End of Month Review - December 2014

2014 is ending as cold and frosty.  The last few days has seen deep overnight frosts and even a smattering of snow on Boxing Day.  I decided this time to take the photos for this post whilst it was still frosty rather than wait for a thaw.
The review of the garden starts in the driveway, where it looks cold and the actual work that has been done is barely visible.  As we get closer to Spring I am hoping that this work will be more evident.
The Knot Garden is making me happy.  It looks like a Knot Garden now and the frost always sets it off well.  Though I notice as I look at this picture that the lavender edging does need a trim.
The quince hedge is getting more hedgy and is currently flowering away the best I have ever seen it flower.  I have started to gently shape the hedge now which involves keeping the tallest branches to the height I want it to grow to and the horizontal branches to the width I want.  I am hoping that this will help it bush out and so far, so good.
At the top of the side lawn the Magnolia looks cold but ready for Spring and the variegated Rhamnus, bought so many years ago from Hidcote Manor, is really doing well.  After years of being in a pot and some fairly harsh re-shaping last year, it is responding well.
Into the garden and I shall start unusually at the view from the greenhouse.  The veg beds are cold.
In the greenhouse Miss Havisham's whirlings are still doing their job.  It has been below freezing for a few nights now and the tenders are still looking ok when I peek under their wrapping.
Further into the garden, with the Rose Hyde Hall hedge to my left and the Pond Border on the right, it looks a find frosty sight.
The frost shows the shapes of the garden well.  I love this view from the formal lawn through to the Prairie Borders.
The Prairie Borders look a little flattened but are still making me happy.  The skeletons of the echinops and verbena bonariensis are making the wildlife happy too.
In the Coal Bunker border the skeletons of the cardoons are providing wonderful structure.
I like height in the borders and when I look around in winter and see the tallness that remains it does make me very happy.
The Woodland Border and Bog Garden, that sort of meld into one, are less distinct in the frost, but the Bog Garden is still a relatively new area and is getting better year on year.  It works better in the Spring and Summer when the ferns are in their growing season.
The teasel patch has not been that great this year, but it has still been good and the finches love it.  I can see from the rosettes of new growth that next year will be a bumper year and will need thinning out quite a bit by the look of things.
The hellebores are feeling the cold, but will bounce back once the sun hits them.
The owls are shivering.
Natasha and Elise agree it is cold, but they like this time of year as they have emerged from the planting that sometimes obscures them.
The view back from the top of the garden, with the Wild Garden to the side and the Dancing Lawn the other side of the apple tree, always makes me smile, though I'm thinking whilst looking at this picture that it is time the side hedge was cut back again.
There are signs of snowdrops.
The Edgeworthia is cold, but is still alive.  I am just hoping that it stays alive.
The Long Shoot has not defrosted for days and still has some of the have thawed, then refrozen snow making a crunchy topping.
The winter flowering cherry is starting to flower.  This is one of my favourite trees as it performs whilst the others sleep.
The Manx gorse is flowering well too.
and the sun is just starting to creep over the side hedge.
I end as ever as on the pond, which has a layer of ice not quite closing it over entirely.  It still needs clearing out.

Thanks as ever to Helen for hosting this meme.  I wish all my readers a happy new year and I hope that 2015 brings us all a good gardening year.


  1. As always I loved the tour around your 'cold' garden, so many things to see there.
    Hope you will continue writing about your garden for a long time.
    Wish you a Happy, Healthy and wonderful New Gardening Year!

  2. The frost adds a lovely dimension to the garden and the Rose and Prairie borders looks particularly beautiful. I also love the height you have in many of the borders, something I'm hoping to bring more of to my garden next year. The contrast of the side hedge and the rising sun and blue sky is wonderful. It's all looking good Alison, and best wishes for a great gardening year in 2015.

  3. Hi Alison
    Thanks for joining in with the meme this year. You have had far more frost than I have. I think the grasses look great in the frost.

  4. So much fabulous structure to maintain interest, and feed the birds. Love the frosty knot garden. No real frost here as yet, and I am torn between jealousy (I have always loved how frost guilds certain plants so beautifully) and smugness (no worries about my Edgeworthia).

  5. Your knot garden is fabulous and the frost looks good too. You have certainly had much more frost than we have, stay warm and have a Happy New Year. I look forward to your posts. Wishing you Happy Gardening in 2015.

  6. Nice to see a tour of your garden again, looking pretty with the frosts. Happy New Year!

  7. The view toward the prairie border is fab.


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