November has been and almost gone, rather wet and very mild. We’ve only had a couple of light frosts, not even enough to take the nasturtiums which are still blooming merrily in the veg patch. It’s strange not having our usual supply of winter veg out there – parsnips and leeks in particular (next year!) – but the salad leaves, especially the rocket, just go on and on.
I couldn’t resist buying this bloody sorrel, it’s so colourful; just need to find the right spot for it now.
Now December beckons. Call me Scrooge but I really don’t like Christmas very much. Well, not the frenzied shopping and enforced jollity kind of Christmas that seems so prevalent. I much prefer a quiet midwinter celebration, a nod to the Winter Solstice with candles, greenery, a warm fire and good food. With this simplicity in mind, we haven’t bought Christmas gifts for each other for several years but have bought and planted trees together instead.
This year is certainly no exception. We’ve been making plans to plant almost the entire paddock since we moved here in July and yesterday our bundle of bare-rooted trees arrived from a local nursery. Time to grab a spade and get busy. First to go in were six fruit trees: ‘Stella’ cherry, ‘Beth’ pear, ‘Merryweather’ damson, cooking apple ‘Howgate Wonder’ and dessert apples, ‘Blenheim Orange’ and ‘Egremont Russet.’ These are all half-standard and have made an instant impact: our new orchard has begun!
Today, it was the turn of the woodland.
No Black Friday for us, instead a truly Golden Sunday traipsing up and down the paddock in brilliant sunshine (is it really 30th November?) planting almost 200 young trees: penduculate oak, green beech, wild cherry, rowan, silver birch, spindle, field maple, Norway maple, crab apple, red dogwood and noble fir. Closer to the house we also plugged gaps in the hedge with flowering currant and rosa rugosa, both very colourful and excellent nectar sources. With Sam and Adrienne here for the weekend, many hands (and paws) made light work, with the occasional break for coffee and a mince pie or two.
The trees are all 2-3ft hedging plants but we know from experience that they will grow like stink and be a decent size in no time.
The chickens have been happily re-housed in their new quarters and are laying well, the mild weather is suiting them down to the ground.
I found these little beauties popping up out of the muck pile.
There might not be too much to do in the garden now until spring but what a brilliant weekend it’s been in the late autumn sunshine . . . and what could be more optimistic than planting a new orchard and woodland for the future? 🙂