Well, here we are at the end of another year. The garden has seen many changes this year as gardens do. We have said goodbye to James and hello to Richard. It has coped with all sorts of extreme weather. From the blistering heat through the summer to the continuous rain we have seen recently. It has continued to delight visitors and has I'm sure more surprises in store for us next year.
The Arboretum is the start of my journey today. The Mahonia japonica is flowering profusely and the colour and scent were amazing, photo 1. The bright stems of the Cornus and the feathery plume on the Pine tree completed the picture. The Pine tree is Pinus jeffreyi, Jeffrey's pine, photo 2, and I'm including this information because I want to congratulate two volunteers who have been working on the database for the garden. Jill Kidger and Sheree Lester have been collating the details of all the plants, shrubs and trees in the garden. They are now in the process of producing labels for all the trees. I must admit I struggle to recognise all the different trees so I'm really grateful to have this information in front of me. Thank you Ladies for making me look good! There is still a long way to go but they have made really good progress and will continue to keep on top of changes i.e. plants moved and new plants added. This is a huge undertaking which will benefit everyone, the garden team and visitors alike. So congratulations to Jill and Sheree for the many long hours they have volunteered to make this a success.
Also here in the Arboretum are the white teasels which are behaving strangely, photo 3. I noticed they have tiny green petals growing out of the seed heads. I'm wondering if any of my learned friends out there have seen this before and if they know why it happens? Or is this unusual??
Moving on and walking towards the pond I take my time so I can enjoy all the different shapes the trees show when they have lost their leaves. This group of trees, photo 4, is left to right, Calocedrus decurrens, known as the Incense Cedar, Zelkova serrata, known as Keaki and Fagus sylvatica, which is our good old Common Beech. Again I know this because of the splendid labels attached to the trees. The Pond also has a certain stark beauty to it, photo 5. You'll notice that all the rain we've had recently has filled the pond again but although it looks full the work to replace the liner will go ahead in the New Year. We can't rely on heavy rainfall to keep it filled.
Walking along the New River Lawn I stopped to enjoy the skeletons of the Echiums, photo 6. I hope we have another striking display next year too. Round the corner is the Sunken Lawn area where the Viburnum farreri is planted beneath the Gingko Tree. It's looking lovely this year, photo 7. You can also see the work that has been carried out in Tom Tiddlers border as you can see all the way through the trees now because the undergroweth has been cleared.
Over in the Kitchen Garden, Steph and the team have been very busy planting their winter crops. The left hand bed, photo 8, has been planted with turnips, radish, kohl rabi, broad beans, onions, garlic and perpetual spinach. The right hand bed, photo 9, has been planted with kale, brussel sprouts, kalettes, cabbages, carrots, beetroot, leeks, celeriac, chicory, onions, parsnips, fennel and salsify. All was going well until the muntjac got to hear about it and decided that salsify for an early breakfast was most welcome, photo 10. The muntjac are a small deer about half a metre tall and are active 24 hours a day. Bad news for the garden team! They are elusive creatures but I did see one in the garden in 2016 and managed to take this photo of it, photo 11. I'm not sure which one of us was most surprised! I shall finish the year off with this lovely robin, photo 12. They are always in the garden and are a very welcome sight.
Before I go I would just like to mention the Ultimate Snowdrop Sale taking place next on the 25th January 2020. This will be the 9th year and is a great fund raiser for the garden. If you're free, come along and join the Galanthophiles, the term for enthusiastic collectors, as they rush to buy yet more snowdrops for their own collections.
So I would just like to say that I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and I wish you all a very Happy Prosperous and Peaceful New Year. Here's to 2020.
Hope you have enjoyed this wander through the garden with me and will join me again next year.