The garden falls quiet in December; a timely lull as our attention has been scattered elsewhere; with weekends away and indoor tasks claiming most of our free time in recent weeks.
It was a pleasure to be at home, and snatch an hour outside in the sunshine this weekend, catching up with the garden without any pressing tasks – or certainly none that I will entertain now before the new year!
The brassicas range from the green Brussels sprouts, fattening up for our Christmas dinner, through the dark Cavalo Nero plumes and deep purple pomp of the red curly kale beyond; to the vivid green curly kale and more subdued savoy cabbages and cauliflowers beyond.
The silvery leeks are providing us with a steady harvest too; while nearby the parsnip foliage is dying back. I have marked their location with canes to help find them in a couple of weeks’ time, come sunshine or snow. The ruby stems of chard complete the picture in the kitchen garden (not pictured here), continuing to produce new leaves.
After exploring the garden’s winter colours, I couldn’t resist picking up a rake and sweeping out leaves from the long border. The wind does a good job here on our hilltop, clearing most of the falling leaves from the field border and lawn; so that raking leaves has been all but unnecessary for us since we began this garden. However, as our borders mature, swags of leaves driven off by the wind accumulate around the plants in the long border, providing dark and damp hiding places that are perfect for slugs and snails. So I happily set to, pulling leaves out from the front of the border with my fingers or rake, and piling them into black bin bags. We have a high proportion of horse chestnut leaves, which are slow to break down, so I expect it will be at least two years before we have workable leafmould, but well worth the wait.