HIHS On Line Magazine: December 2018

Links to This Month's Articles

Camellia transnokoensis
Winter Structure In The Garden
Plants For Winter Interest
Trees Revered In Midwinter
Hardy Heathers
Christmas Tree Origns
Dig Your Runner Bean Trench
Attend To The Shed
Try Sowing Some Seeds
A Good Read

Camellia transnokoensis

Camellia transnokoensis
Camellia transnokoensis produces Pink-tipped buds
which open into clusters of small, white flowers
with a long cylinder of white, gold-tipped stamens.

The flowers start opening here on Hayling Island
during December and continue through until March.

With bronze-coloured new growth in the spring,
small leaves and an elegant, upright habit,
it looks good all year through.

Link to RHS: for detailed information.

Winter Structure In The Garden

Graham Rice chooses his top 10 winners
of the RHS Award of Garden Merit
for creating structure in the garden in winter

Direct link: to read the article.

Plants For Winter Interest

Many plants with winter interest are scented,
most are shade tolerant, some adaptable for containers
to be moved around according to the season.

The sight and scent of these recommended plants
can cheer up a dull time of the year.

RHS link: five top plants with winter interest.

Trees Revered In Midwinter

sun rise
The oak was venerated by the Druids,
together with Holly, ivy, and mistletoe.

Evergreens in ancient Rome were thought
to have special powers and used for decoration,
symbolizing the promised return of life in spring
and came to symbolize eternal life for Christians.

Vikings hung fir and ash trees
with war trophies for good luck.

In the middle ages, trees in the orchard
were decorated with apples on Christmas Eve,
which they called "Adam and Eve Day."

Hardy Heathers

Heathers offer bee-enticing blooms for all seasons.
They create evergreen ground cover and variation
in foliage and flower colour and some are scented.

Winter and spring flowering Erica carnea, E. × darleyensis,
and the summer flowering E. vagans will tolerate
a slightly heavier soil (pH reading of 7.0 or higher)
as long as there is plenty of well-rotted organic matter.

RHS link: Hardy Heathers.

Christmas Tree Origns

In 16th-century Germany, on Christmas Eve,
a fir tree decorated with paper flowers
was carried through streets to the town square,
where a feast and celebration ensued,
that included dancing around the tree,
followed by its ceremonial burning.

Dig Your Bean Trench

bean trench
Dig the trench where growing your runner beans next year
fill it with compostable kitchen waste (not cooked food)
and cover with soil again.

This will rot down and improve the soil conditions
for your beans which enjoy a nutriment rich site.

With heavy clay soil, the weeks previous, cover with polythene to keep it drier and allow easier digging.

RHS link: advice on growing beans.

Attend To The Shed

When a dry mild spell is forecast consider
giving the garden shed some attention
in preparation for the spring.

How you preserve and maintain a garden shed
depends on its condition and previous treatments
which influences which products to use
and your desired final finish.

When removing the contents take the opportunity
to dispose of long unused items and create space.

Don't forget to improve the security to discourage theft.

Use this link: for advice on shed treatments.

Try Sowing Some Seeds

It might be cold and damp outside but indoor sowings
can be made of coleus, cyclamen and geranium seeds
provided suitable temperatures can be maintained.

These varieties are slow from seed, hence starting early,
plants will begin blooming in time for spring.

The seeds have a tough outer coats,
so to increase germination rates,
it helps to moisten them before sowing.

To hedge your bets, don't sow all seeds in the packet
keep some back for a January / February second try
should the December planting fail.

A Good Read

Looking for a good horticultural read over Christmas?
The BBC Gardeners' World Live team were asked
to recommend their favourite gardening books
and they came up with the following list.

The New Vegetables, Herbs and Fruit:
An Illustrated Encyclopedia
by Matthew Biggs, Jekka McVicar and Bob Flowerdew

Alan Titchmarsh the Gardener's Year
by Alan Titchmarsh

The Art of Making Gardens
by Luciano Giubbilei, Fergus Garrett and Paul Smith

Garden Design: A Book of Ideas
by Heidi Howcroft and Marianne Majerus

Making a Garden: Successful gardening by nature's rules
by Carol Klein

Joe's Small Garden Handbook
by Joe Swift

Gardening at Longmeadow
by Monty Don

365 Days of Colour in Your Garden
by Nick Bailey

Real Gardens
by Adam Frost

The Children’s Garden
by Matthew Appleby