Category Archives: seeds

Flame and Fire and Winter Days

We are now into Autumn and our Liquidambar is aflame.  The acers are colouring up and in the street the great London Planes are dropping their leaves. So full is their leaf cover that they come every week to sweep up the fallen leaves that carpet the pavement.

We stash the aloes and cacti and agave  in the garage to over-winter them dry but light and frost proofed and put our less hardy plants under cover of netting or hessian to protect them as according to Lord Byron the English winter has already commenced – he claimed it started in August and it is already November!

Our garden has many grasses and other plants which we leave standing with their (dead) blossoms and frothy heads all winter for:grasses 30 oct 11

An important part in the winter landscape is played by the dead grasses and other herbaceous plants… Wreathed in snow or encased in ice they present a singularly graceful and fantastic appearance [Mrs William Starr Dana]

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Beverley Nichols wrote: Most people, early in November, take last looks at their gardens and then are prepared to ignore them until the spring. I am quite sure that a garden doesn’t like to be ignored like this… Especially since a garden knows how gay and delightful it can be, even in the very frozen heart of the winter, if you only give it a chance.

Our garden has much to offer in the winter. The clematis flower bravely against the cold and the early bulbs poke their heads up in January. P1000739 P1000705 P1000706 P1000709The frost and the snow offer wonderful vistas for photography as my husband’s photos regularly show. The crisp outlines of branches and grass heads against the grey skies or very blue/white skies of frosty days are stunning in their architectural forms.

So don’t forget your garden in the winter. Don’t cover it with dustsheets and wait for the spring in front of the cosy fire, in your favourite armchair, with the seed catalogues. Go out there and enjoy the different atmosphere – with gloves, boots, and scarf and hat it’s true but still with eyes that see the wonder.


February into March – The Season Changes

As February draws to a close and March begins, the March wind do blow – we see the tops of the trees sway and branches fall but the birds are busy twittering away and lining up nesting  materials.

There is also a squirrel in our garden – maybe one of the baffled ones? (see photo) who is tearing at the piece of netting lodged in the tree at the back of the garden – nest materials for her also perhaps?

squirrel1 squirrel2

The primroses are in flower and the bulbs are beginning, dwarf irises and early dwarf narcissi as well as cyclamen coum flower. Symphitum of all varieties including Ibericum; tuberosum; ibiriceum; flower ready for the early solitary bee with the long proboscis that feeds on their colourful tubes. Also beginning are the Pulmonaria we have ‘raspberry splash’; ‘Beth chatto’; ‘frehling shimmmel’; and various blues – all with spotted leaves of many shades, that give them their name as they were beloved to help cure lung disease. And the buds on our magnolias are ripening.

Now is the time to mulch the plants. Organic mulch from your compost heap or manure if your garden needs it, mixed with soil, will feed for the season and help prevent dryness in the height of the summer. Weeds will grow but mulch helps smother them -unless your compost heap was not hot enough to kill the weed seeds of course!

It is also the time to complete any pruning not yet finished – by Easter you should be finished. Once the sap starts rising it can damage the plants to be pruned and watch out for pruning fig trees once the sap is rising – it is very sticky and unpleasant.

If you have had hyacinths or spring bulbs in your house over the winter – plant them out to flower for next year in your main garden. You may find that over time the hyacinths change back to blue but…or put them in pots and out of sight for a patio display next spring. Now is the time to look at other people’s gardens to see what bulbs they have planted for the spring. Have they got a different daffodil? Or a new iris or? But the tulips are yet to come so keep some space for them… and whatever you do, don’t remove the leaves from your daffodils until at least six weeks or longer if you can, have passed. Remove the dead heads but let the leaves soak up the feed to increase the bulb size and start offsets. Feed your bulbs while still in flower or as they start to poke through the sol. Leaving it until they are finished flowering is rather late.

If you are growing early annuals such as poppies or marigolds, you can start to sow in prepared seed beds or trays but beware the rain if in trays – don’t let it wash all the seeds out as has happened to me in the past – or foxes upset the trays. So put them somewhere safe and well drained.

In January to February the foxes are bold in our garden and we find they play with toys they drag in from everywhere. Keep a look out as they rather indiscriminate with what they play – we have had soiled nappies, tins, plastic bag and the detritus from our cat’s litter tray pulled around the garden. Some of this we believe is the hormones from females  that are found in heir excrement and urine that attract the males regardless of them not being foxes… and their curiosity as to where this smell is coming from leads them to carry stuff around and pull it apart to check there isn’t a female fox smell hidden somewhere…

fox1 fox2



We have gone out for a walk: Into my garden last week

God is at home

it is we who have gone out for a walk

into our garden

on mossy paths

through scented bushes and flowers that nod as we pass,

trees with apricot shaded branches against deep blue sky

furry buds of Spring though the blue sky means cold tonight and the buds must sleep a while longer,

the silence beyond the sound is here – look beyond to explore the silence and awaken to the now

God is not then, there was, will be, can be.

God is

and the ‘is’ is you.

God is within you

and within each flower, bush and bee

insect, worm and bacteria,

all that live in your garden

God is within them too.

Look and look again

wonder at at their beauty

and relish their life for it is all too short and yet lives on in each seed and bulb and root

and winter will frost them

and spring will bring them again to live in sunshine and rain

Our life is all too short

and full of care and woe

and yet,


for that moment,

we look beyond the silence

and know

we are here

in the now

and present in that now

then we are in God and God is within us and all of life