Friday, 3 February 2012

Chillin' Out (literally)

The cows in the back field are all lined
up against the hedge
where the sun is warmest

I don't know whether you can remember as far back as last Saturday, but compared to the freezing cold weather we are having at the moment, it was positively balmy.  I actually did some proper gardening - something I haven't done for quite a while.    I worked outside (without a coat) emptying the compost bin and spreading the remaining compost over the raised beds.  Then I turned the second bin and was left with about two feet in depth of lovely, crumbly compost from last year which I will spread once the weather  warms up a bit.  I pruned a climbing rose and the hardy fuschia and a buddleia.  I was pleased with all the jobs I managed to get done - but then the weather turned, and we have had hard frosts all week - it really has been bitterly cold.

The good news is that we had an oil delivery, so even if it does snow or whatever, at least we will be warm - the bad news is that the price of oil has soared and it cost over £300 to half fill the tank.  Sadly, we have no gas supply in the village, so the oil suppliers can charge what they want, and we can do nothing about it.  We do have a communal delivery which is supposed to keep the price down - heaven knows what it would have cost otherwise!

So, wondering what I could do a post about today I wandered (well not exactly wandered, it is definitely too cold for wandering) - let's say I purposefully went outside to see if there was anything worth photographing - the answer is practically nothing - everything has flopped with the cold and the ground is rock hard - below are one or two plants that I found.

Euphorbia - Fireglow
 This plant was new to the garden last year and seems to be doing very well - the new growth is a striking red and looks pretty good amongst all the dead brown stuff.

Perennial Wallflower
  Despite everything, this plant just keeps on sending out flowers, and I am so grateful to it for adding grey foliage and purple flowers for so many months of the year.

  There are loads of buds on this blush-pink hellebore but nothing showing on the claret coloured one at all - I hope it hasn't decided to give up the ghost.

 The leeks in the raised beds are doing ok, these are the ones that I have been cutting off at ground level, and  are re-growing, hopefully into proper leeks and not just foliage.

Scarlet Kale
 The kale is sending out new shoots all along the stem, which should make nice eating, as the older leaves are now getting a bit tough.

Indoor hyacinth
This is one of three hyacinth bulbs that I planted with the sole purpose of them flowering for Christmas - they are only a month late!  When they have finished I will plant them outside, which I do every year, and I have a really nice collection out there now.

And that's it, pathetic isn't it - nothing else to show you.   At least the days are lengthening slowly, so it isn't all doom and gloom.  Plus my seeds arrived from Moreveg, a seed company I found out about through Flighty they were ones I was having difficulty sourcing elsewhere, and include Turks Turban and Spaghetti Squash, Chervil, Hyssop, Red Clover, Celery Leaves, Bronze Fennel and one or two others.  My order arrived within two days, lovely little seed packets with not so many seeds that I won't know what to do with them all.  Excellent, and if they all germinate, I shall definitely be going back to Moreveg next year.


  1. Hard frost here too Elaine. I keep forgetting to bring the hens water inside and it's frozen solid. I can remember how shocked we were at the price of the oil to fill our tank in Orkney and thats a few years ago now! And we had peat burning stoves as well!
    Its a bright sunny day here at least. Keep warm, Elaine.

  2. We've only had the one severe frost today, been okay before that. Good job you got your oil delivered before the snow comes. Everything in the garden seems to have got their heads down, as if they know what's coming.

  3. It's surprising what can still be found in the garden at this time of year.
    Many thanks for the linked mention, and good to see that you found want you wanted at MoreVeg.
    Flighty xx

  4. Well Elaine, I'd say that you found quite a bit for us in your yard. Here, everything is under a nice blanket of snow--finally some much needed moisture. I did walk about the other day looking for signs of spring--rather early--but I was much surprised to see that I have daffodils poking their little spikes out, the ones we planted last fall. Guess they don't really know better. I hope they don't freeze. We are an anxious bunch aren't we, barely able to wait for spring. Lovely photos.

  5. If it's any comfort, Elaine - the oil tank at the Priory is £1000 to fill and lasts a little under a month!

  6. Its tough when you are dependent on oil for heating, they really do have you over a metaphorical barrel. Lovely perennial wallflower though.

  7. Hello!
    When do you cut back bowles mauve wallflowers when they always bloom? Any suggestions? THanks.