Winter’s Here – That’s Official!

Winter is here – that’s official. Well, at least in my garden it is. Yesterday, 2nd December, saw the first heavy frost here and it put my garden to sleep in an icy, if pretty, crystalline blanket. Gone are the colourful dahlias and marigolds that were holding on; frozen, limp and black are the remaining fuchsia flowers, and even the winter pansies have taken a battering and are looking very sorrow for themselves. But they will recover to bring colourful patches to brighten the short winter days, as will the other plants in the garden recover come spring.

100_5660Despite it being the worst summer on record for rain, the seeds scattered about, mainly the wild flowers I love so much, were the only plants that failed to grow. The established ones, and the perennials in my little patch of heaven have had a good year and thrived. The roses were magnificent, if short-lived, the lilies were sublime and filled the patio with perfume for weeks, the fuchsias sung out with their pendulous flowers and the nasturtiums were brilliant. The pots of geraniums and petunias were gorgeous and the hanging baskets the best ever. But all the wet weather meant I couldn’t enjoy many mid-morning coffees outside, sitting and relaxing, taking in all the sights, smells and sounds, and I didn’t see my little field mouse that often, although I knew he was there from the few glimpses of him I did manage. And most mornings as I ventured across the soggy grass to refill the bird feeder, I spied the hedgehog’s little black calling card.

100_5080Many of the so-say experts professed it was a disastrous year for the insects, with very few bees, few birds and even less butterflies. They obviously didn’t know about my garden, for if they had, these experts would have seen bees and bumble bees almost in swarms, the air constantly buzzing. The birds, particularly my gang of sparrows were always in the shrubbery, the flock now well over thirty. And as for the butterflies, this year we lost count of them, seeing many species we haven’t seen fluttering about for many years. They are as elusive as the Val Doonican song of many years ago, for try as I might to photograph them, the moment they sensed I was near they would all fly off. Either that, or they are camera shy.

dreamstimefree_51059We have growing over the garden fence from a neighbour, several buddleia bushes. I wondered whether it was these, along with my own black prince buddleia, a beautiful deep purple colour, encouraging the butterflies in. But when studying these creatures, most were to be found on my erysimum plant – a perennial summer form of wallflower – for they seemed to always congregate on this plant. At one stage we counted fifteen butterflies in the garden, and this excluded the common cabbage whites which, oddly enough, were rarely in the garden this summer. Of course, all this meant there were plenty of caterpillars chomping their way through the greenery. But I didn’t mind, they are next year’s beauties and the birds have enjoyed the extra food.

So whilst it all looks dead and forlorn out there, it’s given me a chance to reflect on what has been, and already I’m planning how it will look next year.

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16 responses to “Winter’s Here – That’s Official!

  1. Beautiful pictures Kit. The yard at Jubilee is a lot smaller and the woman that had it before me quite a gardener. She’s even got name plates on most of the flowers, shrubs and grasses. I’m looking forward to spring to see what’s all out there.

    It sounds like we had the same sort of summer you did. It started really slow with a lot of rain. Then though short it finally came through and we had the additional blessing of a beautiful Indian Summer.

    • I always think acquiring a new garden is so much fun – that expectancy to see what grows come the spring. Let’s home next summer is a darned sight better than the one that failed to show this year. 🙂

  2. Good for you for being so optimistic about your garden. When I lived in Virginia, I was always sad to see my flowers die in the fall and literally counted the days until I could start to see signs of bulbs coming back up again. Now that I’m retired and living in Florida, I have not only beautiful weather but also beautiful flowers year round! Life is good! 🙂

    • I hate it when the flowers die in autumn, it makes me feel so sad. Now I go exploring looking for the first new shoots to poke through. I am envious of where you live, I would be in my element with lovely weather and plants all year. Enjoy every moment. 🙂

  3. Your garden and yard sound like an oasis, Kit. I’m so glad the weather didn’t keep it down. It seems to have thrived. We had many things that wouldn’t grow well, and others (like our peach tree) that were overzealous in their growth. A strange year, but with blessings nonetheless, eh? Thank you for reminding me,

    • Strange year indeed, Laurie. I have had plants flowering out of season and others giving up early – yet each one has provided pleasure. It is all too easy to bemoan the poor summer we’ve had and forget the beauty that is always there, regardless. 🙂

  4. With the]intense heat we had the last few summers,I let my garden get chocked an over-grown;I always had it nice.I have promised it that I will do better next year.I already stared,by clearing some out and I made sure we had fall-bloomers.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Intense heat – something we’ve not had this year, only intense rain. Perhaps next year we can share it around. Never seems to be a happy medium, Tonette. The only constant here is wind. 🙂

  5. Lovely pictures. I bet it passes the winter in a nice way to make plans for the next summer. I can picture you poring over seed catalogs. Enjoy the dormant phase.

  6. Kit, I love your description of your garden. What a sanctuary it must be for you, as well as the birds and butterflies!

    • Thank you, Theresa. It’s a sanctuary for me and the birds who have become very friendly and brave over the years. They fly off my anyone else is the garden but stay put when ever I am out there. They obviously know the hand that feeds them. Roll on Spring! 🙂

  7. “my little patch of heaven” … I love that 🙂 I’m always inspired to get to grips with my own garden whenever I visit yours, Kit. You always have so much gorgeous colour, whereas mine is an abundance of green shrubs 🙂 Yes, indeedy, roll on spring!

  8. Valerie J. Patterson

    I enjoy hearing about–and seeing photos of–your garden, Kit. It’s such a lovely spot, and it has got to be a huge source of creative inspiration for you. While I truly enjoy wintertime, I hope it passes quickly for you so that spring arrives in a burst of beautiful color in your garden!! 😛

  9. Pingback: New English Garden Bee Plant – Buddleia “Lo And Behold ©” Ice Chip « Romancing the Bee

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