Pinky Purple Tones



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.


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.


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!


15 Comments Add yours

  1. No wot u mean. You seek them out and I think are more grateful for them. Some things are rather early. I have the first snowdrop out and the daffs are starting to come through!
    Thanks for this seasonal treats post!

  2. kgimson says:

    Yes, I agree, we do appreciate any small treasure we find in winter. Summer seems to take care of itself. But searching out any tiny sign of colour, or the emering pointy tips of bulbs gives us such a “lift” in the dark days of winter. Thank you for reminding us that winter is not all about sleety rain and howling winds. If we can dash out there and look when there’s a break in the weather- there’s plenty to cheer.

  3. lindasgarden says:

    What a lovely read helen and very inspiaing our gardens can be hiddren treaures when the leaves cover up the ground and make the ground fill warmer than it is and makes the ground thing spring is on the way when it is still winter
    take care and may i take this time to wish you and your family a merry christmas and a happy new year from David and myself

  4. Liz says:

    It’s been strange; thar’s for sure!
    I was looking at the garden today and thinking just how much green there is around. We’ve had a couple of frosts but nothing severe and the Cosmos still haven’t been knocked out. I also spotted either a Tete a tete leaf or snowdrop peeping out too, just to add to the numerous Irises, Muscari and Crocuses that are already appearing.

  5. I so agree that you can see so much more detail and hidden beauty in spring and fall…love the Japanese fern and all the lovely pink tones…

  6. shirl says:

    Good morning, Helen! Ah… that Japanese painted fern pic took my over here – l love this plant. I’ve had it in my garden and I’m now wondering why no more. Perhaps I moved it and it sulked. I should bring it back again – thanks for reminding me about it.
    I hear you on being festive. Truth be told though, I’m using this time (probably running out) without frost or snow to claim back my neglected garden. It’s been needing some TLC!

    Funnily enough, I agree with you on enjoying the garden at this time of year too. I’ve been focusing on my winter garden and am very pleased with the way it is taking shape. Will post pics one fine day 😉

  7. Christina says:

    I love that Iris (Iris robusta ‘Gerald Darby’) – what an amazing colour and the painted ferm is lovely in all seasons. I’m never ready for Christmas here in Italy because the light is so different I never think it is close! Christina

  8. Gail says:

    Helen, I love the pinky purple colors that show up in late fall and late winter. I have a rose whose stems are the brightest purple and I look for it each February. I have added Iris robusta ‘Gerald Darby’ to my list of “gotta find, I don’t care if it’s not a native plant’ list! I am trying to get into the season and Christmas spirit, too. gail

  9. I’m really struggling to feel Christmassy too, Helen. Pleased it’s not just me. The singular beauty of a cyclamen always stops me in my tracks.

  10. Holleygarden says:

    Yes, you are right – in the spring, we look closely for every little surprise and joy. I suppose autumn is to help us to learn how to look closer. Although I do love the in-your-face blooms of summer!

  11. Helen I think I agree: yesterday I was outside all day and the greens were scintilating too – even ordinary old choisya and laurel.

  12. The Cyclamen is actually C. hederifolium – C. cilicium is much smaller, without the auricles at the mouth of the flower.

    1. patientgardener says:

      Thanks John – it was obviously mislabelled when I bought it but then I shouldnt know better than to buy cheap bulbs!!

  13. I love the texture of the Fern photo. Very nice post. I’m a big fan of looking closely and enjoying even the simple things. Thanks for your perceptive comment on my recent post!

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