Mud and burrowed in weeds greeted me in February – the month of bitter cold winds and stinging hailstones, but also woolly scarves and garden planning. This time last year the raised beds didn’t exist, the garden was mapped out in canes and string and the hard work was about to begin – barrows full of stone and earth, too many achy muscles to mention and finally it was built and planted. Only then I damaged my Achilles tendon so could only look at it from the house as I started on the long road to recovery.
So now when I survey the empty beds I hold in my head the highlights from last year,
The towers of perfumed sweetpeas that we picked by the bundle
Waving drifts of Verbena Boniansieris and a late August afternoon covered in clouds of the Red admiral Butterflies that loved them so much
The regal Salvia Amistad – so much bigger and bolder than expected
Festival bright Calendulas, picked , dried and stored to carry the sunshine through the winter months.
But onto 2018. Early salads are being planted now, Mizuna, Purslane, Rocket. I sow them in lengths of drainpipe in the glasshouse and that way theyre easy to pinch out and pick early sowings. The purslane has become a family favourite for its mild lemony flavour and its packed with Vitamin C which is always a bonus at this time of year.
I’m sowing Cavolo Nero and Curly Kale as well as leeks in pots in the greenhouse to get ahead of the game and also because like most gardeners at this time of the year, I’m just desperate to get started.
10cm of snow today – not enough to make it pretty as tufts of grass are still sprouting through. But still the temperature falls, the ice hardens and the outdoors becomes less inviting – best stay indoors, drink hot chocolate and plant imaginary gardens….