Thursday, 29 December 2011
The In Between Time
This time of year is one to savour - the gap between all that frantic rushing around, cleaning, cooking and never ending shopping and before the arrival of an unchartered year, full of hope and promise. Hibernation is the order of the day with studying seed catalogues and reading high on the agenda along with other gentle seasonal pursuits such as playing Scrabble.
The weather here over the Christmas weekend was extraordinarily warm - on Boxing Day we sat with the window open and no heating on until darkness fell. A complete contrast to the sub zero temperatures of the 2010 festive season when snow lay on the ground. The following day saw me more than ready to venture out and about - to be doing rather than sitting. Top of the list on the jobs to be done was to remove the old foliage from the hellebores. This is one of those tasks where there seems to be much debate as to the whether to and if so when to do it. The leaves are evergreen so you could leave them on but can they become rather tatty. They are also rather large and floppy and can obscure the flowers. There is also the risk if you leave them on, of them carrying leaf spot disease throughout the winter, which could affect the flowers when they open. As to when some books recommend autumn and others early winter. It is one of those jobs best done though before the flowers buds start to open so you limit the risk of cutting them off, which if ever done brings out loud shrieks from both flower and pruner. I think that I would not have liked to do this job any later this year. Now all that remains to do is a bit of tidying up as well as give the plants a mulch. I have been saving a bag of worm compost in readiness for this but yesterday was too windy and cold to venture out whilst today is not looking any more promising so far. Oh well back to having my head stuck in a book until conditions are more favourable.
P.S. We made a last trip of the year to the garden centre yesterday morning and what should come home with me but another hellebore.