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Early winter gems


By Janey


When I was a child, Autumn was my favourite season with the beautiful firey colours, warm coats and snug boots we would wear searching for conkers and skipping through the falling leaves..

Then Mum and Dad would get the garden ready for winter. This consisted of cutting all perennials down to the ground regardless of seed heads or remaining flowers. I remember saying, “but there are so many flowers left, and it will all be brown and grey” Mum would smile and say, “The garden needs to sleep and there is a season for everything.”

Now of course we know there are so many winter flowering shrubs and climbers to get us through the very dark turn of the year. Bright shining gems that light up a dark corner and gentle coloured bells that have been quietly storing up all summer the water and feeds to put on their best display now..

And aren’t we thankful for them.. I love looking round my garden and saying…“Oh, there you are again!”

This is a little trip round the garden on this dismal of days.
Meanwhile the resident wood pigeon is enjoying feasting on the pyracantha berries!

Lovely Mahonia Charity, I pruned her in the summer and yet she’s flowering well much to the delight of a pair of blue tits who love pecking the flowers!

To the side the Autumn flowering Hebe is still going strong..

New buds emerging of a yellow Hellebore..

On this side, the Salvias Amistad are really stunning. 3 cuttings have filled in gaps and are looking very healthy. I’ve mulched them all with compost..

I love the torches that I’ve had years, Kniphofia rooperi, last well in the darkest of months..
Bright yellow leaves of a pretty pink Wegiela..

New flowers just coming on the purple leaves Hebe…a real joy, this one..

Rich tapestry colours of the Sedums..

Nearly at the back of the cottage, winter flowering Jasmine, so bright and cheerful to see from the kitchen window!

And clambering all over the old wall, Clematis Wisley cream, which has done very well this year, I’m sure it’s the watering it gets from the garden tap when filling up the cans!

Right down the garden, primulas that have been flowering on and off all year and a fabulous stripy grass in the tub. A gift from Karen many moons ago..:))

Newbies in the pots, bright cheery cyclamen..

And more here, surrounding golden Millet grass in the centre.

Sorry if it’s been a long trail round in the rain, but I don’t mind the rain when there are such sparklers to see..:))

More blog posts by Janey

Previous post: Memories of yesterday

Next post: Ladybird snuggle!



Janey what a delightful read on a dull miserable day , I have loved walking round your garden visiting your favourite winter gems , it hardly looks like winter at all with so many sparklers .. I shall be very pleased if or when my Wisley Cream ever looks as good as yours .. you can make a nice cup of tea and get yourself warm now .. Lol Take care , Keep safe .. I'll be in touch xx

3 Dec, 2020


Janey, you have lots of amazing winter sparklers. You'd hardly know it was winter, yet how they shine. I'm looking out my own kitchen window and thinking "hmmm, I better get me some of those!" It's fun to walk around in the rain sometimes, especially when there's a pot of warm chicken soup waiting on the stove. I only have one question - conkers? Are they mushrooms?

3 Dec, 2020


I enjoyed seeing your winter plants. I have nice winter plants too. winter is so under-rated isn't it?

3 Dec, 2020


conkers are the fruit of the horsechestnut tree [Aesculus hippocastanum]. the fruits are in edible. we play a game with them,Google it and you can see some of the daft games we play.

the tree itself is an amazing long lived broad leaf. The flowers are known as candles.

3 Dec, 2020


OK thanks Eileen, we have horse chestnuts. Though the trees were nearly all wiped out from a disease, they are making a come back and some folks go out to plant new seedlings in the parks and woodsy places. Those chestnuts give up a fabulous perfume when roasted - talk about aroma therapy.

3 Dec, 2020


Lovely selection of winter flowers plants.

3 Dec, 2020


Lovely display, Janey. Do you know which hebe is in picture no.2? I have that one flowering away but it was from a cutting and I have no idea which one it is. The dark-leaved one is pretty too.

3 Dec, 2020


Janet that was beautifully written plus so many lovely pictures of your pretty winter garden. To see shades of lemon, purple and white at this time of year is a joy.

3 Dec, 2020


I was going to say what a delightfully written blog but I've been beaten to it! You have some really lovely colour for this time of year. Hebe NANA has joined my wish list...

3 Dec, 2020


Lovely blog, Janey! You’ve some really beautiful plants to take you through the colder months. Lots 0f colour too, especially the rich burgundy colours.
Conkers! Gosh, takes me back to primary school in the 70s! Boys and their strings with conkers attached! ☺️

3 Dec, 2020


Thank you for all the lovely comments..and enjoying a virtual walk round my garden..:))
Let's hope the days will come again when we can really have friends round with a cup of tea and cake and a wander outside. Saying that, I don't think we'd choose a wet December day to do it!

Amy, I'm sure once your Clem's established, it will produce plenty of flowers. I usually prune this one with the shears after flowering as it does tend to grow top heavy...

Thanks Paul, yes Eileen has explained our conkers..:))
We would just skewer them and thread string through with a hefty knot on the end. Then we'd try to bash our opponents conker till ours or theirs fell to pieces.
I think some boys would soak them in vinegar then bake them in the oven till they were as hard as bullets..haha.
I don't think it's PC now, so not really allowed!

I agree Eileen, and this year we have more time than usual to appreciate them.. Would love to see your garden gems too.. And the Horse Chestnuts are so beautiful in May, such a gorgeous tree, but ours have been hit by the disease too haven't they?

Thank you Amsterdam..

Julia, they are such a treat to see, the purple Hebes, I seem to have a thing about purple flowers at the moment!

Ange I'm sure it's Autumn beauty, but that could be the purple leaved one, I'll check out Nana, if Julia thinks it's that..

