Here’s a copy of my gardening column from the December issue of Eastlife Magazine, which is a fabulous magazine all about ‘Living life in the East’. The full version of the magazine can be viewed online at www.eastlife.couk
As I write the trees are adorned in their golden autumnal crowns, which thin with each day as their spent leaves flutter to the ground. We have been blessed with an incredibly mild autumn so far, and it does feel like Christmas has come charging out of nowhere.
Our local farmer has planted a field of winter wheat so whilst the various oaks and willows will look start by the time you read this, they will at least have a lush green background to set them off.
Like many of us, I am a great lover of flowers and bursts of colour throughout the garden. In the height of spring and early summer it is very easy to get carried away at your local garden centre, buying anything and everything that is in bloom. We have all done it and it is exactly what the garden centres bank on us doing. The real talent lies in taking some time to consider what you want the garden to look like in the depths of winter. The best gardens are those offering points of interest throughout the year.
We are very lucky to have an evergreen backbone to our rose garden with the formal hedging provided by both Taxus buccata and Ilex crenata. In time it would be lovely to add a few Siberian dogwoods (Cornus alba Sibirica) whose brilliant, bright red stems look particularly striking against a stark winter backdrop. Last year I acquired some Daphne shrubs which I potted up and placed close to our entrances. My favourite is Daphne odora Aureomarginata. In an attempt to attract the early pollinators, it is adorned in clusters of heavily scented pretty pink blooms in early spring. However, it is the beautiful cream margined leaves which I find particularly striking, especially in the depths of winter. Daphne’s are notoriously hard to propagate, hence they come with quite a hefty price tag. Frustratingly, mine have struggled with the heat this year and I was faced with no choice but to give them a rather brutal prune and now wait patiently, with green fingers firmly crossed.
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and all the best for the new year ahead.
The latest copy of EastLife magazine can be viewed online at www.eastlife.co.uk