The Last Ones Standing

The cutting patch was carted off in a wheelbarrow in October.  The bright border went out with a bang in November.  But the rose garden has partied on, owning the dancefloor into December.

Geranium ‘Anne Thomson’

But even the longest-flowerers have started to tire.  This is Salvia x jamensis Nachtvlinder’, which has finally had enough:

Salvia x jamensis ‘Nachtvlinder’

Penstemons, Agastache, Erodium and Geraniums all came close to winning the longest-flowering prize.  They have all been flowering since June.  Having dispensed with flowers, Geranium ‘Orion’ has put on its glad rags for a final blast.

Geranium ‘Orion’ autumn foliage

It has been a brilliant party, but now we are starting to sway.

Geranium ‘Anne Thomson’

It is that time of the night when you go to the loo and you realise that your eye-makeup has smudged, and you can’t really focus in order to put it right.

Geranium ‘Anne Thomson’

But you’ve still got a couple of dances in you yet.  This is your song.

Rosa ‘England’s Rose’

You’ve still got it.

Rosa ‘England’s Rose’

You’ve got your backing singers.

Rosa ‘Roald Dahl’

A few adoring fans.

Rosa ‘Roald Dahl’

(Some at the bar are looking worse for wear, and clearly not appreciating you)

Rosa ‘Thomas a Becket’

Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ is putting on her fur stole.  Her car awaits.

Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’

Rosa ‘Young Lycidas’ is kissing everyone goodnight.

Rosa ‘Young Lycidas’

Mustn’t forget to drink some water before bed.

Geranium ‘Anne Thomson’

Now it is time to sleep.  This weekend I will be cutting back and mulching, tucking everything in for the winter.

I know some gardeners object to ‘putting the garden to bed’.  If I spend time in the garden in winter, it has to involve vigorous activity: digging, mulching, making new beds.  Once that is done, I am more than happy to retire with a mulled wine and a mince pie, to snuggle on the sofa in woollies and slippers and gaze at some baubles and twinkly lights.

If you would like to revisit the garden in spring, summer or autumn, click on the relevant category listed at the bottom of this post.  This is the best time of year for planning what to plant next year, or appreciating what has passed in the last twelve months. 


No two years are ever the same.  In 2019 I hope to grow new flowers from seed, and will be making brand new planting combinations for maximum joy.


If you would like to see it unfold, click on the ‘Follow’ button at the bottom of the page.  You will receive an email each time I publish a post.

17 Comments Add yours

  1. Kaz says:

    Lovely! That made me smile. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and look forward to sharing next year’s garden, your beautiful photos and words.

    1. Thank you Kaz; it is a pleasure to share it with you.

  2. I have enjoyed reading your many words of wisdom during the year. Now, I’m ready also to be mulches and tucked in for winter, but not before wishing you a Happy Christmas. May it provide you with further inspiration for the year ahead.

    1. Thank you Paraig; I am blessed with lovely readers who get where I’m coming from. Happy Christmas to you too!

  3. Your posts are always so entertaining Ali! I put my gardens to bed a long time ago and finally got the last of the oak leaves raked up. Time to hibernate until March and put my energy into inside projects.

    1. You set a great example for making the most of indoor time, Cindy. I love your projects.

  4. I really enjoyed reading this and chuckled all the way through. Winter might be upon us but your humour in presentation is like a breath of fresh air 🙂

    1. Thank you! It is lovely to receive such nice comments!

  5. bcparkison says:

    Sweet dreams of the coming Spring.

    1. Oh yes. Those seed catalogues are going to start plopping through the door in the New Year!

  6. Linda Casper says:

    These are what two members of my gardening group picked from their gardens last week. Impressive. I can only boast a white rose, winter jasmine and a viburnum tinus.
    Oops can’t post pic.

    1. Oh, but sounds delicious! I can imagine the scent!

  7. Ali, I love your sense of humor! I love geraniums because of the foliage – even in my harsh climate, some keep their leaves through the winter. I must admit, I am a lazy gardener going into winter. After months of cold and snow, then I’m ready to go out and clean up, so I envy you your energy at this time of year! Love those roses – more to add to my wish list 🙂

    1. My energy comes in bursts! The weather has not been good for gardening for the last week, so nothing has been done, but then it can wait. There is no urgency in winter. I am so happy to have inspired some rose planting!

  8. Cathy says:

    Brilliant analogies, as always, and it is interesting to see which of your beauties have stuck it out the longest. How hardy do you find the agastache are? I have a reasonably sized but newish one – do you think I ned to give it an especialy good mulch for protection ir do you find they are OK?

    1. I am growing it for the first time too, Cathy! I hadn’t actually thought about the hardiness – I just assumed they were! I have mulched a bit, but might give them a bit more now!

      1. Cathy says:

        I had a young straggly one last year which didn’t survive, but this one looks quite robust, so I am more hopeful

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