If you've been out in your garden this week, you are either a) much hardier than me or b) live somewhere much warmer. The most time I've spent out there was when I took the pictures for this weeks Six on Saturday. I hope this news doesn't come as too much of a shock to you. Perhaps you are muttering under your breath -'Well I call that very shabby' in the manner of Dame Maggie Smith complaining about bought marmalade.
This weeks selection is loosely based on the theme of 'Gift's', and the first one I have for you is this Helleborus Niger 'Christmas Carol', which I was given to me by my Mum and Dad. It's such a dainty little thing, with a big ruff of stamens in the centre. The deep dusky green foliage is very handsome too. It has spent the last few days in a cool room, where I can admire it, but it will be put outside, where I'm sure it would prefer to be, this weekend.
This next gift was given by Mr B, who thought these box pyramids looked very smart They have been beautifully clipped. Being a bit afraid of the dreaded box blight, I suggested that these spend a little time quarantining away from the other box plants.
On to 'gifts of nature' now. Rain and sun are obviously essential to the garden, but compost perhaps makes it into third place. Mr B has constructed this special corner. Initially the motive was primarily somewhere to dump all the grass clippings, and in the first year some remarkable putrid sludge was produced. A few years later, and just look at us now! Two bins at the near end store cardboard and other 'dry browns', followed by three open bays along which the compost makes its journey to achieve enlightenment at the far end.
This leaf cage was constructed last year, using some old fencing, up by the compost bins. I use the resulting leaf mould in a mix with garden soil and compost to fill pots, but also as a mulch in the garden over the top of the stickiest bits of clay. The downside is that there seem to be a fair few weed seeds in it (mainly stinging nettles) but the upside is that any weeds can be pulled up very easily.