The season, not the blogger. Although you can be sure the blogger is never far behind.
Winter has arrived. Bad enough in any event but before the end of November? Surely that’s not playing fair.
One morning last week we awoke to a world covered in white.
Hail. Which took a long time to melt.
And then this week it’s been frost.
Even a Master Of Denial (that’ll be me then) can ignore it no longer. The clear blue skies do make a change from the rain. I suppose. They say that if the soil clings to your wellies you really shouldn’t be walking on it. Well, I’ve been doing that for over a month now. But when the clay turns to a consistency somewhere between bread dough and butter left out of the fridge it really is pretty pointless. My feet sink six inches with every step. Weeds emerge from the ground with an audible ploop, their roots encased in a thick clod of muck that is never coming off.
The ‘other’ Acer Osakazuki.
Not the one I normally photograph. This is its ugly sister. Sadly decapitated by a frost a couple of years back and then withered to half its previous size the following year, I am trying to nurse it back to health. The least I can do really as it’s probably my fault for planting it in too exposed a position. And then adding insult to injury by letting it become overrun by the brambles. Now it has a proud new shoot, turning the vivid red so beloved of the variety. Maybe there is hope after all.
Molinia caerulea ‘Transparent’, caught in a ray of early morning sunlight it appears illuminated from within.
Ajuga reptans ‘Burgundy Glow’
Meconopsis cambrica. The Welsh poppy.
The woodland edge, end of last month.
The woodland edge today, standing at the back of the previously cleared space.
Bramble wrestling is extending deeper into the wood. A little more progress this month, before the wet weather set in.
Running through this part of the woodland, the 84 steps.
I noticed last year how well snowdrops grow on the bank alongside the steps. Unmunched. Unlike the expensive ‘specials’ cosseted in the more formal borders of the garden. So a bit of subterfuge is called for here too. As the wild snowdrops were dying back I excavated some of the more isolated clumps in among the tree roots and replaced them with the specials. Four varieties in all. Their newly elevated position should be of benefit too. Sharper drainage. And allowing for closer inspection as we pass up and down the steps. So far so good.. no sign of disturbance. Provided the squirrels refrain from making off with the labels all should be well.
On the other side of the snowdrop bank, there’s been progress on the relocated rhododendron bed.
This area, like the woodland, was a tangled mass of brambles and Enchanter’s Nightshade just a few weeks ago. It won’t be all rhododendrons though. No, that would be too much. Other shrubs have found their way in here: camellias, hydrangeas and witch hazels to name but a few. I hope, in due course, they will flourish and make this area pretty much able to look after itself. Grasses are already providing light relief and a bit of movement. At the far end a newly planted drift of Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ should give good contrast. Miscanthus and robust perennials such as Monarda will jostle for position in here too.
Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Robert’, covered in flower buds
Should be a picture come January.
And so the seasonal clock has turned another quarter. Maybe, just maybe, the winter sun will shine favourably upon me this year and the garden fork reappear from the shed some time before April. That would be nice. For the time being I shall just have to be content with spilling upholsterer’s horsehair liberally over the dining room floor. And clogging up the Dyson. Toodle pip.
What will the start of winter be looking like for them?