Oh thank you Wildrose, they are a joy for me..

Thank you very much is your weather doing on the West Coast?

3 Dec, 2020


Julia, Nana looks to be a very small leafed type? I'm sure this one is Autumn Beauty..

Aw, thank you Yorkslass..:)) Have a look at Nana online, I don't think it's this one.

Haha Kate, me too! Shoelaces undone, grey wooly socks hanging round their shoes, but maybe that was just my brothers!

3 Dec, 2020


Thanks for sharing your lovely winter garden, Janey, on such a damp grey day. Your Salvia Amistads are AMAZING - I do hope mine will spread like that 🙂. x

3 Dec, 2020


Pleased you enjoyed it Sheila..:) Yes I absolutely love them! I have just the main one, planted last autumn, the rest are cuttings..x

Yes it is Julia. The plum leafed one has reddish purple flowers. I know, when I've googled them before, there have been so many names for very similar ones. Last night when I googled them, there was one identical to mine and named Autumn beauty....then I realised it was mine from this site...:))

4 Dec, 2020


Mine too..:))

4 Dec, 2020


Anyway I'm crossing nana off my wish list and putting Autumn Beauty instead...lovely to have something flowering like that at this time of year! Thank you for the laugh about finding your plant on line...

4 Dec, 2020


Haha... Yes, there'll be quite a few Autumn/winter flowering ones..

4 Dec, 2020


I really enjoyed reading about your lovely garden , the purples really stand out amongst the foliage from other planting .....Great blog and the photo's are lovely Janey.

4 Dec, 2020


You have many autumn gems Janey, they are all beautiful :)

4 Dec, 2020


Thank you Lincs, any brightness apart from car lights in a day like we've had today is a joy..:))

Thank you very much Hywel!

4 Dec, 2020


Just read your blog Janey. What a lovely lot of colour in your garden at this time of year. I really enjoyed the tour, thank you for sharing it with us.

8 Dec, 2020


Just popped enjoyed reading your much colour in your beautiful garden.....such joy......really enjoyed the tour in the rain....

8 Dec, 2020


Aw, thanks Fever and Dotty..pleased you enjoyed it, it's been bitter here today, roll on the shortest day then we'll be going back to the sun..:))

8 Dec, 2020


I'm still stuck on conkers lol They tie a string to it? then what?

9 Dec, 2020


Haha Paul!
Well, two opponents, arms length apart, and they then tried to bash the h--l out of each other's!
First one to crack lost. The winning Conker totally revered around the school. Then the rest of the boys who had been routing for whichever side, would give anything for the winning Conker. Their finest marble, set of football cards..:)) And so it went on until the master Conker cracked and a new winner was declared.
Don't forget these were hardened lads, piercingly focused on their game, a bit like the Queens Gambit.....only joking!! :D

Have you watched the Queens Gambit, wow, amazing. Had to watch the whole series over 2 nights, I was absolutely hooked on it..

10 Dec, 2020


Paul look at the link

My brothers and I regularly soaked ours in brine to toughen them. Then dad would drill the hole through the conker

I did the same with the Queen's Gambit. it was very good watching. In fact it has made my daughter take up chess again. We must play 4/5 games a day. Luckily we are quite well matched and I don't have to let her win. That was the worst bit of teaching them to play any game; letting them win as they learnt the rules then slowly winning the odd one my self so as not to discourage them. I found it hard though!

10 Dec, 2020


Sounds like oodles of fun! I'll watch the vids. Thanks

10 Dec, 2020


Haha Sbg, yes I think mine used vinegar.

Yes the Q G was so good and such an unusual girl, great actress.. Those eyes! Loved the 60s outfits she wore.
After the terrible start of her early life...and tranquillisers for the children....

I too used to play, Dad taught us, I wouldnt mind a chess set. That's great that you and your daughter play and enjoy it. It can get quite addictive...

Yes, teaching the children, you have to take a step back don't you, even with snakes and ladders they had to find their way.. I'd play board games all evening, maybe when
times are better we will be pleased to be round each other to play..

10 Dec, 2020


since QG the price of chess sets has rocketed! I was looking for a nice one for daughter but they are asking silly money. I will go round the charity shops sometime in the future.

10 Dec, 2020


Paul re conkers again - you keep score on how many conkers you have smashed with yours, eg a conker 3 has won three times etc. This is why hardening tricks were resorted to!
The lovely headmistress of my old primary school had been away for half term and spent ages collecting a huge bagful of conkers. I remember her standing out in the playground, giving them away to anybody who wanted them. Nowadays she would have been in trouble for breaking health and safety regulations...

10 Dec, 2020


Thanks Sue - I get the idea now and saw the vids. Did you ever play skully? All you need is a bottle cap and some chalk. Actually baby food jar lids are the best for playing this game - you can glue a penny inside it to give weight. That's better for knocking your opponent's cap out of the box.

11 Dec, 2020


the head at our local primary school does a conker competition every year. Parents sign to say they are happy for their kiddies to take part. So not all is lost.

11 Dec, 2020


No I never heard of Skully. I looked on line but all found was some sort of video game What do you do with the bottle caps? (Its very many years since we needed any baby food though...)
Sbg, that's very good to know - but I never heard of it being a game with adult input! Guess its all down to elf an' safety... I did hear of a school where they had to wear some kind of face protection to play!!! Makes you wonder how any of us survived. If you bruised your hand you just waited for it to go better.

11 Dec, 2020


To play skully:

Flick your cap into boxes 1-13 without touching the lines. Whoever makes it to 13 wins. That's the goal.

You can knock you opponent's cap out of the box, sending him/her back to square 1, but that opens you up to future attack.

Watch this vid to see how to make the court & play.


12 Dec, 2020

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