Wednesday, 31 December 2014

End of Month View December 2014

I do hope that everyone linking in with Helen's End of Month View meme has had a very Merry Christmas and are now veering towards some sort of normality.  If you are one of those, unlike myself, that has bags of stamina and still celebrating - well done you!  Just Hogmanay to get over and done with now.  I'm beginning to feel my age now and am almost embarrassed to say that I don't quite celebrate New Year as I once did.  We Scots are renowned the world over for our, often excessive, exuberant New Year Celebrations.  So much so that it's only us Scots here in the UK that has January 2nd designated as a public holiday...hic!

November 2014 
Until today, we've had a constant frost for the last week or so.  Temperatures haven't dropped too much but they haven't risen either.  It's almost full circle in so far as this bed is concerned.  Work began on preparing the area this week last year.  It's been a quick year.  The border has come a long way and I look forward to seeing how it changes in the coming years.  Committing to this post at the end of each month has I think provided me with a great for reference point.

The bed at the end of November still had a very Autumnal feel too it, with the odd summer flower still remaining.  Most of the perennials were cut back at the beginning of the month and I managed a fair bit of weeding.  I am one of those gardeners that feels the need to cut back plants at this time of the year - the last man standing, so to speak is the Verbena bonariensis. I continue to hope that it will seed itself elsewhere,  success in having this plant set seed in the garden is something that has eluded me for the previous 4 years.  Will 2015 be any different I wonder.

End of Month View December 2014
 
Cornus cuttings
The blackbirds soon made short shrift of those bright orange Pyracantha berries on the back fence.  You can just make out the red stems of the Cornus.  They are kind of difficult to see against the dark brown of the fence.  Which is a shame because those stems really are beautiful when the sun hits them.  I was kindly sent some cutting material a few weeks ago for a yellow stemmed Cornus by Frances up there on Island Threads (thank you Frances) - this is one change I am definitely going to make.  They are currently tucked in under the Pyracantha where they can do what they need to do.  I've never tried Cornus cuttings before, so I am excited to see how they do.  I think the yellow will show up far better than the red against that fence. 

The fence and trellis are still rather bare but that's only to be expected so early on in scheme of things but the Photinia Red Robin I spent so much time being negative about at the beginning of the year has put on a good amount of growth as is already a foot or so above the height of the trellis.  Photinia fraseri Red Robin can be a rather fickle plant here in Scotland so it's best not to form too much of an attachment too it.  Philadelphus Belle Etoile is still holding tight to some of her foliage and I took the opportunity to lop out a few of the older stems.  I am hoping it will benefit the plant by giving it a better shape and those arching stems are not so dense looking next year.     

Other evergreen elements in this border are a Heuchera, Bergenia and Chionochloa.  They are 3 plants I like individually but am not convinced about them being placed together here.  The colours all work well together, they were exactly as I saw in my mind's eye but something is bugging me and I can't quite put my finger on it.

Chionochloa rubra, Bergenia Overture and unnamed Heuchera
The 3 specimens of Papaver orientale Patty's Plum that were planted back in March, promptly curled up their toes and disappeared - I feared I had lost them.  I'm pleased all three have reappeared, they were sizable specimens and were not cheap!  The Cardoon is also still adding a bit of structure, how this will fair when it thaws out is anyone guess, I suspect it will become a mound of mush.  In a normal year I would usually protect the crown of this plant with straw but last year was not normal and this year it's quite sizable and mature enough to cope with the elements.   

Frosty Oriental Poppy foliage
There is little else going on up there right now, the Crocus are of a good height and should be the first too bloom in spring, hopefully the Hellebores won't be far behind them.  I've also spied a little clump of snowdrops that has appeared at the back of this border.  Try as I might, I cannot recall moving any snowdrops up here.   

