So here we are at the end of this long and peculiar year. This is the last of twelve blogs capturing the changing seasons in our tiny garden with 20 photos each month. At times it’s been a welcome distraction, though I have to admit to losing my way a bit with it mid-way through the year! Still, it is nice to have an account of the gardening year to look back on. I am, more than ever, thankful to have a garden of any size and an interest in what goes on there. It has definitely been a year for hobbies and it is great to hear that so many people have discovered the joys of gardening as a consequence of our enforced time at home.
Our Tiny Garden
December is a quiet time in the garden with the short days and colder temperatures limiting growth. There’s still plenty of green around from evergreen shrubs and perennials. As you can see the lawn is little more than a quagmire after heavy use and lots of rain. I did belatedly do a bit of maintenance – aerating by sticking a fork in repeatedly to try and reduce compaction, and some slightly heavy handed top-dressing. I have got some grass seed ready to go when the conditions allow in Spring so I’m hoping it will bounce back!
As ever I have really enjoyed watching the birds visiting the garden. By keeping the feeders topped up throughout the year the garden becomes a reliable to source of food and guarantees that that they keep coming back. Not using pesticides so there are also plenty of insects around, and having trees and shrubs around for shelter also keeps our feathered friends happy.
I really love Long-Tailed Tits and they really love eating fat/suet balls. Unfortunately so do our several resident squirrels. I’ve nothing against them personally but I wanted to make sure that my little pals got a look in, so I’ve recently invested in a squirrel-proof feeder. Delighted to say that it’s working like a charm and we now have a small flock of Long-Tailed Tits that have basically moved in. We’ve had lots of different birds visiting over the course of the year. Some only once or twice, some daily without fail. They include:
- Blue Tit
- Coal Tit
- Great Tit
- House Sparrow
- Long-Tailed Tit
- Wood Pigeon
15 species: Not too shoddy for a small city garden.
Primroses and Planning for Spring
After the success this year of filling my garden planters with Wallflowers, I thought I’d do the same for next year. Unfortunately, I left it a bit late and by the time I got round to seeking some out they had all been snapped up by the ever increasing legion of newly enthusiastic gardeners. Not wanting to leave the planters bare and inviting for the local cat fraternity, I decided to just go and see what I could pick up at the local garden centre. Basically, Primroses. I find them a little bit twee but they have brought another splash of colour to the Winter garden. I did also manage to find a few somewhat over-priced Wallflowers lurking on a shelf and these have been positioned at the rear of the planters with their backs against the wall. I’ve also under-planted with Tulips and Daffodils, so one way or another we should be getting a steady succession of colour throughout Spring.
White Winter Flowers
The White Cyclamen have continued to flower into December and look quite ghostly on an overcast mid-winter day. Additionally, the Fatsia japonica has thrown up a spike of flower heads to add further interest to its vast palmate leaves.
The promise of things to come
Meanwhile, the red buds of Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ provide their own interest and the promise of their small, fragrant, star-like flowers in late Winter. New shoots are already appearing at the base of the Hylotelephium.
Not quite snow, but Christmas morning did deliver a proper frost, one of only a handful we have experienced so far this Autumn/Winter. Standing water was turned to ice and the dark green foliage of Euphorbia and Periwinkle was really accentuated by the dusting of white it received. I struggle with the short, dark days of Winter but a crisp, clear morning can really lift the spirits.
Foliage is generally at the fore at this point in the year with the different shapes and shades of leaves having their time in the spotlight. The small squarish bed on the East side of our garden is currently a riot of different forms and hues of green. In truth it is too densely planted and with some easily spreading plants threatening to take over, but I do enjoy the carpet effect it creates.
The end of a long year
And so this is the end of my project to publish 20 photos each month in 2020 from our small city garden. It’s given me a reason to really focus on what has been happening outside our back window at a time when the world has quite frankly been a bewildering and anxiety inducing place. For 2021 I am intending to continue to take photos of the garden and the nature beyond our boundary and will be adding these to my Instagram account. But this set of blogs will stand as an account of the lifecycle of our little garden over the course of this most unusual year.
To see what was happening in the garden in November click here
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