Tag: gardening with children

January and the Allotment Garden

By Richard Chivers

When Christmas has passed and life resumes its normality, the biggest problem I find as a gardener is that January is a frustratingly long month.

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The shortest day the longest night

Enjoying a German rose-garden alongside the River Rhein

Enjoying a German rose-garden alongside the River Rhein

Tomorrow (21st December) is the winter equinox when dark far outstrips daylight and time to be out of doors has to be squeezed between all other tasks and daily chores. I fell to thinking about our garden, orchard and nut plat, high in the north Cotswolds, and about all the gardens I have visited throughout the year. About gardening in general in fact – it’s a good time to reflect on the concept of a garden, and what it is that is so compulsive about the thought, or act, of gardening.

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Rain, rain and more rain!

self-seeded cowslip plant

One cowslip plant has self-seeded to become a large patch in our orchard –
stakes mark the outlying plants to prevent them being ‘mown out’

After a more than unusually warm end to March, with accompanying drought, is there anywhere that is not now soggy and waterlogged? And it’s likely to remain so, and cold with it, for a while yet. Take a look at today’s BBC Weather website – and click on the link to weatherman John Hammond’s explanation on why this is happening. The damp conditions have actually favoured our expanding cowslip patch, begun from a single (purchased) plant five years ago – not one taken from the wild.

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End of month miscellany

potager in early summer 2011

My potager in early summer 2011; it’s development is still ongoing

With the mild weather we’ve had this January, I should have been out in the garden, titivating the potager and beginning yet another reclamation project of areas that escaped me last year. But circumstances have made this impossible, though I do enjoy our outdoor space every day when letting out, feeding and shutting in the hens. Crocuses and snowdrops already in flower, hellebores of various types with lime-green or deep purple buds ready to open, and the modest shrubby winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) releasing its delicious scent whenever I walk into the sheltered patch where it is growing.

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Gardening Book Recommendations

adding perennials and herbs to the potager

Work in progress – adding perennials and herbs to the potager

There’s something about August and – for those with children – the school holiday period, that has one thinking of changed directions. Such a good time to learn something different, or catch up on those books piled in the bookshelf that you hoped to read when you had a spare moment. Spare moments rarely come for gardeners; there’s always more to be done outside. I’ve just spent the morning expanding the potager; adding more herbs and planting some of the perennial plugs bought earlier that will attract welcome insects throughout the autumn and next spring and summer.

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