I’ve got out of the habit of participating in the monthly celebration of all things floral, GBBD hosted by Carol@May Dreams Gardens. Silly, because it is such a great way to record what is going on in my new garden, so here I am, back again.
There is nothing in flower at all in the back garden, at least at first glance, but if you know where to look there are tattered primulas in bright colours lurking in the leaf litter.
Lurking in the corner of the kitchen garden is a mad tangle of shrubs.
A lanky berberis, now denuded of the leaves which turned orange and red in autumn wrestles with a mishapen mahonia, lurching towards the light, and battling for space with a mature ivy which in turn is smothering a rickety wooden obelisk and an escallonia. I will be sorry to lose the ivy, but there is another, equally mature, on the fence behind, and the escallonia deserves a chance at a life of its own. In the mean time the ivy flowers have turned into miniature fireworks and the mahonia flowers bring sunshine whatever the weather.
I have inherited two viburnums which are coming in to their own at the moment. One, which I think is a form of Viburnum tinus, possibly ‘Gwennlliam’, is smothered in clusters of white flowers that break from pink buds. This is an enormous plant, over 2m tall, and suckering at the base. I may end up moving it, and will certainly need to prune it, but in the mean time it is a column of white flowers brightening the path at the side of the garage.
The other viburnum stands at the opposite end of the same path, and fills the area with fragrance – or so I am told, I have had a blocked nose for weeks now and I can sniff as hard as I like, but I can’t get even a hint of the scent. I have to make do with enjoying the way the flowers erupt from pink buds on bare stems. I think this might be Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Deben’.
The front garden has its share of dainty little beauties that require damp knees to appreciate – tattered violas flower on despite having spent days frozen solid.
I have been amazed at the tenacity of the deep pink rambler that sprawls at the end of the front garden, it is still flowering away, if a little more sporadically. I have another, a paler pink, which I had to cut hard back, but I hope in years to come it too will be flowering in mid December.
And finally, there are the hydrangeas. I have always loved lacecaps, so elegant, and still clinging to some colour in the dying flower heads.
For me, the revelation has been the mopheads. I’ve never liked them, I’ve always found them too stiff and blowsy, and had only intended to keep the two I inherited as a ‘homage’ to British seaside gardens. Well, I may be falling in love. I find their flowerheads endlessly fascinating, even when they are dying, and completely understand why flower arrangers love them so much.
I was amazed to find that, low down, sheltered by the wall and the surrounding hebes, a lone pure white flowerhead survives.
I am utterly beguiled, though I plan to plant wafty plants around them, as I still find them very stiff.
So, that is what is blooming in my Welsh coastal garden in the middle of December. The variety almost makes up for what I am calling Fencegate. I was horrified to see that all my work on staining the red fence black has been for nothing.
The problem appears to be that the red paint was, quite literally, paint, rather than fence stain, and the new fence stain just won’t adhere to it. And I have my suspiscions as to what it was originally intended for, and why someone thought it would be an excellent colour to paint the fence, to tie it all in with the house:
Whatever the real story, it has left me with the puzzle of how to deal with the pesky won’t-be-obliterated colour. Given that some of the fence is in a less than solid state, I may end up replacing the lot. But in the mean time, I am rather cross.
To see what is blooming in other people’s gardens across the world, check out Carol’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day post, the comments have links to blogs from all round the globe.