Article written by Rachel McLeod on behalf of Planting Works.

Now that December has arrived, bringing with it the excitement of the festive period and the prospect of cosy nights indoors, it’s still worth venturing outside. Our gardens hold some wonderful treasures waiting to be found. There is an amazing array of hues and contours of crisp fallen autumn leaves brightening pathways and lawns. The leaves provide wonderful nutrients to the ground as the plants lie dormant in the winter.

Pops of coloured berries display like jewels in hedges and borders from holly, hawthorn, blackthorn, rowan and juniper. Winter flowering shrubs reveal their perfumed displays of flower clusters. Viburnum, sweet box and Mahonia are flourishing at this time of year. Wonderful hydrangeas and agapanthus cling onto faded flower structures in a magical transformation that strengthens the plant for next year’s growth. Hardy winter jasmine and clematis drape their perfumed gems over fences and walls. With names like “Winter fire” and “Midwinter”, the dogwoods sizzle with bursts of orange and flame red. Look closer to the ground and you’ll see Christmas roses, yellow winter aconite and cyclamen flourishing on cooler days. Wintery frosts cling to leaves and fruits which sparkle and glisten in an icy winter wonderland.

As a traditional sign of enduring life, evergreen foliage remains constant and steadfast in our garden. No wonder then that the long tradition of Christmas wreaths began from collecting foliage from gardens and hedgerows to celebrate winter. The Christmas fir tree provides the canvas for a wonderful bright display of our choosing with baubles, lights, ribbons and elaborate decor. For a more natural and environmentally friendly Christmas consider using natural decorations which are superb just as they are or with a touch of sparkle. Pine cones, holly leaves and berries, leaves and seed heads are a great alternative to shop bought decorations. Recycling or repurposing is also a great way to help the environment as well as a fun and imaginative thing to do.

 

 

 

So take a step outside into the garden and you may be surprised by what you see. While you’re clearing the last of the weeds or raking the leaves from the lawn and pathways, feast your eyes on some true natural wonders.  Thinking ahead to Springtime, it’s not too late to plant up showy tulips in containers or borders.  Consider making your own wreath or simply bringing sprigs of greenery into the house for vases and table decorations to be appreciated on festive evenings. If you yearn to rest up from garden chores on a cold winter day why not simply have a wander around the garden. Nature has a great way of making you appreciate and reflect on what you have around you.

“The lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives” Gertrude Jekyll