In Your Winter Garden with Plews Garden Design by Marie Shallcross - Read Online
In Your Winter Garden with Plews Garden Design
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“In Your Winter Garden with Plews Garden Design” is part of our ‘gardening almanac for the 21st century’ series has seasonal gardening tips, garden design ideas, ‘how to’ hints plus a liberal sprinkling of photographs and original illustrations to help you get more from your autumn garden, whether that's actually doing or just reading about gardens and gardening.

Contents include:
The folklore origins of many gardening traditions and festivals
Essential garden planting and tool care
Inspiration for winter planting both ornamental and edible
Why winter isn’t a dead time in the garden
Preparations for spring planting
How to get the most out of your garden and enjoy doing so

Anyone who has read the Plews weekly blog will know the wide range of interests held by the author so will be reassured to know that anecdotes about plant history and folklore appear and the usual quirky comments about gardens and gardeners.

Added to all this there are plenty of photographs to inspire and amuse; along with some original illustrations.
Oh, and a glossary to explain some of those odd terms that gardeners use and you have to pretend to understand...
In short, we’ve aimed to create a book for you to read from cover to cover or dip into as the mood takes you.
We will, of course, also bring you books for your Spring, Summer and Autumn garden as the seasons change.

Published: Marie Shallcross on
ISBN: 9781301401048
List price: $5.50
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In Your Winter Garden with Plews Garden Design - Marie Shallcross

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This book is dedicated to my mother for providing me with my early gardening inspiration; and also to Eowyn, canine garden companion.

May they both rest in peace.

Eowyn in the garden

Copyright Notice

In Your Winter Garden with Plews Garden Design

Copyright © 2012 Marie Shallcross

Illustrations Copyright © 2012 Lucy Waterfield

Photography Copyright © 2012 Plews Garden Design

Plews Garden Design

Smashwords edition

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each reader. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author



Copyright notice



Bare root beauties

Plants: Ornamental Trees


That time of year again - Christmas trees and alternatives

Plants: Ornamental Evergreens

Magic Mistletoe


Plants: Ornamental Flowering

Plants: Edible

Frost and Snow

Worms, Soil and Compost

Plants: Ornamental: a Delight for the nose

Wildlife, pets and other animals

In the Potting Shed: Excuses to be ‘in the Warm’ and Sundry Garden Tasks

Excuses to be in the Shed: Caring for Hand Tools

Excuses to be in the Shed: Caring for Power Tools

Lupercalia and Valentines

Ending and Beginnings

About the author and Plews Garden Design


In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,

Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;

Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,

In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Christina Rossetti


In the bleak midwinter...or maybe not so bleak and full of nothing for underneath the ground lies the promise of spring in sleeping bulbs and above the ground frost turns seed heads into diamante jewels that sparkle in the low rays of sunshine.

Another garden designer once told me that a winter garden has to work harder to succeed in looking good. I know what he meant; it is easy to overwhelm the senses with summer borders bursting with colour and scent. The winter garden by contrast is more subtle, more monochromatic; well usually; the sudden spark of purple Callicarpa berries only emphasises the restful tones around it.

The trick is not to yearn for summer but to relish the delights of winter; each season has its own rhythm; tasks to perform; scents to savour. Time always passes more swiftly when you’re enjoying yourself. Our hope is that this garden Almanac for the 21st century will help you enjoy your winter garden and while away the long winter nights...

Now is the solstice of the year.

Join together beneath the mistletoe

By the holy oak where it grows.

Seven druids dance in seven time. Ring solstice bells.

Ian Anderson

Yule, the Winter Solstice, and other related Christmas matters

The winter solstice of Yule is of course a northern hemisphere festival. In the southern hemisphere, Yule takes place at midsummer not midwinter.

The winter solstice celebrates the longest night of the year and the rebirth of the sun. For our ancestors it was a time of hope and a cause for festivity. Evergreens and mistletoe were used for decoration as they reflected the eternity of the gods, being ever young (or ever-green). It was an excuse for a ‘knees up’ in the cold, dark part of the year.

Winter solstice: shortest day; longest night...useful fact: some plants respond to day length and some to warmth to stimulate growth. Strictly speaking it’s not so much day length, as length of absence of day, i.e. how many hours of darkness there are. Plants grow when they sleep, just like humans.

The Yule log of medieval times was a continuation of this tradition. A huge trunk rather than a small log, it would be chosen from among the oldest trees, preferably ash. It would be dragged back to the hearth and lit with a sliver of the previous year’s log, which had been kept especially for this purpose. It would then be kept burning throughout the yuletide season, more christianly known as the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Many of the plants we still think of as being part of Christmas festivities relate to these older traditions – holly and ivy are both evergreens, pine – as a decoration or burnt as incense.

Holly variegated

The Anglo Saxon calendar in the eighth century called the modern December and January geola or giuli, from which we probably derive ‘Yule’.

Many of the northern European and north American Christmas activities hark back to the early Christian rites or even earlier, when the Oak king would fight the Holly King and win the favours of the Goddess until the summer solstice.

It is perhaps worth mentioning that for much of recorded history everyone, even those who lived in the towns, were aware of the changing seasons and the effect this had on the food supply. There were or very few no street lights until an hundred or so years ago; at night the light was from the moon and the stars, so long nights were very noticeable.

For most people food was not in short supply until after Yule, as February is a notoriously cruel month, for it is then that the stocks of food for both humans and animals became low and there was little to be gathered from the hedgerow. There would be brassicas, such as cabbages and winter kale; stored root vegetables, like carrots and turnips; and preserved food, dried, salted or smoked.

Meat was not as large a part of the average diet as it generally is today; people would have kept chickens, shared a pig but animals need feeding