the garden and her december gifts

Marty Long’s carving stands proud in the December light.

The garden in December has a magic all of her own. This is when the garden truly takes on a more structural season, but there are still some surprises and flowers to be had.

Some of the camellias and witch hazels are blooming. The witch hazels have these delicate and feathery blooms. The camellias add a pop of pure color to the winter garden.

Of course those creatures which are really not my friends, a.k.a. the deer want to come calling more often. So I have been putting down lots of deer repellent.

But some of my favorites are starting to return. My little Carolina wrens are back. I haven’t seen the bluebirds yet, however. The bluebirds were nesting here until the Carolina wrens chased them out of a nesting box this summer.

The squirrels are quite plentiful. And they have gotten a little annoying. With the loss of my favorite gardening dog, they seem to think they are somewhat invincible. I have been taking to putting out safflower seed which they do not like, along with putting LOTS of red pepper flakes in the regular birdseed. I do, however love my little Eastern flying squirrels. But their regular gray cousins? They need to learn some manners!

And Mother Nature reminded us again recently who’s boss. An oak tree came down in my next-door neighbor’s woods. The irony is the afternoon before it came down. I had taken this one tree’s photo because it had this beautiful mossy arm like the oaks in the woods of the UK.

There was another tree involved, so in the end two trees were lost, and I don’t know what the other one was. It also could have been an oak. But they fell into the woods, sparing everything except a lone push lawnmower. Selfishly, I am glad this isn’t one of my trees for once. We have had a year with trees around here. But I still love my trees. They are just a big responsibility.

Planting a four seasons garden is so worth it! It means even at Christmas you have things to look at. Here are photos of the big holly tree because she looks glorious right now! Holly trees require shaping and this has been expertly shaped by Gareth from Treemendous Tree Care.

I decorate with live greens around my porch and deck, but I no longer do a live tree indoors. The combination of spotted lantern fly, drought, tree shortages, cost, and fire safety just makes it a better idea I think. I like my trees outside. It’s kind of the way I don’t cut as many flowers as I could from the garden, I like to see them in the garden.

Simple arrangements of live greens help
make it festive outside!

Well, that’s all for me today. I actually have to get out into my garden today and put down more of the pine straw mulch I ordered. I use that in the woodland beds, but not next to the house. I use it where there are acid loving plants, and it’s a great mulch and cover for the garden.

2023 will bring my first foray into garden tours for this garden. So there will be lots of work for me ahead. I will admit that I am apprehensive about doing this, although I want to share my garden with others. I will see how it goes, and I will see if people can follow my garden rules. When I have been on garden tours myself, that is one thing I have had a problem with: when people don’t do as the garden hosts have asked. But it’s a nice group of people, so I am hoping for the best.

Marty Long’s original carving in our garden guards the edge of the woods
like a fierce owl centurion

I am not sure if I will be posting again before Christmas, so I’m wishing all you gardeners out there a very Merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah.

Go out and visit your garden in the winter. You will be surprised at the gifts she gives you.

Happy gardening!

Yes, I put a tiny Christmas tree on my deck, and after Christmas the live trees, I have get planted. The ones that are just cut little trees become mulch.


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