As the time focussed on this border draws to an end, my thoughts now turn to which part of the garden I want to showcase for 2015.  I have no projects in hand - everything I wanted to achieve in the garden this year has been accomplished.   A new project/opportunity will present itself, this I have no doubt.  The weather has not allowed those niggling ideas in my mind to develop to a full blown project.  On that basis, I have narrowed down two areas of the garden that are contenders for my post come January.  The front garden is currently my favoured area, closely followed by the shady bed I reshuffled in autumn.  We shall see what takes my fance come the end of January.

All that is left now is for me to thank Helen for being such a welcoming host and invite you to join us all in 2015.

Finally, I wanted to share with you the good news I am ending the year with.  I am to be a Grandma for the first time at the beginning of July.  We are excited to welcome a new member to our small family.  Since my brothers kids were all born overseas, it's been a long time since we've had a baby in our midst!  25 years to be precise.  I'm sure it's just like riding a bike.  As well as the baby too look forward to, there's the next 6 months of my eldest niece telling me that if I'm lucky she might move in to help with the baby sitting!  I'm not so sure a screaming baby and a hormonal 13 year old does it for me and luck just doesn't come into it.

All the very best when the New Year comes!  See you all next year!

25 comments:

  1. Happy New Year Angie,
    Thanks for an interesting blog to follow.

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    1. Thanks Gary, looking forward to seeing more from you in 2015. Happy New Year to you and yours too!

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  2. I do like to see a garden looking neat over winter so I tend towards cutting back too, although if you looked at some areas right now you would struggle to believe it. I've really enjoyed seeing that border develop over the year. What you achieved in such a short period of time was wonderful and I'm sure it will look even better next year. Have a wonderful 2015 Angie, especially with a new addition to the family.

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    1. I am so glad I am not the only one with those tendencies Jessica, rotting piles of foliage just don't do it for me. Thanks for the lovely comments over the year, they are most welcome. Wishing you and Mike a good one too!

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  3. This meme seems to have been a great motivator. Do you think you would have accomplished as much without it? Anyway, congrats on a job well done. Looking forward to another year, another project.

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    1. I'm not so sure I'd describe it as a great motivator but it certainly helps you focus and if you are like me, one that tends to plant now, worry later - it's been a great help in so much as I tried to think about placing plants and what I wanted to achieve. Well worth making the effort Rickii - give it a go.
      See you next year :)

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  4. It will be interesting to see which border you choose for next year.
    The Chionochloa is one of my favourite grasses.
    Congratulations on the impending Grandchild. We Grandparents have a duty to make sure they grow up as gardeners!

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    1. The Chionochloa is not one I see on blogs very often Brian. I bought it after falling in love with the specimen that grows in my local nursery. I'm only hoping it does well in the border, it had previously been in a container to keep on top of winter wet. We shall see how it goes.
      Being the only gardener in the family, I will be making it my duty to make sure the wee one has an interest, I worry about my garden when it comes time for me not to be here!

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  5. Dear Angie, I thoroughly enjoyed following your EoMV and see this bed evolve. I think you did a fantastic job and you really have inspired me with your posts. I love the photo of the oriental poppy, I had no idea that this plant will have leaves in winter. Good luck with your cornus cuttings!
    Congratulations to becoming a grandma, hope all goes well with the development of the fetus. I am wishing you happy, healthy and peaceful New Year 2015. May it be a good one for your garden as well! Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. I find the foliage of the oriental poppies do well here in winter Christina, only disappearing in a really bad one. They tend to look far better in autumn than they do at any other time of the year.
      All going well on fetal development so far. She had her 1st scan last week and all is as it should be so far. It's good not to keep the secret now :)

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  6. I really enjoyed the progress of your garden over the year, you did an amazing job. And then the exciting news for coming year: a grandchild in your family. I have two of them and I can tell you it is so nice to have them around here.
    Wish you and your family a healthy, happy and good new gardening year!

