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A North Wales Alpine Gardener's Diary

This entry: December 2015 - Happy Christmas! - Entry 39

A December to forget, except hopefully for the Chr

I don't remember such a GREY, WET and WINDY December for many years; very few days when it has been a pleasurable experience to stroll round the garden, although on the odd occasions when that has been possible I have not needed to put on a coat and hat, it having been so mild.  Despite the fact that the temperatures have been high by both night (often 10C+) and day (sometimes >15C), the plants here are no further forward than normal, in fact some, including snowdrops are, if anything, later coming into growth than usual. I can't explain this except to suggest that such a prolonged warm spell (October and Novemeber were unusually mild too) may have hindered physiological processes in the bulbs which stimulate development that requires a period of cold, or at least colder weather. Anyway, for the third winter in a row I will not have a snowdrop flower in my little Christmas dinner table posy. In fact the only bulb that will be displayed there is the lovely little Narcissus 'Cedric Morris', which always flowers before Christmas here. I have always had sprigs of Daphne bholua to add some  scent, but the first flowers of this stalwart are only just beginning to open. Among the alpines it is good foliage that mostly takes the eye at the moment, especially silver-leaved shrubs such as Ozothamnus (Helichrysum) coralloides and O. plumeum; I have shown them to you before but in a lean period I think they are worthy of a repeat showing. One good evergreen shrub that is quite well flowered is Polygala chamaebuxus, which I have always liked both in the garden and when I have seen it in the wild - it occurs widely throughout the alps, often on rocky slopes and in open woodland. I have the red-fowered form  (P. c. 'Purpurea'), but it is not flowering now. The plant suckers gently and is easily propagated by excavating short pieces with roots; probably best done in spring or early autumn.

Narcissus minor 'Cedric Moris'

Ozothamnus coralloides

Ozothamnus coralloides

Ozothamnus plumeum

Ozothamnus plumeum

Polygala chamaebuxus in our garden

Polygala chamaebuxus

Polygala chamaebuxus in the wild (Pordoi Pass, Dol

Polygala chamaebuxus, Pordoi Pass, Dolomites

So with that I bid you adieu for 2015, May 2016 be a great gardening year for you and yours.HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

Winter view from Bod Hyfryd
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