Home' Greymouth Star : July 1st 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
In the Garden
Winter - a
time to plan
Tuesday, July 1, 2014 - 7
his is not the time of
year when one feels very
enthused about doing
the garden but there is
certainly plenty to do and
it is always a good time
for thinking, dreaming and planning to
achieve the visions we see in our minds
If I did not have these dreams many
years ago, I would not have the garden I
have today and in particular the winter
Nowadays I could almost classify the
whole section as a winter garden as I have
numerous evergreen ground covers, plants,
shrubs and trees planted throughout so it
certainly still looks like a garden in winter,
but then as some of you will remember
about 15 years ago I also created a special
area around a pond that is a devoted
entirely to being a winter garden.
This garden is seen from the living area
and I think it is of the utmost importance
to have some lovely garden to look out
upon during the dreary winter months.
There is nothing really that spectacular
about this garden except most of the
plants are evergreen and there is a great
variety of different textured and coloured
foliage which make it an attractive scene
all year. While it was easy enough to find
shrubs for this garden, it was not quite
so easy to find evergreen ground cover as
although there are quite a few plants that
do not disappear altogether in winter, a
lot of them reduce in size and lose some
of their leaves before rejuvenating in
Some of the plants I have used for
ground cover in the winter garden are
bergenia, heuchera, pulmonaria, lamium
white Nancy, ajuga, tiarella, teucrium
crispium, tellima grandiflora and ferns.
Naturally I have a number of hellebores
(winter roses) in this garden and their
large leaves make an excellent ground
cover year round although there is a short
period in winter when I cut the old leaves
off to allow the new leaves and flowers
some space to come forth.
While I was quite an experienced
gardener by the time I created the winter
garden and although I judiciously selected
small and slow growing plants, some
plants have still outgrown their space and
need to be removed. So hopefully this
year I will get the time to give this area a
As you can imagine I have already got
some poor pot bound plants waiting for
a home such as a rosemary plant. With
its delicate blue flowers, this herb is an
attractive shrub and it is so convenient
just to pop out and pick herbs fresh from
I have a number of other herbs also that
as well as being handy for flavouring food,
make attractive ground cover plants. If
you plant such herbs as thyme, oregano
or chamomile among a stepping stone
pathway they give off a lovely fragrance as
you walk over it.
For some years I have had a bay tree
growing in the garden and yet for a long
time I kept buying bay leaves which was
quite ridiculous. However for the past
few years I have been picking and drying
my own leaves which saves a little bit of
One of these days when I get time I
would like to find out more about herbs
and then plant more to use for flavouring
dishes — but oh to find the time to do all
I want to do!
I am sure the frosts have arrived much
earlier than usual this year and of course
they have blackened and killed any lasting
signs of beauty in some plants such as the
dahlias or the impatiens.
Their early arrival caught me unaware
as I had not put all the fuchsias and
pelargoniums etc into sheltered areas and
some of them got frost damaged although
I think they will survive.
I do not have room to put all my plants
completely indoors but what I cannot fit
in, I try to find sheltered space for them
in some area such as the patio.
Although most fuchsias and
pelargoniums are fairly frost hardy I
have lost some to frost in the past and of
course it is always the more attractive and
treasured ones that are likely to succumb.
Although I knew very little about
gardening when I started I always
remember that my top priority was to
have an attractive garden all year and
particularly during winter.
I have always done most of my planting
of trees and shrubs etc during winter as it
is always an ideal time as the cooler and
damper soil conditions give the roots the
opportunity to establish before the hot,
In spring we see new life come into
the garden, summer we see the blooms,
autumn brings us her majestic colours
and lastly winter quietly bestows a gentle,
green, stillness of serenity and tranquillity
as many plants take a peaceful sleep.
A chamomile seat at Sissinghurst Castle in England. Chamomile is a calming and relaxing herb that has a lovely unusual fragrance.
Unfortunately you were not allowed to sit on this seat.
The fallen leaves create an attractive carpet in a tapestry of colours on the ground. Some would appreciate and see the beauty in this
and some would feel a great need to tidy it up.
The winter garden that remains attractive throughout winter and is a joy to look out upon.
An attractive carpet of different types of the herb plant thyme — also taken at
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