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Though today was a bit wet and windy it still doesn’t feel as though winter has really arrived and to be honest although I have gone through the process of preparing for Christmas it doesn’t feel very festive at the moment.

However the mild weather has had an interesting effect on the garden.  Plants seem to be decaying much slower and more gracefully.  Clearing up borders this morning I was surprised at the amount of green that was present.  My Acanthus are looking the healthiest they have ever looked – big lush glossy leaves instead of covered in mildew.

I was particularly bewitched by the fading Japanese Painted Fern.  It has taken on wonderful pale pink tones, a paler version of its summer foliage.  The stems have more or less rotted through so I was careful not to disturb the fronds so I can enjoy them for a few more days.  Last year the fern just disappeared under the early snow.

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As I was clearing up the border, collecting up leaves to reveal the emerging bulb shoots I cleared around Iris robusta ‘Gerald Darby’ and was thrilled by the vibrant purple base of the leaves.  I bought the Iris primarily for its purple leaf bases but I think in the two years I have had the plant this is the brightest they have ever been and to be honest I don’t remember noticing the stems at this time of year before.

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Continuing the pinky theme to this post I thought I would include a photo of this beautiful Cyclamen cilicium which has been flowering since September in the shady part of the garden.  I bought this corm in October 2010 and you can see here how large it was  I was told that you could grow the corm just by placing it in a dish on a bright windowsill.  I was never convinced about the idea of growing the bulb dry indoors and planting it out in the garden has certainly shown just how wrong that idea is.  The plant is a mass of blooms and as I  have said been going strong for months.

I sometimes think that I enjoy the garden more at this time of year and the spring when you have to look more to see the gems rather than the summer when it is all in your face!

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