My garden this weekend – 22/12/13


As a child I had a proclivity for making mud pies and generally messing around in the garden –  as a small child I even came in with a slug in my mouth!!  This proclivity has stayed with me through my life, the mud pies not the slug eating, and I am never happier than when I am wielding a fork and turning the soil or up to the elbows in compost sowing seeds and potting up. This weekend I have had the luxury of indulging all aspects of my enthusiasm.


I have sown the first batch of seeds for the coming year.  These are seeds are from the Alpine Garden Society seed distribution scheme, which I helped with on Thursday.  I was pleased to get the majority of my first choices although because I compiled my order in a hurry I seem to have requested seed for three different varieties of peony.  I sowed the peony seeds and other seeds, such as Ranunculus and Anemone, that need a cold special to help with their germination and have left them on the patio table ready for the cold spell that is forecast.


Today I really indulged my mudlark tendencies and started to dig up the plants that I have decided to remove from the bog garden that was.  I have said before that the bog garden (above), formerly the pond, just doesn’t retain enough moisture to be a successful bog garden so it is being redesigned to make a woodland border and to give my two camellias a new home.  We have also decided to use some of this area, which is next to the workshop, to create a small seating area. While I was digging around working out what was going where I found an area of old pond liner under the wood chip path which probably explains why it is so sodden and slippery.  After much hefting of gravel and stones and mud that had accumulated on top of the liner I managed to pull it out and re-level the area.  Hopefully it will dry out now, although it still doesn’t explain why the bog garden is so unbog-like!


I have also planted three new roses which arrived this week from Peter Beales.  Two of these, Anna Pavord and Ophelia, were planted in the Rose/Cottage Garden Border along the top of the wall.  The third, Eden Rose, has been planted under the obelisk which was relocated to the Big Border back in April.  I am hopefully for many beautiful roses in early summer.

The weather has been cold and windy so the gardening efforts have been short and sharp and I have had to dodge the rain on a number of occasions by ducking into the greenhouse and checking up on my over winter succulents such as the Aloe aristata ‘Cathedral Peak’ above and peering at the Cyclamen persicum which I grew from seed probably 4 years ago to see if they will finally flower this year.  I have been feeding them diligently and I do believe I can detect a few flower buds forming which is rather exciting. I have also moved a pot of Iris reticulata ‘Cantab’ into the greenhouse to bring them into flower early.

I’m not sure how much I will be able to do in the garden before the end of the year as the forecast indicates more rain and lowering temperatures but at this time of the year, for me, every opportunity to spend time outside playing in the garden is a bonus.

Author: Helen Johnstone

I live in Malvern, Worcestershire and am a very keen gardener. I started the Patient Gardener Blog in January 2008 as a way of recording what was happening in my garden and connecting with other like-minded people. I started a second blog PatientGardener 365 January 2013 in order to try and post a photo a day to capture what is growing in my garden or places I have visited

10 thoughts on “My garden this weekend – 22/12/13”

  1. I envy you your seed sowing activities this weekend Helen. No chance to get my hands dirty this weekend but am hoping to spend some time outdoors after Christmas. Don’t think that the weather will permit it before. My younger brother had a penchant for chewing garden creatures but not sure whether he tried slug 🙂

  2. I know what you mean about the messing around with soil and getting your hands dirty – it just feels right, doesn’t it? How exciting to be planting all your new seeds – I must say that I was really pleased with the germination of the RHS ones I had earlier this year, suggesting that freshness really does make a difference. Look forward to seeing your roses in flower in the summer. Have a lovely Christmas, Helen, whether you can get out to play in the garden or not 😉

  3. Your poor old ma must have had quite a turn when she saw that slug in your mouth!
    I hope you get everything you want done over the holidays ‘garden-wise’ Helen.
    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year!
    PS thank you so much for all the interesting and inspiring blogging that you do (free of charge!) throughout the year, and long may you keep-on-blogging!
    Best wishes,

  4. I can remember my sister cuddling a dead rat! Yuk! I am at Omaha with No 1 daughter over Xmas with up to 30 family. Some camping on a section along road. Omaha a sandspit an long golden beach, no rips or undertow (unless a storm) good all tides. Seaside plantings of course with a lot of plants not making it through last summer’s hot and dry. Suzette has a raised courtyard with native hedges, a couple of palms and now first courtyard a raised pottager garden with lots of veg and herbs. Only on tank water so have a bucket under shower when we have a very quick shower! Sea water about 21 degrees so not as warm as my lovely apartment pool that I will be back to beginning of April. We are wanting a NZ beach and sun and strawberry Xmas – hope yours not too cold.

  5. It’s very uplifting to think of you up to your elbows and loving every minute. I’ve been kept indoors with rain and end-of-year deadlines of all sorts. I did pull out the seed box this afternoon, though, as I plan to start a new tradition of scattering annual seeds on New Year’s day (an idea gleaned from a blog) and found two packs of French Alouette larkspur and a fabulous peachy-pink poppy to spread near the riverbank where the two oaks recently fell. It has been many weeks since I had a flower in the garden, but today, the first full day of winter, I found my first camellia and one of the Prunus mume trees began to flower. I hope you have a good view of the camellias from your back windows; winter flowers are such treasure.

    1. Hi Marina
      I have a lack of flowers at the moment and although I am tending to focus on foliage I do like to have the odd flower around. For some reason I decided last night that I need calendula in my borders next year so I might follow your idea and sow them on New Year’s Day along with some nigella in the top of the wall border

  6. Those seed pots look promising! Look forward to seeing your cyclamen when it flowers. I managed to kill a whole lot of cyclamens from AGS seed in the winter of 2012 by leaving them out in the freezing weather – they were just reaching flowering size (what with moving house, hadn’t managed to prick them out). And yes, thanks for your blog which I’ve enjoyed so much since I found it in March.

  7. I am glad that you have given up on the slug eating. Good luck with your peony seeds, which ones are they? It is such a long wait for anything to happen, it is a good thing that you are the Patient Gardener. I have some 5 year old Rockii and I just can’t wait for them to flower.
    Happy Christmas Chloris

    1. Hi chloris
      I have rockii seed, one I can’t remember the name of right now and also brownie which is wild collected seed. The wild seed is so much larger than the others

  8. Hard to beat time getting muddy, particularly when it is so productive. Had to smile at your slug comment, as I was found in my granparetn’s garden with half a slug in my mouth, much to my Mum’s horror, she still tells the story. At least when the rain comes you can enjoy the sight of your seed trays fromt eh comfort of the house – or your new potting area!

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