Alert: garden nerdery ahead.
Looking around my Winter garden, it’s easy to think that there’s not a lot going on. There’s certainly not the lush and rampant growth of the warmer months. But there’s always something going on in a garden, isn’t there? However silent and sleeping the appearance of things.
Always with my early morning cuppa in hand, I perform my rounds, looking closely at each zone and peering in every little bed. Looking for changes, however tiny; seeing what jobs need doing, and planning when I can get at them. I also come upon small gifts and surprises in the form of buds, flowers, cuttings that have taken, (lavender, pineapple sage, hydrangea); or seeds that have enthusiastically sprouted. I have such tenderness for those new growths, as they seem to embody such a trust and faith in life itself.
At the moment I’m thoroughly chuffed with my sweet pea seedlings – here’s hoping the slugs won’t find ’em. Or even a singular slug. It only takes one, doesn’t it?
Sweet peas are an old favourite, and finally having a garden with beautifully rich mountain soil, I feel as though they’ve got a fighting chance. So too my california poppy and cornflower seedlings.
One of the first things I plant wherever I am, is calendula (along with yarrow). It’s not only one of the easiest things to grow but it provides year-round colour in my part of the world. It’s a fab companion plant, and it’s a core ingredient in my Garden Tea.* At this time of the year, along with an abundance of lemons, calendula is a sunny dose of midwinter cheer.
Most of my time in the Winter garden is taken up with composting and mulching, using all the wonderful leaf-fall provided by Autumn’s abundant shedding. I’m also having a mad, brave stab at getting some bergamot (bee balm) and English primrose seeds started. I say “mad” and “brave”, because both can be tricky to get going from seed. Although some might argue that they pop up like weeds once established, getting them going from scratch, in seed trays can sometimes be a challenge. That challenge, specifically for me, is not only rosellas and parrots, but also Merlin.
Merlin is also referred to by all at Rapunzel’s, variously as “Norman Bates”, “Vlad the Impaler”, and “Big Bastard”, (initials BB). Yes, we do love him, but he drives us completely barking mad with his genius for out and out destruction. High. Maintenance.
Anyway, we shall see. Has anyone had any success or experience starting either bergamot and/or English primrose seeds?
I know that English primrose is now an endangered species in Britain. Which to me is a kind of madness, but it goes to show how much damage weed-spraying does to eco-systems. Anyway, I adore primrose, and want to eventually have it growing beneath my maple tree, and in the woodsy parts of my garden. Also around my yet-to-be-constructed stone circle. A little patch worthy of the druids, perhaps?
Well, toodle-oo for now. I must go and get some work done. xx
*Garden Tea is basically a random picking of herbs for the teapot. Usually always containing calendula, and melissa, and often including rose petals, lavender, yarrow, and thyme depending on seasonal availability, and the mood of the day.