15th December, lead up to CHRISTMAS

This is the year of ordering some interesting small species tulips, from Avon Bulbs. Because I ordered them pretty late they were not expensive. I love Avon Bulbs as they have very good taste as to what are the prettiest, We have Tulip batalini Honky Tonk which are yellow, Tulip Sprengeri, always a lot of money and red, Tulip humilis Persian Pearl, maroon with a yellow centre, Tulip Tarda, yellow, green and white, and tulip linifolia which are red. These species tulips come up every year and increase a lot, and you can always find a space for them somewhere. There are three hundred of the species tulips altogether. All I will say although I know I have said it before, even if you have something beautiful it is all important to find the right place for it as it makes the whole difference.

These were very inexpensive too as usually Camassias are expensive. We are going to have two drifts of them in the paddock on the left and what matters is exactly when they flower. The reason being that the Malus Transitoria is white, and I dont remember exactly when the magnolias flower. Though last year they all got frosted. This year I have never seen so many huge buds which is hopeful, and they have all grown hugely. Considering that this is a small garden, we are growing nine magnolias which is quite a lot, and five are in the paddock. We have two on the front of the house. I think almost my favourite is Magnolia lilliflora nigra. It has been in a long time and I first saw it at Sissinghurst, The reason I like it so much is that it seems to flower continuously, and it always never seems to get frosted. I think that almost everyone succumbed to a bad frost this year.

Polly is cutting all the leaves of hellebores off at the moment. We have a huge amount of hellebores so this takes a long time, We do not put them on the compost heap as they are too tough to rot down. We have a black cat in the garden and he puts paid to most of the mice which is good as they create havoc and eat hellebore flowers. This is not my favourite time of year, because it is so dark. Clive took some marvellous photos of the garden about ten days ago. They gave me quite a lift. I have never seen the Sorbus Joseph Rock look like that before or have so many berries on.

Below is the Klimt border in early spring,

Second level down is Magnolia lilliflora nigra, and below that is in Florence in the chapel of the Medici Palace and is by Benozzo Gozzoli

Magnolia lilliflora nigra
Something to look forward to, Purple Dream and Ballerina

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