Yesterday we were blessed with perfect weather - sunny skies, gentle breeze, temperature in the 60's somewhere I think. Having been sick in bed all last weekend, I was eager to get out in the fresh air and get my hands dirty.
I thought about cleaning up the frost damaged plants in the front garden, but with nets of Christmas lights draped everywhere, there was a high risk of me cutting the wrong thing with the secateurs, so I concentrated in the back garden.
The "Tropi-Cannas" that I had in containers in the corner got frost-bitten, so I trimmed them back, taking care not to damage the new shoots that are already coming through, and relocated the containers further along the wall.
In their place, I picked up a couple of small "living Christmas trees" -- Chamaecyparis lawsoniana Elwoodii - False Cypress. They were the last two left, they were pretty beat up and their pots were split, but they were only $4, so I snatched them up and took them home.
I repotted them and arranged them in front of the trellis where the cannas had been, along with some poinsettias I bought around Thanksgiving. It creates a nice little splash of color in an otherwise drab back garden.
Further along the back wall, the dwarf Burford Holly is getting in the Christmas spirit too, with bursts of bright red berries.
Finally getting started with the actual clean up, I turned to the Homestead Verbena. This was gifted to me in the spring by Ursula, who I have mentioned before -- I think I owe half of my garden to her generosity.
I guess the keyword here is Location, Location, Location. Ursula gave me two of these. I planted one on the other side of the garden, where it withered and died. This one... well you can see what this one did...
This started off in a 4 inch pot, now it's five feet across. I had to hack it back, it was taking over the lawn! I can't wait till it blooms in the spring! I stuck some of the cuttings I had taken in to a flat with potting soil in it and put it in my mini greenhouse on the patio. If they make it great, if they don't -- I have more!
Further along the same fence, the Fennel that got eaten down to nubs by the swallowtail caterpillars has rebounded and looks lovely tucked in the back of the bed. The recent freeze didn't faze it a bit, so hopefully it will still be around when the swallowtail butterflies show up in the spring.
Just in front of it, the Hot Trumpets salvia is still doing well and it's surrounded by babies, where it seeded freely this year.
I was tempted to "weed" this bed, but then decided just to pluck out the obvious bird seed sprouts and leave the rest till spring when I can pot up and relocate some of these babies.
I probably won't have a chance to blog again before Christmas, so in case I don't, I'll take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and Holiday season.
Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.