It’s a little known fact amongst those that know me, that I have for many years had the kind of winter gloominess that afflicts many. For me, it has been a creeping despair from the end of September onwards. I used to find it almost impossible to drag myself out of the house in the winter, whilst Mr P gaily boasted about being a ‘year round gardener’!
I say ‘used to’ because this year has been quite different and despite the general despair about the pandemic, I have actually wanted to go outside, even in really adverse weather. I can attribute this to two factors: this is the first winter when I haven’t been working full time and I think that going to work in the dark and finishing work in the dark was a recipe for depression. Even if there was a bit of uplifting weather, it never seemed to be at a time when I could enjoy it. The second reason is that I am still enjoying a continued gratitude for the luxury of space and enjoyment my garden has given me during this pandemic. I’m sure that all gardeners have felt the same gratitude during these exceptional months.
I can honestly say that my visit’s to the garden in previous Februarys consisted mainly of a dash between greenhouse and potting shed but this year I have been truly rewarded by the amazing number of flowers around the garden. It seems to have been a really good snow drop year but I have also taken the time to admire the catkins and the crocuses, the witch hazel and the gorgeously fragrant daphne odora. I even have to admit to a sneaking admiration for the flowers on a plant that I really don’t like and which we inherited and have buried deep in a border. Who would have thought that the flowers of mahonia, sparkling in the sun could be quite so joyous?
Winter jobs are continuing apace and in between these I am busy sowing seeds. The tomatoes, chillies and sweet peppers are all up and the greenhouse is already full. Greenhouses are like lofts and garages I find – you just expand to fit the space available. Much of it is still taken up with over-wintering tender plants and I have also been painting a garden table in there to accelerate the drying times. The table should be evicted this weekend however, and more seeds sown. Good weather is forecast for the next few days so there is much to do. We have some willow hurdles to replace, a new gate is needed on the hen run and I am re-distributing soil after the construction of new raised beds for the currants, blueberries and asparagus. It is amazing just how many jobs there are on the list but I think I am ever so slightly guilty of creating some jobs, where none needed to exist. Oh the joys of winter gardening! Who would have thought?