winter warming

Having turned my back on the garden for the past month, it’s lovely to connect again and to feel the love for my little space.  The garden is full of birds, the bulbs are on the move and, surprisingly, I’m still enjoying quite a few vegetables from the plot.  Three varieties of kale – used as a key ingredient in a warming winter soup!

Downing tools has given me the chance to sew a special birthday quilt for a surf-loving brother.  It has also given me time to reflect on the year that has been, and of course, to consider what I’d like to achieve for the year ahead.  Opening for the NGS last year was physically really tiring – so I’m very happy this year to garden for myself – to make improvements and finish a few projects, but most of all to enjoy the garden, to sit and read, to pick more flowers and take more photographs.

There are some aspects that I don’t think worked for me last year.  The cutting garden has gone, primarily because it was at its peak in July / August when I head away for the summer – all that work and no-one to harvest and enjoy it seemed a bit sad.  Edible flowers will remain, and I will certainly do the sweet peas and cornflowers – but I’ll go back to picking (sparingly) from the borders!

My other real ‘failure’ was my Sissinghurst-esque tie down of the roses.  I believe the mistake I made was pulling them too strongly – so many of the branches that were tied didn’t flower at all, and some died.  Big error.  I will attempt it again, but will be kinder on the poor rose!  I loved a post by The Dahlia Papers on Sissinghurst – and can picture the rose lace adorning my stone walls…  I have a trip planned to Sissinghurst in June so can check if mine looks like theirs…  I can but try.



7 thoughts on “winter warming

  1. Thank you so much for the link the The Dahlia Papers. I’ve never seen Sissinghurst in winter, and the photos were such a treat! I’m glad you are going to take more time to enjoy your beautiful garden without the pressure of being open this year. Maybe every other year?


  2. kale has been a success in my garden too this year despite the ravages of the small white butterfly and her laying of eggs during the late summer months! I’m ready now to embark on more salad stuff and herbs and now that I have an idea of what already exists in the garden I can make some changes. Enjoy your garden this year, I am all for sitting and reading a book outside 🙂


    1. Hi Jude, I was in Cornwall for a few days this month – it was so lovely and warm!!! I had definite weather envy! Enjoy your planning for the year. My kale survived the white butterfly onslaught only due to the butterfly netting I finally bought – it was a total godsend!!! 🙂 x

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  3. Lovely to hear that you’re engaging with the garden again, Simone – I think winter is a great time to step back and think clearly about what worked and what didn’t. For myself, I’ve realised a need for more autumn flowers so am sowing dahlias, cosmos and asters this year to bridge that gap. Kale is a stalwart of my winter garden too – that soup looks delicious! I found a pearl barley and kale recipe in Waitrose this winter (might be the same as yours!), also beetroot and sweet potato (I’ve had beetroot in the garden all winter) and stored squashes have featured a lot on the menu as well! I think I place more importance on winter veg than others than I can easily harvest in the summer!


    1. Hi Caro! Haha, yes, I think we have the same recipe. It worked for me. I swore last year that I was NEVER doing dahlias again – it’s the digging out and storing, by the time I remember (I don’t like to do it when the flowers are out) it’s always too late and they then die with a frost. I’ve got a dahlia graveyard out there 😦


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