17 January 2016

Dorset Garden Diary - Brrrr...And Now It's Here

Hi all,

I hope you've had a good week and stayed warm and dry. Here in Dorset the weather continued to be wet and windy for a couple of days then the temperature dropped, the rain stopped and the wind blew itself out. But no snow. I was away Monday and Tuesday, but when I looked out the window Monday morning before I left, a grey squirrel was 'passing through', bounding along the top of the back fence en-route to another garden. I've finally caught on to his antics and the bird feed is more difficult for him to get to in the my garden now.

Wednesday - the cold weather arrived swiftly but with it came a crystal clear sky and a sunrise that bathed everything in liquid gold. I didn't feed the fish today as it's too cold. I checked the bird food - the gammon rind is being eaten, not much left now and the same with the suet balls. The robin feeder was empty so I filled it up again...still not sure that it's the robins that are eating it. I picked a couple of small fennel bulbs that have sprouted up over the past few weeks and some of the cos lettuce that are still growing and made them into soup with the baby leeks I picked the other day, celery and carrots...very tasty! Stunning sunset.

Thursday - another incredible sunrise (think I'm going to run out of adjectives). It was cold plus the wind picked up which made it feel even colder. I jotted down all the things I need to be doing in January (thank you Gardeners' World magazine). I checked around the garden - put the freesia pot in the greenhouse and also the garlic trough as not sure how frost hardy they are. The rescued carrots are doing well,

I pruned the buddleia;

and the rose (most of the flowers were wilting and there were no new buds)
and the wild basil:

I also trimmed back the fuchsias and salix. I found a large container to put over the rhubarb to force it (needs to be kept in the dark to encourage quicker growth). The thing is, it didn't grow much last year and died back quickly. I, stupidly, didn't mark where it is, so I've put the container over where I think it is...but it might not be! In the cottage garden the verbascum (arctic summer) are coming on well which I'm pleased about because I've grown them from seed

and this grass is enjoying the winter sun, delicate and pretty

I met a friend for lunch and we sat in a warm cafĂ© on the seafront looking out over the sea. With the palm trees swaying in the wind beneath a cloudless sky you could be forgiven into thinking it was summer. Ah...summer! Amazing sunset this evening.

Friday - and stunning sunrise. I sat in the conservatory having breakfast, the crows and what I thought were pigeons (but on consulting my bird book him indoors bought me for Christmas are actually collared doves) were nibbling at the lawn then one of the doves started on the robin food so I stood up and waved my hands about to scare it off. It's for the robins! Then I saw movement by the greenhouse - it was a robin. It hopped and fluttered towards the house then flew onto the washing line before coming down to eat from the ground feeder. Yessss!!! Later in the morning I went out and topped up the ground feeder plus put some feed on a saucer in the gravel garden near the house which hopefully the larger birds can't get to. Next door's passion flower shrub is still thriving. Last year it died back in the winter but look at it this year hanging over the fence like it's summer.

Saturday - heavy frost last night and yes, I have to say it, amazing sunrise this morning. The pond was frozen over, think you can just about see the ice. The plastic saucer we have in the water to stop the water freezing over totally (and allow oxygen into the pond) was frozen to the surface so I gently wiggled it until it broke free, hopefully not disturbing the fish.

The water in the container by the drainpipe had frozen - looks like it's covered in cling film!

And there was a light frost on the lawn - which, as you can see, needs cutting.

I had to work today and it was my turn to cook so I made a chicken and leek pie, and yes, it tasted as good as it looks!

And one last thing. Him indoors has been away for a couple of days...what was the point of buying me a 'ring for wine' bell if, when I ring it, no-one brings me wine!

That's about it for this week. No frost this morning (Sunday) but still very cold. Snowing in some parts of the country but sadly not here...maybe one day. Have a good week and let's hope the weather allows some gardening time. Catch up next Sunday.