‘Tips for the winter garden’


Reality and journalism – or what sometimes passes for journalism – often collide. And so, in celebration of this fact, I would like to offer some of my very own tips for the winter* garden (watching where you tread should be first, after what I stood in just now, and thank you, Next Door’s Cat).

‘A well-placed container close to a doorway, window or path really makes an impact.


Several containers make even more of an impact, especially when you slip on wet slate, slide into them and scatter your shopping all over the path. They might make more of a metaphorical impact if I’d just had five seconds in which to do something about their contents. Or space in the greenhouse for the geranium.

Leave cover on perennials that fade elegantly.


Which ones would they be, then?
(And, incidentally, I suppose this also deals with the reality of the ‘not forgetting the weeding’ tip. Believe you me, I haven’t. I haven’t forgotten the tip, that is. I’m quite happy to forget the weeding.)

Leave flowerheads on grasses; they look lovely in winter.’


Or then again…

Don’t forget to clean out the greenhouse.’


I didn’t. I just filled it with stuff first. And it’s staying there. I’ll do it in the spring.

The italicised tips – or fantasies, as I prefer to think of them – are all from recent articles in the media. The reality is, alas, all from the garden. I know it’s not just me who has things like this


(Cirsium rivulare Atropurpureum, in case you don’t recognise it) filling their borders and flowerbeds at this time of year.

It isn’t, is it?

*Let’s just examine the concept of ‘winter’, too. Can we have one, please? I realise this might come into the ‘be careful what you wish for’ category but I DO NOT CARE. I just want it a bit colder.

(Oh, and by the way and a propos the last post, there was indeed an agapanthus in the photo quiz. And I did fail to recognise it, despite having, at the last count, seven clumps of agapanthus in the garden.)


8 Comments Add yours

  1. You have a wonderful, gardeners sense of humor…Something in short supply during this holiday season.

    1. kate says:

      It’s the only reaction to the seasonal mess that is my garden, I tell you. But at least I haven’t been underwater, unlike some of the people I know nearby… Er, maybe that should be ‘yet’!

  2. VP says:

    Tee hee – I always find the seasonal tips amusing, especially as magazine deadlines mean they hardly ever fit with reality. As for those wonderfully frosted pictures – how often do we get one of those kinda days eh? However, when we do, it is rather magical.

    I see our gardens are in a similar state (apart from the greenhouse as I don’t have one). I’m rather pleased with the messay look, when it means there’s about 50 birds zooming around it. They’re great fun to watch. Will they make an appearance for Garden Birdwatch next month? Of course not.

    Have a great Christmas and hope to see you in 2016 🙂

    1. kate says:

      You’re quite right about kead times, of course. Love it when they are caught out by freaky weather!

      So far – apart from flocks of jackdaws and the occasional appearance of magpies – the only bird I’ve seen in the garden was, ahem, let’s just say second-hand. And rather old, reckon NDC is finding roadkill. He can take it back to his owner. Or one of his several alternatives. Ergh.

      And best wishes for 2016 to you too!

  3. VP says:

    Messy! Though I quite like the look of messay – rhymes with sashay…

    1. kate says:

      I knew what you meant, though I was off on a Shetland thing: Messay, the mystic island just to the east of Bressay that appears every 200 years…

      Except, of course, Bressay is pronounced bress-a… sort of…

  4. Spade & Dagger says:

    I’m now only at the pick/dig and eat stage of allotment gardening – all the rest of the donkey work can wait. Gardening now translates as sniping at what has turned out to be hopelessly out of season ‘expert advice’ & planning next years donkey work challenges !

    1. kate says:

      Oh yes, the plans. I do those too and unfortunately I keep them. So I can see for just how many years ‘paint the trellis’ has featured…

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