To be honest, I’ve been glad of the break that the shorter days of winter has provided. Once we reach the winter solstice and the clocks change it starts getting dark as early as 2.30 on a cloudy day – just about the time I am revving up to being productive.
After thirty-four years of gardening in Australia I am conditioned to gardening when the hottest part of the day is over and I can work in the shade, but that is after 4pm, hence the hiatus over the winter months. Gardening is different here in England.
Nothing is nicer than a burst of colour in spring, while the trees still appear dormant.
As anyone with ageing bones can tell you, gardening gets more painful each year, but the love of seeing nature doing its thing and buds and flowers appearing is addictive.
I had emptied the disused wheelbarrow of last year’s growth and have just replanted it with some plants from our street market plus some lovely violas from the garden centre at Dobbies where Jean and I had coffee and cake yesterday (Seniors here go to garden centres like Aussie and American teenagers go to The Mall!)
The tiny violas are so sweet and cheery, and have a lovely scent for outdoors. Those little bursts of colour make all the difference when I walk outside, and visitors exclaim with pleasure at the new look of the former sad wheelbarrow. (It doesn’t usually have the wheel attached to discourage its removal in the dead of night).
The wild crocus has gone for this year, but were a gentle pleasure. The few snowdrops previously bought from Hodsock Priory have doubled in number this year and by the time they die down till next year the bigger wild snowdrops will be coming up unbidden in my little courtyard.
The golden daffodils are budding and should be out in a week or two. There should be three clumps this year. I started with one left by the previous tenant then added my own. The bluebells bright emerald green leaves are up but the flowers won’t be out for a few weeks yet.
I suppose it is all a bit scruffy to the fastidious gardener, but it is my garden and I do it my way within my limitations. It is a relationship between me and living plants. I tend, and feed, and collect rainwater in all those decorative containers for those dry patches we do actually have.
I do have help with mowing and edging, and some weeding. Paul, our local mowing man, has just done the first mowing and edging for this year and will return every fortnight – for a very reasonable price. He has started up a month early this year due to our milder and surprisingly sunny winter. Global warming in action.
I take lots of photos to look back on during next winter. I share my photos with my family and friends in Australia where the seasons are opposite, and with my cousins in Canada via Facebook.
Now I will share with you!