Today is the winter solstice; each day will be a bit longer than the one before it and it is not a minute too soon. As November was a month of transition, this December I settled into a routine. All plants are now on a schedule; watering the orchids on Mondays, checking on cuttings every day and watering as needed, which is fairly often. Succulents are watered lightly on the first and fifteenth of the month but the agaves get a drink every first of the month only. The few begonias only get watered as needed, which is just about every five days or so.
Of all the coleus cuttings I lost only one. All of the others are growing wonderfully and they will be potted up in slightly bigger pots next week. I got one coleus plant from a friend for my birthday in August and I liked it so much I took ample cuttings of it. They all fared well and I expect I will take more cuttings from the current plants. Next year I can only imagine what my garden will look like with them strewn around everywhere! A few other cuttings came from coleus which were up to three feet tall. Already these cuttings have grown into one foot plants and I will be cutting them back severely and use that material for additional plants. As they continue growing I will be pinching back the growing tips to turn these plants into bushier and fuller plants rather than tall plants. All of these plants will not go into the garden until very late April or early May next year, but by then I should be way ahead in planting out good sized plants.
As I watch Hortus TV on my computer (by now I am up to the fall of 2013 of Gardeners’ World) I come across tips, many different plants and shortcuts for just about anything in the garden. Watching this British show I realize how different their gardening can be from our gardening. Glorious borders starting in early spring and going into late fall give me inspiration to do more in my garden come spring next year. For one I will be buying many multiples of annuals that did well in the garden last year if only to make more of an impact in the garden next year. Because of the heavy soil I definitely have to continue to improve the soil by adding compost and a much larger compost heap (well, really three bays) will be added in early spring as well. Monty Don from Gardeners’ World also gardens on heavy clay and he routinely adds grit in holes dug for plants which need good drainage. That’s one tip I will start incorporating in my garden as well as I add more plants. It may be a few years before my garden will resemble something like some of these lush English gardens, but the blue print is slowly developing in my head.
Christmas and New Year are around the corner and festivities with friends and family. Then I will settle in for January, which is to be endured rather than enjoyed in my book not being a fan of winter cold or snow. But the days will get longer every day and with luck some very early blooming plants such as witch hazel, hellebores and snow flakes (the latter looks like snow bells on steroids) will entice me to come out into the garden and revel into all that still lies ahead.