I often smile to myself when people say that there won’t be anything to do in the garden during winter. It is one of our busiest times, interrupted sometimes by the rain, which of course is very nice.
Native to the Himalayan area ,two shrubs of Daphne bholua, now about two metres tall, are in flower either side of our front door. This daphne is so easy to grow and has the most gorgeous perfume which is not diluted by warmer summer temperatures. It flowers for two to three months and has small white flowers.
Photo 1: Autumn colours on the pin oak trees taken last month. The very dry firewood in the background is now being burnt in our log burner each evening. Photo by Julia Atkinson-Dunne.
Photo 2: Rosa spinosissima, the Scots rose, does well in a hot dry spot and has most attractive creamy-white flowers in summer, followed by the attractive small black hips. Photo by Julia Atkinson-Dunne.
Photo 3: A late autumn scene of grasses by the side pond, with Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ on the left. Photo by Julia Atkinson-Dunne.
The reason that I have included these late autumn photos is that it might give some ideas for plantings in your garden.
Soon we will be planting more groups of trees in the long driveway. There will be a group of Liquidambar styracifula ‘Worplesdorn’, and some Acer pseudoplatanus ‘Leopoldii’ seedlings which we have grown from a parent tree in our garden. This acer is the most beautiful tree to sit under on a sunny day, when you look up into the light greeny-cream variegated foliage which is backlit by the sun.
Winter often provides more time for reading. If you are interested in woodland gardens, I’d like to tell you about a book which a friend recommended to me. It is Woodland Gardening by Kenneth Cox from the Glendoick Gardens in Scotland. Kenneth takes the reader to many parts of the world in this highly informative book with its beautiful photographs. Woodland Gardening can only be bought directly from Glendoick. A book which I enjoy again and again is The Gardens of Arne Maynard. This man has a real eye for beauty and the soul of a garden, in my opinion.
A few days ago Marilyn (of recipe fame) and I went to the film The Gardener, which was part of a film festival in Christchurch. It is the story of the late Frank Cabot and the creation of his garden Les Quatre Vents in the Quebec province in Canada. We didn’t want it to finish. As well as creating a beautiful garden in the latter part of his life, Frank also did huge amounts for the betterment of horticulture in his country.
The second issue of my publication. The Gardener’s Journal, will be in all bookshops very soon and subscribers will have received it by now. I have attached info and an image of the front cover, and am happy to forward a list of Contents of this issue if you email me.
Winter Chutney: Marilyn McRae
This is not a chutney for storing long-term, but it will keep for at least three months. Keep it in the fridge once opened. Delicious to take on a picnic or outside into the garden as part of a light lunch or with a drink. Serve with a well-flavoured cheese and crusty bread or crisp crackers, chunks of celery and maybe some cold meats. Enjoy!
125g peeled pumpkin/squash, diced
1/4 onion, diced
25g dried apricots, diced (don’t use packaged, pre-diced ones)
A good 2cms fresh ginger, finely grated
40g brown sugar
75ml white wine or cider vinegar
200ml jar, sterilized
Combine all in a medium pot, stirring to dissolve the sugar and simmer over a low heat for one to one and a half hours, until the pumpkin has softened and almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Stir occasionally to avoid the chutney sticking to the bottom of the pot. Spoon the chutney into the hot jar and seal. Label when cool.
Our relaxed country garden started twenty nine years ago. In the early days I had very little gardening experience and no vision for the site, but an interest in plants was quickly developing. Over the years, with much trial and error, a garden has emerged which we and our visitors do enjoy.
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139 Old Tai Tapu Rd, Christchurch 8025, New Zealand
+64 3 3228 061