December 2013
Well I can’t believe that the festive season is nearly here but there are still a few jobs to do in the garden before the end of the year, weather permitting.

I have tidied the shrubs and perennial borders, old perennial stalk pruned back and, where required, shrubs pruned to shape. I like to freshen up the borders by lightly forking over the soil and adding a few autumn bedding plants into any gaps. Most of the bulbs were planted between October and November, but any I have left will be planted in the next couple of weeks.

The hostas and lilies in pots have been cut back as the stems have now turned brown. I also have a camellia growing in a pot that is so full of buds; I can wait to see it bloom next spring. It is about 6-7 years old and it looks like this is going to be the best display over that time. I think the warm summer, extra water and feed must have helped.

I had summer bedding plants in some borders which have now been replaced with winter-flowering violas, polyanthus, myosotis and wallflowers. Leaves have been raked off the lawn and this has had its last cut for the season. So that about completes the flower gardening for this year.

The tuberous begonias from the summer displays have now all died back and the stems have fallen away and been cleaned up. All that is left to do is knock the corms out of the pots and then lay them in trays to dry, before storing them away in a frost free place until I start them back into growth again next March.

The first piece of soil I will turn over will be prepared for planting a couple of rows of shallots. Hopefully these can be put in before Christmas under cloches and I’ll get some larger bulbs to harvest next summer.

The weekend before Christmas I am going to harvest my vegetables for the Christmas lunch. I will be enjoying Brussels sprout Trafalgar, parsnip Gladiator, leeks and some young carrot Eskimo fresh from the plot. These will be cooked along with some onions and Rooster potatoes from this year’s stored harvest. I must say I have been eating the sprouts, parsnips and carrots for a few weeks and they are gorgeous.
All in all, I think 2013 has been a good gardening year, despite the late start due to a long and cold spring. Certainly the crops harvested and flower displays I have had this year have turned out very well, let’s hope2014 is just as good, if not better.

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