All The Small Things

The first day of this new year, we finally found an opportunity to spend time in the garden.

Back garden January 1st 2012

While King of the Hill was tidying the patio, I spent time weeding the borders, and sowing a few more seeds that require stratification. The air already seemed brighter, although barely a fortnight since the solstice. It felt strange weeding again in the depths of winter but satisfying, while sowing fresh seed on the first day of a new year seemed most fitting.

geranium macrorrhizum

Making such close contact with the soil and plants after a few weeks’ absence was very pleasurable, and I discovered that the Geranium macrorrhizum plants dotted around the field border, besides still not wearing their autumn colours, were in flower. These came from my mum and dad’s garden, a clutch of pieces pulled from their borders that were amenable to being transported without soil or pot, and happily settled into their new positions where I pushed them into our borders. Their scrambling nature makes them good groundcover, and they are easily pulled out when they creep to somewhere they are not required.

This Omphalodes cappadocica ‘Cherry Ingram’ that I picked up from an NGS sale in the summer has also produced its first tiny blue flower. After languishing in a pot for a few months until the borders were ready, I am pleased that it seems to have settled in; it should provide a good burst of brilliant blue as it spreads and self-seeds, with similar gusto to its cousins, the forget-me-nots.

Echinops ruthenicus

The Echinops ruthenicus on the kitchen windowsill continues to push up serrated leaves; sadly its sibling in the greenhouse was covered with grey mould on my last visit, so my experimentation on overwintering such small seedlings seems to suggest that the winter ventilation in the greenhouse was not enough for such a tender young plant. The verbascum seedlings nearby seem unaffected, however, despite their diminutive size.

sheep grazing in field

Several times we returned to the house to wait out fine showers of drizzle, before returning to our tasks, until finally a heavier rain settled in mid-afternoon and our first day in the garden was brought to an end. Since the weekend, the winds have been furious, tearing the felt from our shed roof and sending garden furniture tumbling. Showers of rain and hail are interspersed with spells of sunshine, and the wet ground squelches underfoot, as we try to limit damaging excursions across such wet terrain.

Shed roof felt torn off by strong winds

I hope that the winds abate soon, so that we can escape into the garden once more this weekend, and repair our ailing shed roof before too many leaks appear.


20 thoughts on “All The Small Things

    • The winds here are fiercesome. The cats have been potty for days now, I keep glimpsing them chasing leaves across the garden (or in circles on the patio). I’ve harvested our first savoy cabbage to tuck into later, many of the others are leaning at jaunty angles, especially the kale. Probably just as well our Brussels sprouts didn’t take off this year… or they would be literally taking off now.

  1. Lovely to be out in the garden at this time of the year and if it wasn’t for that awful wind I would be out there today. I’ve just been to the garden centre and the amount of wheelie bins and recycle boxes I had to dodge was amazing!! I haven’t been up to the polytunnel yet today so don’t know if there is any damage to that or the potting shed. I’ll be taking a walk aftr my lunch.

    • Yes it is wonderful, the light is always so much clearer outside than it appears from a window, great to be able to work outside without freezing. If only those winds would die down. Hope your polytunnel is still intact.

  2. I, too, live in a spot that is very high it is always several degrees colder than the surrounding area – so when you say that you have been out weeding, I am thinking how brave you are. I am not as adventurous in cold weather as I once was, but I have been known to garden in winter with a hot water bottle strapped round my middle.

    • It was pretty mild out at the weekend. A far cry from this time last year when just going outside to chop some kindling would have my face, feet and hands numb with cold. I like your idea about gardening with a hot water bottle attached – suspect I would be inside if it was that cold though!

  3. The ground is just too wet here to attempt to do anything with it. I am itching to get out but I hate the wind and rain so will have to wait until the weather improves. You have such a beautiful view from your garden by the way.

    • Still very squelchy here too, though it does drain quicker in some places than others – off down the hill to join the river. I’m trying to avoid destroying the grass by trampling it into submission while the ground is so wet, and similarly don’t want to compact the beds into clay by walking on them too much, so won’t get much done at the weekend unless it dries out.
      We are really lucky with our views.

  4. Hi,

    Sorry to hear about the shed! Hopefully the weather will allow you to get out tomorrow or over the weekend 🙂

    I noticed when taking photos of the garden earlier how much everything was squelching too! I hadn’t expected it, but then I have been trapped indoors for the past few days!

    My Geraniums are also growing – in fact they never died away. No sign of blooms yet but they cannot be far off.

    • Thank you!

      While the nights are so short that they’ve settled in before the working day ends, we’re restricted to gardening at the weekends, alas. But today is dry and still, so fingers crossed for more of the same tomorrow.

      Squelchy is certainly not good.

  5. Our house overlooks the English channel and the winds this past week have been awesome (in the true sense of the word). Heavy garden furniture just picked up and hurled across the garden. I think you should both go out and hold onto your shed – constantly. I’ll let you know when it’s safe to let go!


    • That made me laugh! My husband spent half of Saturday straddling the roof of the shed as he re-felted it. The far side had come adrift too so the whole thing has been replaced with a new sturdy covering, after some fun and games. Next we intend to batten it, so we don’t get quite such mass damage in the future, but the weekend ran out too soon.

  6. Oh your poor shed! We managed to pass the gales without any major incidents in our garden although there were a lot of branches down along our road (always happens, makes me a little nervous when driving on windy days) and one of my neighbours lost part of her fence. The mildness is nice though, great to get out and do some gardening at this time of year, I’m tempted to start tomatoes early but that might be asking for trouble. Bethx

    • It could have been much worse for us too. The original shed covering was rather thin and brittle, we’ve replaced it now with something much more robust, so fingers crossed no repeat performance. It is lovely to get outside, when the wind drops and the rain ceases.

    • Very frustrating indeed, though the wind had dropped last weekend when we were out. It’s back up today after a couple of days’ further respite this weekend. We seized any opportunity to go out after the run of bad weather kept us in.

  7. And I don’t like gardening in the rain. Or the wind… So soggy here that I sink in whenever I step on the grass. Quite revolting.

    I’ve got G, Mac in flower too – but I’ve not started sowing yet. There’s talk of more seasonal weather at the end of the week (but that’s probably just an excuse)…

    • I’ll tolerate a certain level/amount of rain before I bolt for cover and a hot cup of tea!
      I still keep wondering when winter is going to arrive … but this mild season should give all my autumn plantings a good headstart.
      Won’t feel like we’ve had winter at all without some proper frosts and/or snow, but I wouldn’t complain…

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