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  7. congratulations on your expectant grandchild Angie,
    your garden has developed nicely and how wonderful to have achieved all your projects for the year, I hope the dogwood cuttings do well but remember if they don't I can send a small rooted plant, happy hogmanay and best wishes for 2015, Frances

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  8. I have enjoyed following the development of your flowerbed Angie, it is amazing how quickly it has come together.
    I try to have the half of the garden where the snowdrops are, nice and tidy, then I can take my time over the rest.
    Congratulations on your impending Grandparenthood ( is that a word?) Have a wonderful New Year and good gardening in 2015!

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  9. It has been lovely to follow the progress of your new beds, you have achieved a lot the last year! You might think there is only tweaking left to do, but you just wait a bit and I am sure you’ll get new ideas that you just have to try….
    I completely re-designed my garden in 2011, and now after 3 years I am planning a big change again – many plants will have to move a bit or a lot. Good thing with plants that most are fine with being moved!
    I wish you a great gardening year 2015, a happy New Year, and most importantly, congratulations on the new addition to the family.

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  10. You've done such a great job with your garden Angie! I'm impressed by how tidy everything looks there in December. I have no doubt that you'll come up with a project or 2 or 3 in the new year, at least until being a grandmother absorbs all your time. Best wishes for a very happy 2015!

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  11. Congratulations grandma. I hope 2014 brings many good things your way Fingers crossed for the poppy.,

    I

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  12. It's been enjoyable to follow your progress in this area of the garden and quite helpful too. On your threesome, I would move the Bergenia and try another option. Congratulations on your new addition! It's wonderful that the new year holds such promise. Happy 2015!

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  13. Your border has come a long way since the removal of the shed a year ago. What an amazing amount of work and it's looking good, even in winter. You should be proud. Those cornus cutting should take. I did it the first time last year and just shoved them in some soil and forgot about them and I ended up with about 28 plants! I know you are further north, but I would have thought you shouldn't have a problem.

    Congrats on being a Grandma, and happy 2015 to you Angie.

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  14. Anche questa è la magia delle piante perenni! Qui sembra nudo, mai ci si immaginerebbe quando diventi bello poi in primavera il tuo giardino! Complimenti e un augurio di buon 2015 :)

    Un saluto!

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  15. I've never tried Cornus cuttings so will be interested to see how you get on.
    Congratulations on your news, how exciting although the thought of a screaming baby doesn't really appeal to me!!
    I hope you do join in again in 2015, it doesn't have to be a project I sometimes use it just to see how a border progresses during a year.

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  16. Brrrrrrrrr Angie it does look cold though it seems that you have escaped the snow that we had. Good luck with the cornus cuttings - I agree with your thoughts that yellow stems will look more effective there than red. Now would be a good time to take root cuttings of your 'Patty's Plum' :) I hope that the little one will have inherit some gardening genes.

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  17. I am impressed by how tidy and organised you are. It all does you great credit, you have worked so hard to achieve the effect you want. Well done. I hope 2015 will be a wonderful one I am sure it will be; how exciting about the baby.

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  18. Your garden looks so tidy, Angie! I'm looking forward to seeing how you get on with the cuttings - usually it's very easy, just Winter Beauty refused to root. Congrats on the good news. Wish you a fabulous new year :)

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  19. I've loved watching your new border evolve over the past year Angie, I am so impressed at what you have achieved, and I'm sure you will work out what is niggling you about the Heuchera/Bergenia/Chionochloa combination. Perhaps a contrasting foliage shape between the Heuchera and Bergenia? Ophiophogon springs to mind...

    Good luck with your cornus cuttings, I realy love my yellow cornus, it does indeed stand out against the surroundings far better than my red stemmed cornus. I look forward to watching your gardening progress in the coming year - Happy 2015!

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  20. Congrats Angie on the coming grandchild....and I love the garden as it is now resting. Lovely Cornus Frances sent and it will look very nice there. Wishing you a Happy New Year!

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