgeous and hideously expensive to maintain and they relied on vast quantities of half-hardy plants from all over the Empire. Nowadays we have fewer gardeners and more sense. We plant hardy shrubs and perennials that will survive the winter and, if we are really wise, we buy our plants from nurseries that grow their own plants in our own area; not from huge garden centres that still import from warmer climates and heated glasshouses. Try Blue Gecko Plants just down the road! Our Mahonias are in flower – lovely yellow sprays of scented flowers. There are flowers on the Coronilla too and these are also yellow and heavily scented. The Viburnum ‘Dawn’ with pink buds turning into white flowers are the most strongly scented of all and they will be in flower all winter.
Our Christmas trees will be in during the first week in December and we will have the usual spruce trees which can lose their needles when dry and indoors, but are slightly cheaper and have a wonderful Christmassy scent. We also will have Nordman fir trees which hang onto their needles, but do cost a little more. Please let us know if you would like us to reserve a tree for you. We can deliver it for you if you live in Eckington or Bredon.
Have a very Happy Christmas Marion