Winter is a time of passive gardening. Most of the gardening takes place in your head, doesn’t it. I’m pretty happy with the back garden in general, I just need more time getting the hang of the square foot garden and tidy the place up a bit. There are quite a few evergreens here, so even in winter, I enjoy looking out. Most of the evergreens were already here when we moved in, I mostly added perennials.
My favourite evergreen is this Pine. It hardly grows underneath the large maples, but it survives nonetheless. It smells so nice!
Another evergreen is this Skimmia. It is really not a plant for me, because it is very fussy on our soil. It needs acid soil, whereas we live on clay. I add a lot of leafmould twice a year, with extra organic fertiliser. Skimmias are sold here for Christmas and people end up putting them in the garden, but left to their own devices they grow yellow and end up dropping all their leaves. Still, the Skimmia was also already here when we moved in, it’s reliable and has come to be quite large. Its summer companions are the Hostas, who have abandoned ship now. I still have to find a mate for it in order for it to grow berries. However, I do not know if this one is male or female, it’s almost as hard as with bunnies.
My front garden I find lacking in this season. I designed the front garden a couple of years ago. It is full of flowers in spring, summer and autumn, but almost bare in winter. I’m thinking of adding a Pine here as well, because I think it would go well with the mediterranean plants that are already there. I also have two little Christmas trees, actually dwarf Alberta spruce (Picea glauca conica) that will move to solid ground once the holiday is over, I hope they like it there. They grow slow and compact, unlike a traditional christmas tree. They usually grow too large for a suburban garden. I hope these babies make it.
It is funny how your taste in plants grows and expands along the way. I was not so fond of evergreens in the beginning because they can cause a garden to look a bit static. A field of flowers is lovely, but no use from November till April though. For now, the front garden is a puzzle I have yet to solve. I like having the blank canvas though, to experiment with and change every year according to my taste. Will I go for the Pine, or should I go with a native like yew or holly? These plants are slow growing and therefore expensive, so this time I will not act on impulse, they will be a fixture for years to come. I wish you all happy passive gardening from behind the window, with a mug of hot chocolate or a bit later, a glass of proper red wine