IT MIGHT almost be Christmas, but some garden owners are already thinking of opening their gardens as normal, again in 2021. Just last week, the National Garden Scheme updated its website, showing all the gardens that are planned to open for the scheme next year.

Driftwood will be one of them, however, I have chosen not to have any public days for them, as have some other garden owners. I have three dates I am set to open and each of them will have timed entry tickets available to purchase across the day, limiting just 14 visitors in the garden at any one time.

You will not be able to just turn up to the garden, but have to purchase your entry ticket online first at I can’t believe that over a dozen tickets were sold within the first 24 hours of posting.

This week has been exceptionally cold and I have enjoyed the garden from the office window. I almost thought it might snow at one point. One plant that is a real stunner outside at the moment is the hellebore argutifolious. It produces bowl-shaped, pendent, pale green flowers that hang above leathery, prickly edged, sea-green leaves from January to March. That said mine is in full flower now. This popular evergreen, also known as the Corsican hellebore, makes an architectural statement in the middle of a mixed or shrub border, or in my case planted in the gravel beach garden.

Its handsome foliage is a long-lasting source of interest, even after the flowers have passed. It is fully hardy and mine is in a fairly exposed location but still does well. This perennial is semi-evergreen, so it can lose some of its leaves in winter. In colder regions or more exposed gardens, it may lose them all, but fresh growth always appears in spring. It will grow well in full sun to part shade too. I had some incredibly good luck last week, just after my real Christmas tree had arrived and been decorated, to be invited to appear on ITV’s This Morning with Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield. We had a six-minute, live, broadcast link from the house, sharing my Christmas decorations with the nation. Some of you may have seen it, but if not, check the link on my Christmas website

READ MORE>>Geoff Stonebanks shows how to decorate a tree

A bonus from buying a real tree has meant the branches removed from the base to allow it to fit into the stand, have now been placed behind pictures, on the wall in the dining room, and been used to hang even more decorations and tinsel from.

Read more of Geoff’s garden at