Sunday, December 05, 2010

Winter Gardening

Another lovely day in the garden! After being cooped in the house and not being able to do much in the garden with the recent cold spell and snow in here, the weather has been mild enough this weekend to melt most of the snow and give some relief to the plants, not to mention the gardeners!

The snow and series of frosts have finally put all of the herbaceous and deciduous plants into winter dormancy, so lots of tidying was done, cutting back dead vegetation before they rot and go disgusting, and gathering some more leaves that have fallen since the last time we tidied up. We have to be careful that these leaves from deciduous plants don't swamp out some of the smaller, understory plants. Rather than remove them all, we just reduce and redistribute them. Makes a free mulch, not to mention bringing back organic goodness to the soil which is how it should be.

It takes awhile to get used to gardening in the winter I must say, you'll have to wrap up warm and get used to a little bit of freeze on your fingertips in the process, stopping only when it gets too painful. I could wear gloves all the time but it's never the same, and I could never seem to do a good job on more delicate tasks whilst wearing them.

It's also during this period you appreciate the evergreens; beautiful exotic (and not so exotic!) plants that look lovely and green all your round despite the cold weather, providing structure and cheer to the garden on cold, dreary days. And with lesser distraction I get the chance to inspect them more closely too!

The nursery area in summer.
I also spent some time this morning tidying up in our utility area, which most of the time I refer to as the 'nursery'. It's the least photogenic part of our garden because it is what it is, a utility area. But a utility area doesn't have to be untidy, and I pride myself of being able to maintain this area as neat as possible.

And this utility area is also our nursery where I can group together plants that are still to be planted out, as well as stack new acquisitions. At least by being in the same place I'm more able to take care of them more efficiently whilst I think of places to eventually plant them in. Not to mention that being grouped together, you get a sense of pleasure looking at a plant collection.

The nursery obviously looks so much nicer in the summer, but for now the cloche has to be in position there to protect some of them. Today I tucked in some small specimens of big leafed rhododendrons such as R. macabeanum and R. sinogrande, hardy here but since I've got plenty of space in the cloche I might as well pop them in there.

And our lovely kitten Knickers has kept us company as usual, or rather climbed and explored about in the area where we are at any moment. Although adventurous, quite a relief he's been sensible enough not to stray too far from us. And no more pond accidents this time!

And today I've actually seen him go up a tree for the first time, and got back down again on his own :)



  1. It takes internal fortitude to venture forth into the cold in Winter...I usually resort to reading, listening to music, sewing and knitting...I am a wimp. Thanks for the peek into the garden and for sharing Knicker's adventures.

  2. I agree with what you said about the cold. It takes a certain amount of resolve to venture out. But usually once I've gotten off my duff I enjoy puttering around outside, even if it's less than balmy. Beautiful photos, as always!!

  3. Knickers is mighty cute. The gardener (Gaz?) looks very happy since it looks like her is doing a lot of work.

  4. I like your thoughts on winter gardening. It is an advantage in some ways to really focus in on what's of interest and appreciate just it rather than be overwhelmed with choices and not really view any plant closely. Carolyn

  5. Way to go, true gardeners venturing out in the cold like you do. Knickers [love that name] looks somewhat like a cross between my Bootsie, and the Next Door Kitty.

    Thanks for the fave, I've left you a message on Blotanical.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  6. Dear Gaz and Mark, Everything does look remarkably tidy in your garden in spite of the appalling weather conditions that we have experienced. I do so agree that even 'working' parts of the garden can be kept smart...otherwise it is all too depressing to look at.

    Knickers is absolutely seems very strange to write this!!!

  7. I was looking at the bamboo behind knickers in the first photo. It looks very healthy - obviously it can take the cold. Your garden is amazing.

  8. It is still far to frozen here in Worcestershire to do any gardening even cutting back. The ground cracks as you walk over it so I think I had better stay in the warm for a while!

  9. Knickers says Meow (Hi)and Meow Meow (Thank you) to everyone :)

    The gardener in the photo is yours truly Mark :)

    Edith, your last sentence made me laugh! Try saying it out loud, hehe!

    Winter seems to be a long season in here, lingering till March on some years. The cold spell we've just had was alot earlier that we expected, it doesn't usually dip down that low till January. And it's only early December. It feels like it's going to be a long stretch till spring this time.

    The bamboo behind Knickers is Chusquea culeou, a clumping bamboo and is perfectly hardy though. It's one of my favourites, beautiful habit and distinctive looking.

  10. It doesn't look so cold. Not like here in Minnesota. Where are you exactly?

  11. Very Nice. I love the personal touch of your gardening site. Great photos too. My sister and I write aboutAll things Gardening here. I will bookmark your site for it's valuable information. Thank You!

  12. Hi Mark and Gaz.
    Thanks be my 21th follower. Great post here. Wish I can be there to feel the experience, winter in tropical garden...Very interesting!
    I also like your cute ;-)

  13. Thanks for the comments, glad you enjoyed the post.

  14. I've enjoyed viewing your site, and I had to tell you that Knickers is adorable.. Your gardens looks so lush and tropical--then I saw the snow dusting post! It's cold here also in the middle of the USA--can't wait until spring!

  15. Hi Mark, your cats are really beautiful. BTW, you look Asian! Maybe you came from the country where i am now.

  16. A great blog, boys! Very happy to discover if from France. I'm a big fan of exotic plants as well... Winters are really too long from this side of the continent...

  17. Merci Gabriel! At least the summers are much warmer across the channel :)

    Looking forward to your updates!


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