Monday, December 29, 2014

December in the Garden

It is easy to think that an Exotic Garden in winter may not be the most exotic of places, tropical plants and winter don't mix well after all... or do they?

As we have said in the past we want the garden to look good in winter, not wanting to have lots of shelters and plastic all over the place. As a result we grow the more tender plants in pots and move them into the greenhouses. However what remains, pretty much has to cope with everything a British Winter has to through at it. We do of course have some protection on things like tree ferns, and if exceptionally cold weather is forecast then some fleece will go over plants that need it, to be removed once the risk has passed.

I took a walk though the garden armed with a camera...

The fish are fine with winter, if its too cold they will go down to the bottom of the pond to conserve energy and keep away from the surface, but if some food is on offer they soon re-appear!

Around the pond the raised beds are looking good for the time of the year, some of the herbaceous plants have died back or look a little scruffy but with plants such as the Schefflera below, it still has an exotic feel. 


This Aloe polyphylla has been planted out for several years now, has been snowed on, trodden on by the firemen in 2013 and has sailed through, getting bigger each year. We are hoping to see it flower - maybe next year!


The bed to the side of the Aloe has filled out with the palms and yuccas. We probably need to do something with the Yucca in the centre of the photo as it has leaned out into the way of the path. I suspect we will try and push it a little more upright in early spring, to give it a full season to get over any root damage we may cause.



The cycads usually stay outside for most of winter. They do sometimes get moved if cold weather if expected, but generally go through winter without any problems.


After rebuilding the red pergola earlier in the year it gives a much needed shot of colour in the winter.


The middle patio looks bare compared to the summer. The replacement plants are yet to fill the space and we had a couple of larger bananas in pots that went into the greenhouse.
Zantedeschia white giant

The Zantedeschia 'white giant' has brushed off several small frosts so far, I wonder how it will cope with the rest of winter.


The bottom section of the garden is home to several of the bamboos and treeferns, all still looking tropical and reasonably lush, long may it continue!


The Same however can't be said about the Gunnera, after the first frosts the leaves turned brown and are now folder over the crowns to offer frost protection for the rest of winter. The goldfish in this pond don't seem to have realised its winter and are energetic as ever!


Seeds on the Schefflera taiwaniana


Still all green on the Tree ferns

Arums and ferns

As the year draws to a close we are full of excitement for the new year, lots of plans for the garden, and trips to gardens around the world! But for now lets hope the rest of winter is as kind as the first part.

Gaz :)

36 comments :

  1. All very exotic, but I do see a small touch of the Pacific Northwest with the moss.

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    1. Ohh we do like moss in the garden Ricki :)

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  2. Our first proper frost of the season last night, it was all looking a bit different this morning. Certainly different to your lovely lush jungle!

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    1. Frost was so thick this morning here Jessica and temps didn't climb up that much either. One more day of this then afterwards milder weather again, yay! :)

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  3. I'm always surprised at how resilient gardens and the plants in them can be. I hope you avoid any prolonged winter freezes - scrambling to cover plants or take them in after a hard day of work can't be fun. I've experienced very few frosts while living in the South Bay area of Los Angeles but there have been enough to know frustration at the damage they can do.

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    1. So thick with frost again this morning Kris but the forecasts says this will be it for now and milder weather is set to return again :))

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  4. Isn't it great when what you've done works? It looks so healthy. The microclimate in your garden would protect it to a large degree with the water from the fish ponds and the tree cover, plus of course, choosing temperate rainforest plants. (not that I need to tell you guys all that) Your tree ferns are Dicksonia Antarctica aren't they. They come from Tasmania which gets pretty cold for Australia (even snows) so they should survive Winter fairly well.

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    1. They are indeed Missy :) funny enough of the tree ferns exported here the ones to look out for where the ones that came from Tasmania as they are supposed to be hardier than the ones from Victoria

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  5. Your garden looks lush and exotic even in winter! Fingers crossed for a continued mild winter although our weather forecaster is calling for temperatures well below freezing tonight.

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    1. Hopefully it will turn out to be not that cold Peter :)

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  6. Winter in your garden looks wonderful, of course. My tree fern got hauled inside tonight, mid to low 20's for the next 3 or 4 nights.

