As I crossed the lawn this morning I stooped to wipe the mud from my fingers and felt the soft spring like growth of the grass and warmth in the December dew in my winter garden. This month the garden has grown quiet and spare in the short days of gentle dusk like light and I’ve appreciated the shapes and the angles of the formal planting even more, as they are revealed in the play of the low sunshine that occasionally dances on the plants. With the festive season the garden came into the house too over Christmas in the shape of a homemade swag of foliage to play a part in our festive home
This month in the garden
Ah this month the garden is stirring already, with the spring bulbs shooting up far too early and my mistakes all too evident in the shape of a hybrid Echiums leering at me from a topiary pot where it has taken root. I can repent at leisure now of course, as the beast spreads it wings and I can take my time to remember each time I walked passed it.
With a promise to myself that I would attend to it when I was wearing my gardening gloves or had my trowel in my hand. In the mean time it quietly grew, tactfully, quietly, with discreet good manners, until it had established its hold on the pot. Now we’ve reached an impasse and we’ve have to try to prop the pot up to balance it against the wind and of course I’m just not hard hearted enough to cut such a lovely plant down although I don’t really want it there. I’d swear it is saying “Well what are you going to do about it?” as it sits totally out of place and yet dramatically framing a corner of the courtyard as a nice prelude to the glossy Fatsia in the corner……………in fact it really does look quite nice actually! “Sigh” I’ll never make a gardener!
Christmas in the Garden
This month I used some of the evergreen foliage from the garden to make some evergreen swags for the house using foliage pruned from two of our Holies: – Ilex Silver Milkmaid and Golden King, entwined with bay sprigs to form a garland and remind me of the green blanket of our garden that cocoons our home throughout the year.
To make the homemade garland
This is my self taught method. First choose evergreen bushes and refrain from pruning them in the autumn I used two sorts of variegated hollies offset with a glossy dark green bay but have used Leylandii pruning in the past given to me by my father (who always had rather a lot!) and a few sprigs of Rosemary give a gorgeous scent to the room.
- I then took lengths of baler twine (green garden string would probably be better) and made a loop for hanging at one end secured by a knot before coiling the twine tightly along the first branch.
- When halfway along add the next frond and continue like this until you reach the required length – measuring would be good at this point but the voyage of adventure is more fun by guess work
- I already have a row of discrete brass hook attached to the bottom of our beams and so wobbling now on a chair, place the loop over the first one and then stretch garland to the final hook before looping up to the middle one I find about fifteen feet is more than enough to wrestle with at any one time.
- Now stand back and look for exposed string and cut smaller pieces of foliage to cover it, building up a balance of variegated and green foliage as you go.
- Finally dress with Christmas ornaments looking up into the garland for strong places I found the projecting ends of the overlapping foliage were best. I used some gilded plaster cherubs found at RJ Supplies at Praa sands (An end of line discount store if you don’t live in Cornwall!)
And after Christmas the new diary begins!
I must say that this morning after a couple of unusually long spells indoors I was more than ready to walk across the garden and let the soft Cornish air flush away the Christmas Turkey and dream of the Summer days to come! Happy gardening and I’ll be back with my January round up in the New Year