Gardening in December (not much!)
When it comes to your garden, December may not be the month for getting your hands dirty, but it is the month for Christmas festivities and planning for the year ahead! So put down the spade and think of your garden loving friends and family in your life and to help them make the most of their gardens in 2013.
You may be very organised and already have finished your Christmas shopping, but if like me it’s still all to do here are some great gift ideas:
1) Find inspiration by browsing through the Gardener’s Royal Benevolent Society Perennial website shopping section. They have a good shop area of garden-centric items perfect for the gardener in the family. (Personally, I would find the little string cutter that fits on your finger very useful, I’m always losing the scissors when tying in toms!).
2) Or what about looking at the new Gift section of our website where you can buy gift vouchers perfect for those who are already keen gardeners or those who are in need of a little inspiration.
a) A Garden Design Consultation where your loved one will be treated to an in-depth evaluation of their garden’s potential and will receive lots of advice and ideas on how to achieve their dream garden. They will also be presented with a list of designer favourite plants.
b) A Personal Studio Session Gift for those who would like to work on a planting project during a one-to-one session with Karen in her home studio. During this gift they will have access to Karen’s extensive plant library, her individual support and considerable experience to guide and inspire them.
So back to the garden and what to do at this time of year….
1) Plant Garlic – an almost fool-proof veg that even the slugs leave alone. I’ve had best results from November/December plantings as the cloves need a cold snap to trigger bulb formation. They do prefer a free draining soil so if you are on heavy wet clay start them off in pots outside or in an unheated green house, then you can pop them in the ground when the soil is drier in the Spring. Although it’s tempting to use supermarket bulbs they may not be types suited the UK climate. My best performing varieties have been ‘Early Purple Wight’ and ‘Solent Wight’ from The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight.
2) Last chance to plant Tulips – although November is the preferred month, it’s not too late. In fact, the up side is that they will be going cheap in the garden centres and your summer plants will have died back so that you can see where the gaps are.
Truly Scrumptious Winter Cake
One vegetable that does seem to have done well this year is beetroot and this reminds me of an amazing cake recipe from Mr Nigel Slater. The instructions for the ‘Beetroot Seed Cake’ click here may look a bit of a faff – but stick with it as you’ll be amazed by not only the glorious colour, that sadly disappears on cooking, but also by the rather intriguing taste– kids will enjoy making this one too. Oh, and it’s very nutritious so you can feel very virtuous.
Plant of the month
Cornus sanguinea ‘Winter Beauty’ This is one of my favourite dogwoods, chosen for its flame-coloured stems that positively sizzle once the leaves have fallen. Best planted in groups, especially near water. Most dogwoods are cut back every spring as only the newer stems have the desirable colour, however this plant is a little slower and more compact than most and so you may want to leave it 2-3 years before cutting it back.
Finally at Karen Chamberlain Garden Design we wish all our clients across Essex and Suffolk a Happy Christmas and a prosperous 2013! To talk to Karen about our garden design and planting services please contact us now on 01206 369 333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org