I haven’t been looking forward to winter….with Coivd it was always inevitable that things would be grim and this is my least favourite season.
For the whole year
the garden has been a lifesaver. I currently work from home 3-4 days per week,
and having ants in my pants I am frequently up having a break walking around
the garden. Being here so much I have taken a lot of pleasure from noticing all
the small changes as things grow and start flowering.
Having an exotic garden, and opening for the NGS puts all the
focus on having things look amazing at the height of summer. It is very easy to
just stop after the garden opening and put your feet up. In some year’s I have
been so lazy that arrows and odd bits of signage from the opening have remained…slowly
decomposing, Miss Havisham style.
I have been trying to shift the focus away from just being
about summer so that the winter and spring isn’t just a raft of empty space and
dying plants. Part of this has been taking more care of and propagating hardy
evergreens to keep the terrace looking good. To do this I have been dividing up
a great Aspidistra that came from Crug and has elegant leaves speckled with
white specs, this is a elegant filler.
This year I also bought 900 bulbs, way more than usual, but
I figure I will be home more and need a spring lift! Most have gone into pots in
the hope that the squirrels don’t eat them all! I also got an additional 250
Tete a tete daffodils which we have planted out around the tree bases on my
road which I am excited to see come up and turn the road yellow!
Other stars on the terrace include the ‘Hercules’ arum that
is stunningly big and exotic. The big Musa sikkimensis and Helens Hybrids are
still looking their banana tree thing, and I am giving it a go leaving a
Inside I have had a slight terrarium obsession, which has
opened up a whole new world of plants! The love of flag Iris’s also continues
and I have enjoyed a brief, all encompassing, and expensive affair with Cedric
In terms of the winter prep the big thing that I do is dig
up the red bananas. These have their leaves removed and roots cut back to the
basal plate. They are then left to drain upside down for a week or so before
being stored in a frost-free outside cupboard. They are now all up to 8?yrs old
and getting heavy! I used to be a lot more prissy about cutting off/tidying up
most off a lot of the outside leaves, but I now leave as many as a can as I
think this helps prevent them becoming too dehydrated when they come out of
storage in spring.
We also put up a temporary plastic greenhouse on our sunken
terrace, with an extra layer of bubble wrap. This is all super sheltered and
sits against a retaining wall. In it go all the Cyathea tree ferns, although
the C. medularis is now almost too big to fit in! I will need to be brave next
year leaving it out. Also in go the fuchsias, brugmansias, and Begonia
luxurians. Wet is the killer, so most
things now sit on bricks. Ironically you also need to watch the dry as the tree
ferns dry out really quickly…I have lost more to drought that the cold.
This weekend beings the winter prep to an end, and leaves the
garden looking satisfyingly good and attractive. As of 23rd November
we still haven’t had any frosts at all in our bit of South London, although I
am sure that they are just around the corner.
|Keeping the Aspidistra flying!