Winter Wonderland

by Adam Pasco

What a December we've had! I can't remember anything quite like this before. Can you?

Trees and shrubs convered in frostBefore I start, please accept the warmest of wishes from all the team at and Gardeners' World magazine. We hope your Christmas was a happy one, and the New Year ahead brings you everything you would wish for.

What a December we've had! I can't remember anything quite like this before. Can you?

Let's put to one side the travel problems and disappointments of missed mail-order deliveries. We all have a story to tell, I'm sure.

Forced to work from home last week when all the overhead power lines came down on the East Coast mainline, I ventured out into my garden with my camera instead. The sun was shining, welcoming me into my very own Winter Wonderland. Truly beautiful!

Branches and leaves were coated with icy crystals that glistened in the sun. Everything was wrapped in a frozen overcoat. Will the plants survive? Most will, but like every adventurous gardener I push the boundaries of my gardening and grow a range of plants you would describe as having 'borderline hardiness'. Only time will tell whether we crossed the border - so far in the East Midlands our night temperature has dropped to around -7°C, so I'm expecting casualties!

Stems covered in snowBut back to the ephemeral winter scene. Beauty like this is created by the cold, by nature, and not by the gardener. However, the cold has used the skeleton of my creation to produce something unique.

Spend a few minutes enjoying the scene before temperatures rise, and it's gone!

Don't forget to get out each morning with a kettle of boiling water to melt ice on the bird bath. Without our help during freezing weather there really is little fresh water for birds to drink, and the last thing you want is for them to start drinking salt water alongside treated roads.

New Year resolutions will soon need to be made. For 2011 I'll be learning my lesson from the past week, and resolving to enjoy my own achievements, but more than ever value those nature creates without me having to lift a finger. What gardening resolutions will you make?

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Talkback: Winter Wonderland
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Gardeners' World Web User 27/12/2010 at 09:51

Resolution number one for me s not to count your chickens before they are hatched. I was planning to open my garden to one of the clubs I belong to next May but they have decided not to visit members gardens for a bit. Luckily I had invited two other clubs so all my planning has not gone to waste. I do hope the harsh winter means a wonderful display of blossom like we had last spring. It was that sight that made me resolve to share it. Happy New Year everybody.

Gardeners' World Web User 27/12/2010 at 15:17

re gardening in the snow i live in the peak destrict with the ground frozen i find it hard to see how anyone can garden its -8/ 10 here and has been from 27 nov cheers

Gardeners' World Web User 28/12/2010 at 10:43

I've just moved in to a new house and have a much-longed-for garden for the first time in my life. I planted some bulbs the week before the snow came. Will they be ok? And like Liz above, our temperatures dropped to -17 some nights so my plants are looking a bit worse for wear. Do I just sit back and see if they 'come round' or do I do something now to help them?

Gardeners' World Web User 28/12/2010 at 13:46

Newbie, i have just been up my garden, full of trepidation after the hard frosts we have had. There are a few early snowdrops and double primroses. It is too early to say whether there are any casualties but the spring greens and winter kale seem fine and the few broad beans that had been showing above the soil before the snow came. We have another two months of winter to fear for the plants' safety but it makes sense,if you have any cover, to start seeds like spring onions in the near future. Losing plants is not so bad if you can make use of the space and veg. will do this nicely.

Gardeners' World Web User 02/01/2011 at 15:04

I have just returned from a tidying session in the garden as the snow we had before Xmas bent down a lot of my bamboo, and have an armful of booty - a big bunch of forsythia(the buds are showing yellow), cornus alba "Siberica" whose stems are brilliant red, hazelnut catkins(sorry, squirrel but I left you plenty. and best of all a huge red Charles Ross apple which I picked off the tree! So our winter has not been so bad that such goodies are available. And the compost in my green Daleks is searing hot, now I can open the lid to inspect it!! Nature will provide, it seems. Now for a spot of flower arranging before I sink my teeth into that wonderful apple.

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