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Last Month in My Garden, December 2018

The first part of the month was generally mild and I tried to grasp opportunities to garden, when it was not raining. Despite many hours spent clearing and weeding in previous weeks, it still looked as though most of the garden had yet to be tackled. As usual, I needed to clear the ground around my snowdrops; it is a task I enjoy because it brings the excitement of discovering new buds breaking through and the reassurance that they have survived. This is particularly the case with new acquisitions planted in the spring. Sometimes things do not go to plan. I proudly cleared around an established clump of Galanthus ‘Faringdon Double’ (which is semi-double), only to find a few days later that many of the flowers had been plucked off and left to die. This is typical of pheasants but I have not heard or seen any so it could be woodpigeons – or mice/voles? Why just this clump? I am grateful that it is one clump only.

before clearing

Galanthus ‘Faringdon Double’ revealed


December 2017 brought heavy snow which caused tree damage. Clearing that away took time and left many logs and branches added to the existing piles at the bottom of the garden. They had been increasing slowly before and the new additions left them far too messy and occupying too much space. Over the last few weeks they have been tidied and I have been gifted a new planting area! Removal of overhead branches now lets more light and rain in but it will get no direct sun in winter and late afternoon sun only in summer. I have another shade border. This is much needed because in 2018 I have bought more plants than my previous new shade borders can accommodate. I have now planted hydrangeas that have been waiting for release from their pots, sarcococcas, skimmias and some ferns; pulmonarias, Geranium macrorrhizum and snowdrops will join them. The ground is very dry but I am giving the planting holes a good soak.

newly cleared area

ready for planting

Close to the new area are two fatshederas. The first I planted three years ago after removing the lower branches of a conifer. It has done well and in January 2018 I added x Fatshedera lizei to hide a gap in the foliage. They need support and suffer a little in a hard frost but are useful evergreen plants.

x Fatshedera lizei ‘Variegata’

x Fatshedera lizei

There have been sunny days in the month and I have enjoyed watching sheep on the hill behind the house. (This area is the Old Hills.) I have also completely cleared out one border which needed rejuvenation and was conveniently in the sun. However, many days have been dull but so mild that it was pleasant to work anywhere.

sheep on an Old Hill


After three years, this is the last of ‘Last Month in my Garden’. You can continue to see some of the developments on my ‘Brockamin Garden’ facebook page and Brockamin will be open for the NGS on February 17th (11-4), March 24th (2-5) and September 22nd (2-5). The HPS Pulmonaria Group will be visiting on March 23rd. (For details see their Special Interest Group page.) I hope that some of you who read this will come to enjoy the garden yourselves.

Margaret Stone

Posted by Margaret Stone

Vist Margaret's garden on one of the NGS open days.

4 Comments To "Last Month in My Garden, December 2018"

Shelia May On 04.01.2019
Thank you for your monthly updates I have really enjoyed reading about your garden and found the differences in climate and what is growing well when compared to my garden fascinating. Reply to this comment
Shelia May On 08.01.2019
Hi Margaret I garden on the side of the Avon Valley in Wiltshire
Margaret Stone On 06.01.2019
Thank you for your interest. Where do you garden?
Jan Vaughan On 28.12.2018
I have enjoyed following your reports from Brockamin Garden, always with lovely photographs, and I’m sure everyone would like to thank you for the opportunity to see the seasonal changes with you. Reply to this comment
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