The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies. Gertrude Jekyll

Annie's Little Plot

Annie's Little Plot

Friday, 2 December 2016

First snow and some garden thugs

Well no sooner had a written about a calm autumn when there was all change and it feels like its been a very blustery, cold, grey end to November. We have had our first snow of the year, in fact two lots, none lasting for much more than a day but very early even for here in Huddersfield.

It was unusual to see snow on the last of the stunning red leaves of my Japanese Maples.
My two Japanese Maples have been fabulous this year, the best colour they've ever been.
Just had a beautiful moment while writing this blog, was just looking out of the window, I get easily distracted, and a tiny wren came and clung to the wall at the side of my window and looked in at me! Its hard to say who was the most surprised. Ah, what a treat you usually hear wrens rather than see them.
Anyway where was I...
Yes autumn colour has been great, but most leaves have fallen now and shrubs and trees are bare, though I have got a deciduous azalea in my garden which has vibrant orange flowers in the spring and has now dark red almost purple leaves on.
Over the autumn I have been battling with some of the thugs that have taken over my front garden and been doing some severe editing. I used to love Alchemilla mollis and in early summer when it has those sharp acid green flowers which look great it bouquets then I love it all over again but it likes my garden too much and seeds everywhere. I don't just mean a few here and then, it pops up everywhere like when you used to sow cress on a tissue at school. The seedlings aren't too hard to remove but I've got heavy clay soil in my garden and as soon as the plants get to certain size then the roots just seem to get wedged in the clay and they are really hard to dig up. 
Another self-seeder in my garden is the Aquilegia but I mostly tolerate that one, though it can get a bit out of hand. I'm going to wait till spring for this one now and see what comes up and have a proper clear of some plants then. 
Another spreader which needs a bit of editing every now and again is the low-growing Saxifraga x urbium or London Pride. It had spread over quite an area but this is easy to dig up and can spread it around a garden. From a quick Google search I learnt why it is called London Pride. Apparantly it was a plant that spread and colonised bomb sites after the Second World War and said to represent the resilience of London after the Blitz. Its one of those plants that many gardens have but they've probably never bought it, its a plant for passing onto other gardeners!! I know I got mine from my mum and its great for the edge of the borders, with its evergreen succulent foliage and then has a haze of pretty pink flowers in the late spring.
I also gave the heave-ho to a Crocosmia 'Meteore' which just seems to just be all leaf and no flower and was spreading into massive clumps at a rate of knots. I know for definite that I will not have got out all the tiny corms so will have to go back to those spots and dig out any more that come up but I've got the biggest clumps out. I think the soil is just too rich for them and the leaves develop rather than the flowers. 
Anyway after all that digging up, weeding and tidying I had some bare soil and so I emptied the compost bin and spread it out over the top all over the front garden, which will hopefully help the soil structure. I also planted lots of Allium bulbs so it should look nice in the spring and I can add some less thuggish perennials then too. So looking forward to a purple spring.

Finally its the countdown to Christmas now and while sorting out my mums things this year we found this advent calendar which we all remember well from our childhood. It came out every year along with the dodgy decorations which we had made for the tree. Much nicer than the chocolate throwaway ones you get now. Its probably at least 40 years old. An antique advent calendar. Brings back lots of happy memories.


  1. What a treat to see the wren.

    Crocosmia soon tends to stop flowering if it gets too congested doesn't it. I have a problem when splitting plants as I don't like to throw the excess away. It seems cruel.

  2. A nice post and lovely pictures. Lucky you seeing a wren, they're a bird that I rarely ever see. I have two clumps of crocosmia that really need dealing with, perhaps next year. Flighty xx

  3. Lovely to see the autumn colour still in your garden. Self seeders can be a nuisance - I have to get severe with my sweet rocket or it takes over. Love the advent calendar as you say much better than the modern ones.

  4. Your mum's advent calendar is lovely. Goodness, snow, I wouldn't mind a little around here, much better than wind and rain. thugs can be a

  5. Your mum's advent calendar is lovely. Goodness, snow, I wouldn't mind a little around here, much better than wind and rain. thugs can be a