Saturday, 21 January 2012

A Winter's technical hitch

Hamamelis x intermedia in my garden

The seasons appear to be in the midst of a technical hitch.  Perhaps it’s just that there’s a delay or it could just be that a proper Winter has just passed us by only to be replaced by a semi-spring.  Whatever the actual reason, I wouldn’t mind a little bit of a cold snap to return a bit of natural order to proceedings and reset the balance of the seasons.  Oh, and kill a few slugs too!

On a similar stroke, things have been a little bit behind schedule on the blogging front too (apologies) but life, work, animals, taking on the role of allotment secretary and starting a new business have all eaten away at my time.  So, to make up for lost posts I’ve put together a mini-roundup of what’s been going on.

I completed my ‘Image of the Day’ goal!  When looking back over my photographs from last year it’s hard to believe that the allotment and garden was covered in a thick blanket of frost on this day a year ago.  This library of images, mainly consisting of cake and dogs if you haven’t already had a gander, has proven itself quite valuable as a useful resource from which to reminisce, compare previous years growth and pretty much anything else you want from it.  From tracking my days I now know that one of my orchids has flowered for over a year, I can see that the frogs at the allotment have spawned almost a month earlier than last year and then of course, the blatantly obvious – I make and eat a lot of cake!  I’ve decided that I’m going to carry on with it as an addition to the blog and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do too.
Galanthus nivalis pushing their way through dead Iris sibirica foliage

In terms of weather and the garden, we’ve had quite a mild and damp start to the year. Despite this my garden doesn’t appear to be too badly affected as my snowdrops are on time, my Iris’ are slightly earlier than last year and the other plants aren’t knocked completely off kilter.  One of the plants that did surprise me in the garden though, and not because of it’s unseasonably early flowering this time, was the Hamamelis or Witch Hazel.  Last year it didn’t do a thing beyond looking slightly miserable and out of place but this year it’s already outdone itself.  Smothered in blooms it’s doing exactly what I planted it for – providing a good splash of colour and early season scent.  I have no idea why it’s put on such a show this year but I can’t help but think the milder weather has helped coupled with lots of moisture in the soil.

In other gardens things are quite different.  In complete contrast to my garden I noticed that Fuschias, Lobelia, Geraniums, Osteospermum, Antirhinnum, Hydrangeas, Roses and many other plants including a Loganberry and a Blueberry at the allotment were all in full flower.  Many plants simply appear to be continuing to grow and bloom when they should almost certainly be dead or at least dormant.  I have a sneaky feeling that Mother Nature will redress this balance shortly.

At the allotment the new beds are coming along well and I’ve added my homemade compost to the new lasagne beds.  This stuff is two years old and should be like rocket fuel as not only does it have plenty of green material in it but it also has a lot of well-rotted chicken manure too.  The beds are in quite a shady spot and so I’m contemplating growing quite a few greens and other tolerant crops. The other beds are still waiting to be forked over but as the soil is so wet I’m holding off on this for now.  The eight inherited currant bushes on the new plot have been pruned to open them up and improve their structure and in terms of harvest I’m pretty much out of winter veg.  There are a few holy cabbages left to eat and beyond that it’s just kale, purple sprouting broccoli and leeks left.  In fact, I think the chickens have eaten more of the greens than I have.

And that’s it for now.  If you‘ve recently taken on a new allotment plot please don’t forget to take a look at my Guardian blog and for those of you who would love to win £20 of free seed just click here to enter the competition.


  1. Fab post R!
    Liked the idea of holy cabbages!

  2. I hope you're wrong about Nature "redressing" the situation although my Rhubarb could do with a good frost or two.

  3. I noticed this the other day. There were flowers left over from late autumn - roses, nasturtium, dianthus - flowers you'd expect in early spring, like camellia and dandelions, and some I couldn't place at all, like hebe. It's certainly not winter!

  4. I love winter art :) I am still using cow manure at a weakened state for some of my flowers and they are growing hardy!


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