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    1. That's quite cold Loree, hopefully it won't be any colder or longer than predicted, cross fingers!

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  7. Still lots of green in your garden. It looks wonderful. Almost everything here in southern Wisconsin is brown or grey. Can't wait to get back to the Pacific Northwest for a few days!

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    1. I can almost hear PNW calling you back Evan, with the greenery and milder temps there to tempt you :)

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  8. Your garden is so lush, even in the dead of winter!

    How many koi do you have now? I'm sure you mentioned that before but I can't remember.

    And your Aloe polyphylla is about as happy as any I've seen in "captivity." Your climate definitely suits its needs!

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    1. Thanks Gerhard! I'm glad the aloe is doing well considering it also got crushed during the fire last year.

      Still don't know how any koi we've got buy aware of any of them are missing. I suppose I can always count them :)

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  9. Your lush green winter garden tour is a good tutorial for plant selection. Our summers are very different but my similarly mild winters can give way to a freeze or even a dusting of snow. You've created a garden that can be enjoyed in all seasons. I'm impressed by the Aloe polyphylla planted in ground.

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    1. Thanks Shirley :) we made sure to put in lots of plants that will give interest in the winter too. I'm glad the Aloe is doing well, considering it got crushed during the fire last year too

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  10. I love how alive your garden looks despite the season. I'm taking notes here, I want to have a beautiful garden to enjoy all winter long. Those tree ferns are calling to me.

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    1. Thanks Megan! Tree ferns, if you have the chance to get them do so as they look fab in the garden :)

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  11. The sheer volume of evergreen things does help enormously in mitigating the effects of frost. I've been planting more evergreens every year in the hope that the garden looks interesting even in the depths of winter. Unfortunately heavy snow will trash my efforts and I am then faced with the task of cutting back yet more plants. It is, however, worth the effort. Your garden looks considerably better than mine which resembles the Battle of the Somme :-)

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    1. You're far too humble Don, your garden is gorgeous!

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  12. Your garden looks vibrant despite December, always a sign of good design. Aloe polyphylla looks wonderful! Mine is--still alive...I guess that is something.

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    1. Thanks Gail! Hopefully your Aloe polyphylla will thrive and do better this year :)

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  13. I still think your garden is 4x the size that it actually is -- I don't know how you pack it all in there! So nice to have mild winters...

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    1. Indeed Alan :) space is still a premium and try to be creative so we can pack in as much as we could.

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  14. Everything looks beautiful even in the dead of winter. Happy New Year to you both and Meow!

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  15. We had our first frosts of the year this week here in the wine valley; many weeks later than usual. I beleive some of the plants have hardened off a bit as they sailed through with no damage. Your A. polyphylla is splendid ! I still await the spiral on mine, but have at least recognized that it appreciates more water than most of my other succulents, as it always looks better after the winter rains start.

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    1. Glad to hear your plants sailed through the recent cold spell there fine Kathy :) Aloe polyphylla certainly does appreciate more water than other aloes.

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  16. "Lots of plans for the garden" - yes, that sounds like you two! Your winter garden looks wonderful, I do love the rebuilt red pergola, and the way it injects that shot of excitement, but mostly I just love the contrasting foliage textures and colours. Delightful. I look forward to reading about your foreign adventures, nursery trips and garden plans in the coming year. I'm already looking forward to your take on Chelsea...

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    1. Thanks Janet :) it will be another year of garden adventures!

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  17. Happy New Year to you both. Your garden is looking beautiful even in the middle of winter and I do love the red pergola. Looking forward to reading about all the new developments and garden visits in 2015.

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  18. With your tree ferns and other evergreens, your garden retains its exotic spirit. I am impressed with the Aloe polyphylla. I had no idea that aloes are hardy. I brought my tiny collection of succulents inside to protect them from our winter rains. Portland, Oregon has nothing on us. We have had over a foot (30.5 cm.) of rain in the past week, and I fear they would rot.

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    1. There are only a few aloes that we can grow outside here Debs. Still safer to bring your collection under cover :)

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