Kingswood Gardening News – December 2017

December in the garden and presents for gardeners.
By Sarah Wilson

In December most of the plants in the garden are green although the brown seed heads of grasses and perennials are still standing despite the high winds. There are however quite a few colourful and scented flowers hidden in sheltered corners providing winter food for bumblebees.

Today I found the following flowers:

  • Mahonia x media “Charity”
  • Rosemarinus officinalis
  • Jasminium nudiflorum
  • Abelia grandiflora
  • Clematis ‘Wisley cream”
  • Lonicera purpusii
  • Helleborus argutifolius
  • Iris unguicularis ‘Mary Barnard’
  • Hesperantha coccinea
  • Primula vulgaris (primroses)
  • Erica carnea (winter heather)
  • Chaenomeles japonica (Japanese quince)

Iris unguicularis

Clematis ‘Wisley cream’

As well as these flowers there are a lot of colourful berries – lots of berries on the holly and Pyracantha but also some more interesting ones such as the lovely navy blue berries on Viburnum davidii, shiny orange berries on Iris Foetidissima, bright red berries on Skimmia and extraordinary orange and pink berries on Euonymous fortunei ‘Emerald and gold’. This shrub has never had berries before and after the last cold spell the leaves have got a very attractive pink tinge. A shrub well worth its place in the garden!


Iris Foetidissima


Euonymous ‘Emerald and gold’

Finally the winter flowering cherry is looking wonderful this year – a mass of pale pink blossom standing out amongst the skeletons of deciduous trees. This tree Prunus subhirtella “Autumnalis’ is a very good choice of tree for the garden in winter.

Prunus subhirtella (winter flowering cherry)

There are some good ideas in the gardening magazines for Christmas gifts for gardeners – some are a bit too “ornamental” though, so if I were putting my Christmas Gift list together I would include:

  • Gardening gloves – any kind that are waterproof
  • A very light and sharp border spade
  • A pair of gardening trousers (expensive but well worth it if you garden in winter)
  • Membership of the RHS
  • A garden centre voucher (so you can choose your own plants)
  • Garden labels, felt tip pens and twine
  • A good pair of secateurs or garden “snips”
  • Gardeners hand cream or barrier cream
  • A large plastic “tub trug”

The RSPB have advised that you should avoid buying bird boxes made of china, or metal or brightly painted as these may not afford enough protection for the birds or may attract predators.

I have never met a real gardener who really wanted flowery tea towels, pink dungarees or tiny little gardening scissors!

Have a happy Christmas and don’t forget to feed the birds!


Dr Sarah Wilson, a long time resident in The Warren, regularly opens her garden in the summer months with the National Garden Scheme.

To contact Sarah please click here

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