December thoughts: Six on Saturday (04 Dec 21)

Gardens Illustrated recently published a post on Facebook detailing things to do in the garden in December, with the headline that December is ‘a busy, optimistic month’ for the gardener. The author of the article, Rosie Fyles, is the head gardener at Ham House, England, where things may indeed be busy and optimistic. I have to say, in all honesty, it’s very cold, wet and windy, the garden is drab and am not convinced that we should try to convince ourselves to be busy and/or optimistic! On top of which, the Omicron variant of Covid is dampening the spirits of everyone apart from those who live in constant denial (you know who I mean), and here in Belgium we’re under new, tighter restrictions: no Christmas parties, mask-wearing for six-year-olds up, schools breaking up early or returning to hybrid learning with virtual classes, generally keeping things low-key. So, better to accept that winter is here, hunker on down and cook lots of comfort food – I’ve just come from baking an apple and blackberry pie, which I intend to eat with lashings of cream. A brief foray into the garden to check on the chickens meant that I did stop to pick some leaves off the pond, but then my hands got very, very cold. I scurried back indoors like a rodent to its den.

So there are no rich pickings for Six on Saturday, and I may take a break from it, but not quite yet, mainly because I feel like writing about the garden even if I don’t want to spend much time in it right now! Here are a few hastily snapped wintry vignettes:

1 Snow. It only lasted about three hours. A bit disappointing, as there wasn’t even time to throw a snowball, but maybe this is just the beginning. If anyone remembers my neighbour’s massive purple beech from three weeks ago, now that those lovely leaves have gone, you can see it’s a group of four trees (to the left of the photo).

2. Rose hips. The nameless yellow climbing rose that hugs a corner of the house produces these rotund orange hips. This poses a dilemma, as you’re supposed to prune climbing roses so the roots don’t get rocked about too much by the winter winds, but then you’d lose the hips. Perhaps I should use them on my Christmas wreath.

3 Lunaria annua seed casings. Honesty is a lovely plant, both in flower and in seed, and I’m so glad I planted a few along the front path. It would be nice if they self-seeded but am not sure they will, my self-seeding rates on the clay here are pretty poor.

4 Hypericum kalmianum ‘Gemo’. Another plant that’s pretty in two seasons, it keeps this neat twiggy structure all winter. There’s a pleasing contrast between the golden sepals and the brown seed heads that point eagerly upwards.

5 Geranium Rozanne. This one is both busy and optimistic, just like the Ham House gardener. Nobody told her it’s winter. The photo was taken pre-snow, so she might have taken note by now.

6 Veg bed. Last Sunday, when the weather was less severe, I got out and deposited a load of garden compost on this section of the veg bed. Then I let the chickens out for a wander in the garden and they had some fun hunting for worms, digging the compost in for me, but possibly also digging up a few garlic cloves I had planted here.

So there we have it. The Propagator as ever hosts some great Six on Saturday posts from far and wide that are bound to cheer us up. It’s looking a bit milder today, so I might try to be ‘busy’ and rake up leaves, pack away dahlia tubers that have been drying out in the shed or go and buy a few pavers to place en route to the chicken run, which is getting muddy. Perhaps December can be busy after all.

24 thoughts on “December thoughts: Six on Saturday (04 Dec 21)

  1. A lovely post! I would normally feel ‘busy and optimistic’ in December, but in recent years we’ve had so much rain that it’s hard/impossible to keep going outside. Oh, for some beautiful chickens like yours!

      1. I wish I could. We have been over this a lot in our minds. Unfortunately our friends are all elderly and the garden is on such a steep slope that we’d never be able to go away. Nobody to put them in and keep them safe from foxes at night. Seeing your pictures made me run through that whole conversation in my head again! So I will just enjoy yours!!!

      2. It’s true that it’s a commitment and you do need neighbours to help out when you are away. Hopefully some athletic youngsters will move in near you soon! I guess that’s the trouble with country life sometimes, different demographic.

  2. Rozanne is amazing, isn’t she! Mine has given up for now though…. well we had quite a bit more snow, which melted but now it is snowing again. Not sure about being busy and optimistic either, but then I must be as I planted bulbs and trimmed my buddleia. 😉 I remember admiring your hypericum before. The seedheads are quite different to any I grow and I hope I will come across yours one day. Keep smiling Sel. Spring will come! 😃

  3. Chickens always make me smile. I almost featured the seedheads of Honesty (Luna annua) today. I’ve found that it self seeds very easily and I have clay soil so fingers are crossed for you. I end up pulling up quite a bit of it. The Hypericum kalmianum ‘Gemo’ is very pretty.

  4. The chicken photos are lovely- such pretty feathers. I’m none too keen to be out in the garden in Winter for very long, although I do feel a little guilty that I may be neglecting some important task. I suppose professional gardeners don’t have that option and have to find things to keep themselves busy. But doing Six on Saturday does get me out there looking at what’s going on, even if at first glance there doesn’t seem to be a lot.
    I love the snowy view too. It totally transforms the landscape.

  5. Winter is clearly coming…. Here there was only some wet snow that didn’t stay put. The autumn colors have all disappeared and the trees are completely bare. Apparently there are still some flowers in your garden that manage to provide some color 🙂
    Enjoy the cake you baked…. there is now more to experience in the kitchen than in the garden – LOL
    Greetings and have a nice weekend Sel.

  6. Hi Sel, the flowers of geranium ‘Roxanne’ are really very bright in winter. You are lucky ! There was no snow here, just a short time a night with a light frost. 250 km further south change everything !

  7. I really enjoyed your post today – had to laugh at “…I don’t want to spend much time in it right now” I look out at my garden every day and even nip out to hang the bird feeders out, but I am not often tempted to spend much time in it, although there are some things that need doing (weeding and clearing up the dead leaves/foliage that has blown around), but today is freezing cold and extremely windy so I am visiting blogs and then I shall go and read a book!

    1. Glad it amused you! And I thought I would spend some time in the garden today but it rained for most of the day. I think we just have to accept that gardening is off the agenda for now! Like you I am reading blogs and books instead.

  8. The chickens have been a great hit! And Rozanne is truly amazing. Winter gardens are interesting – I have seen a few recently (twitter and magazines) where they look magical and glorious and then I look at my soggy borders and wonder what I am doing wrong! Onwards we go!

  9. Yes, Covid dominates everything here also with a return to restrictions though, to be quite honest, we have continued to live a life apart as much as possible and have avoided social contact almost completely. We are now experts on online shopping etc. and the garden and walking are our pastimes these days.

  10. Hi selwa love the bantams so homly feelings with these and lv the blue geranium cheerful we have a rare morning of sunshine ad no wind the sea was still angry for the storm yesterday but great smell. Keep cheerful

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