Garden Views-12-December 2019

December 2019 began with a couple of days of dry, sunny and calm weather with a hard frost on the night of the first.

Fortunately we had a couple of stunning sunrises too, which are often a feature of these darker months, but overall the weather continued the theme of the last 2 months, of mostly wet days, grey skies, moderate winds and temperatures generally above freezing.

With such long term significant rainfall, the ground is pretty consistently waterlogged, which makes any garden work limited.

However it’s perfect weather for clearing out ditches, which we first worked on significantly about 4 years ago.

Within the garden, it wasn’t until the beginning of December that the first Cyclamen coum flowers emerged, and as we moved through the month, the pattern of the early snowdrops emerging several weeks later than in the last two years, continued. This aspect of our garden’s phenology always fascinates me. What are the weather, climate or light clues which create such dramatic shifts in timing? It remains a mystery to me. At least the starling flocks which always appear in growing numbers through late autumn, still provide regular morning and dusk fly pasts.

By the middle of the month it became clear that we were unlikely to have a white Christmas, in spite of another brief snow flurry…

… and the loss of all the Hamamelis shrubs to disease in recent years has removed an element of garden interest in a year like this when snowdrop emergence is late.

At least our Skimmias are still thriving and a relocated Camellia sasanqua looks as though it prefers its new site. Certainly evergreens and any garden sculpture assume greater importance at this time of the year…

The morning of December 17th produced lovely mist filled valley scenes, after heavy frost, which created some wonderful views throughout the day…… though I couldn’t spend much time on photography since William and I were hard at work creating new log sheds to tidy up grotty tarpaulin areas which we’d coped with for years…

Whilst not things of great beauty, they are re using many hard materials, and will create modular stores of dry(ish!) logs close to the house, which are always a boon in these wet months, when ground conditions can quickly become treacherous.

December ended, after a rare bright morning on Christmas Day, with more fairly mild, damp grey weather.

27 different snowdrops had appeared by the end of the month – slightly slower emergence overall than in the previous 2 years.

The monthly rainfall total reflected this – 226.6 mm is certainly not our wettest December, but any monthly total of over 200 mm is still a pretty wet one, and ended 2019 with 4 such 200 mm plus monthly totals – the first time that this has happened since I’ve been recording rainfall totals on this blog.The annual total for the year came in at 1943.15 mm, placing it towards the upper end of our annual range, in spite of a very dry 3 summer months.

The monthly PV total was predictably low, but certainly not the gloomiest December here, and the total PV reading for the year came in at one of the brightest we’ve had since our PV system was installed in 2010.