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This may be the first day I am not tempted to work at Bettman. It’s well below freezing and even I don’t find that appealing. But up until last week I was popping over to work on the grounds. Those of you who are new to gardening may be wondering what could I possibly be doing in my Zone 6 garden in December. Those who garden know that answer- I’m now doing all the tasks I put off to free up time for more enjoyable garden work.

I am working on English Ivy eradication. Ivy is everywhere in the grounds. It’s on the brick wall, in what I call the upper woodland garden as well as on the back woodland garden. There is way too much for me to remove, but I am removing it from the brick wall. This feature is too fabulous to have ivy smothering it and, as I pull the ivy away from the base of the wall, I’m able to gather large batches from the ground as well- freeing up space for more appropriate plants. Here’s the before- stay tuned for spring after pictures!

The viburnums have water sprouts that need to be removed as well as crossing branches and low hanging branches. Now that the leaves are down I can more easily see where I’m working and should l step in the beds, I’m far less likely to damage any plants since the perennials are dormant at this time.

If the ground isn’t frozen, I will plant. I am creating a sensory garden where diseased trees were removed. I just planted three Viburnum × juddii which have a very pleasing scent. These are planted along side Syringa reticulata (Japanese Tree Lilac) and yet to be planted lilac shrubs.

I have written about this before, the importance of studying photos of the gardens to see what is missing and what needs to be edited. I’m using this time to review photos, study my books and magazines and get my design ideas down on paper. This allows me to jump on opportunities to buy plants, and when weather permits, install them without having to wonder what needs to be done in the garden. I have an action plan and I’m ready to garden, even if it is December in Zone 6.

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