December …..Out with the Old, Planting some new.

Winter Gardening

Here is a round-up of what I’ve been up to whilst waiting for the impending cold weather, in-fact at the time of writing this, we are STILL waiting for the cold weather.

The coldest temperatures I’ve recorded so far are  -1.0°c. Which was just a thin-film of ice on the car windscreen.

Work Dec 020
Mahonia × media ‘Charity’

I have a lovely big Mahonia at the bottom of the garden hidden behind my shed, it was originally planted as a spiky way of preventing the back neighbours kids trespassing as they often tended to do, It’s a splendid winter flowering shrub, which when it sets fruit after flowering attracts a single Black-Cap winter visitor to my garden just about every winter.

In the last few weekends when I’ve been home,  and its been daylight and it’s not been raining, I’ve managed to do a few of the bigger jobs I’ve always managed to avoid. Firstly was saying goodbye to a big Fern I planted many years ago when I first got stuck into the garden, I was given it after it was left unwanted after a plant swap.

Dryopteris filix-mas (male fern)
Dryopteris filix-mas (male fern) Far Left.

This Male Fern has grown very well in the damp, shady corner next to the house.. in-fact too well now, its smothering my Hellebores, Snowdrops and some primulas I have planted there.  It’s time to go.

I cut everything back and dug out the root ball which put up a fierce, but brief resistance.

Almost gone...
Almost gone…
Gone & Tidy
Gone & Tidy

The area was lightly forked over and lots of my homemade compost added to fill the hole that was left, in the Spring I have another new, nicer fern that I might plant here. It’s a Dryopteris dilatata ‘Crispa Whiteside’ and its a bit smaller with more paler leaves, however It all depends on if I see anything else that takes my fancy in the meantime.

I have also had in the garden a medium-sized plum-tree that was over 30+ years old and has been expiring for a few years now, It fully died last year, but I’ve left it untouched for 2 reasons until now. Firstly the dead wood has been attracting a Greater Spotted Woodpecker into the garden, secondly, my washing line is attached to the tree.

However lots of recent high winds have bought an urgency to reduce the tree down to a safe stump as large bits of the tree have been falling off.


Most of the outer trunk is showing lots of fungi.

Tree before chainsaw...
Tree before chainsaw…

Note Squirrel nut feeder… always helping wildlife in my garden.

After Chainsaw...
After Chainsaw…

After about 10 mins work I’m left with something my cats can still climb up and I still have part of the washing line up. I’m tempted to look into the possibility of growing a Clematis up the trunk, but think that it might be a bit Cliché….


A nice pile of logs went back to the owner of the chainsaw as a thank you from me for borrowing it.  It’s sad to see the old plum go, and now I’m only left with a small section of it, it’s changed the aspect of the garden quite a bit, before there was this imposing structure right in your eye, now your eye falls onto the far back fence of the garden which is in need of a paint of dark preserver….! oh  dear, another job that needs doing I guess.

I had already made plans to replace the Plum with another tree and decided on another fruit tree. Both neighbours either side of me have Apple trees, and I cannot keep pinching their apples late at night for much longer, so I chose a dual purpose Apple Tree Called James Grieve, so I can cook with it and eat it.

I swapped some of my T*** Clubcard points for a Thompson & Morgan Gift voucher and redeemed that for the Apple Tree only paying postage. The tree turned up unexpectedly last week as I was sure it would turn up in the new year, however the weather is still mild so I set about planting it yesterday, on the Winter solstice, or Shortest Day.

O marks the spot.
O marks the spot.

I decided to plant the new little tree near to the dead plum, this way it wont be in the way of anything else in the garden, and will fill the gap nicely.


Planted, staked, labeled, mulched and watered in.

I’m hoping for some Apple blossom next spring, and hopefully an Apple or two the following year.

My little winter Solstice Tree.

I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

You can skip forward 3 years to view my Tree Following blogs specifically about the progress on the tree if you wish.

7 thoughts on “December …..Out with the Old, Planting some new.

Add yours

  1. It is great that we can still get out out there and do essential jobs. Getting rid of that fern has given you a nice empty space for planting. As for the plum tree; you now have all that wood, ready chopped up for when it turns really cold. A Clematis up the trunk would be great. Sometimes a cliche is a cliche because it was a good idea in the first place. You have to put something there. How about a rose or a Holboellia?


  2. I bet you were chuffed with the results of those jobs. I have a cement tortoise like yours, my sister made it when she was studying construction at college!


  3. I enjoyed your post too, the Mahonia flower photo was gorgeous and lots of climbing choices now for the remains of your plum, something for wildlife maybe an ivy.


Feel Free to Leave a Comment..

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at

Up ↑

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: