What To See In December

Betula utilis var jacquemontii

Betula utilis var jacquemontii (Photo credit: Peter Cunnington)

Stabel Yard Cafe Courtyard

Outstanding this month is the white stemmed Birch, Betula utilis var jacquemontii ‘Inverleith’ Native to the Himalaya and western China this variable species tends towards brown stems at the eastern end of its natural range whilst in the west it has white trunks.

Stable Yard

Two ericaceous plants, Rhododendron and Pieris, both requiring acid soils, are in bud giving promise of a good display next spring. The purple-leafed sage, Salvia officinalis ‘Purpurea’ is just as good for making the traditional stuffing for the Christmas bird as is its grey leafed counterpart and some believe it to be more attractive.

Walled Garden

Walk into the garden past the Visitor Centre and experience the warmth that shelter from wind and reflected heat from the sun may bring. It is easier to understand the thinking behind walled gardens at the year’s end than at any other time.

Glasshouse – Many of the so called hot house plants, will continue to grow so long as light and temperature reach the required levels.  Some repotting is going on to ensure good growth & flowers.

Vegetable – Brassicas such as, Cabbages, Sprouts and Kale together with Leeks, make up the bulk of winter vegetables. Soon a new trench for Runner Beans will be dug to be filled with rich compost for next year and a general tidying-up is under way to ensure that good hygiene reduces the incidence of pest and disease attacks.

Flower garden – Many herbaceous plants have begun their dormant period and the dead stems will be cut to ground level. Some may have been left, for the effect of frost on branching stems can be a fine sight on cold mornings.  the two Nasturtium beds will be cleared of frosted foliage as part of the ‘cleaning up for winter’ programme

Jasminum nudiflorum

Leave the Garden by the Arched Gateway

Cross the drive into the Sunken Garden now very much dormant until a reawakening next spring.

Manor Walls

In an angle on the west wall of the Manor the familiar winter jasmine Jasminum nudiflorum, is showing its bright, yellow blossoms and, if you’re lucky there will be flowers on Iris unguicularis where the late winter sunshine warms the buds.

The North Garden

Pink Viburnum x bodnantense against the wall of Newton House is still in full flower.