‘Tis the season to pick holly . . .

The Winter Solstice. The sun might be at its lowest point but at least it’s shining so what better way to spend a few hours than pottering around the garden? I’ve picked Yuletide greenery for the house; despite the flocks of fieldfares and redwings clacking around the neighbourhood there is no shortage of holly berries.

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I’ve lost track of which plan we’re on for the vegetable garden now, we’ve changed our minds several times, but I think we’ve finally settled on The Plan at last. Our problem is trees: beautiful, huge, mature trees which are wonderful to have . . . except that their roots and shade aren’t conducive to good gardening. Add the slope of the land and some very boggy patches and we are struggling. We’ve decided the only thing for it is to have several small  patches scattered about rather than one big one, so with the first two dug, Roger has started on the third. It might end up looking a bit quirky, but who cares? It’s the vegetables that matter, after all!

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On the subject of which, our cabbages have taken quite a battering from caterpillars but we’re hopeful we might get at least a taste from them when they’ve had chance to recover.

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The rocket and chervil are still going strong and we’ve been enjoying some ‘surprise’ veg, too: a huge pile of leeks (a mix of ‘Musselburgh’ and Blue Solaise’) rescued from the emergency patch we planted in France along with a late ‘Crown Prince’ squash.

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We’ve been planting trees again, two more bare-rooted fruit trees to add to our new orchard. Thanks to daughters Sarah (a ‘Beurre Hardy’ pear) and Vicky ( a plum – ‘Victoria’, naturally!) for such lovely gifts. Can’t wait to see that blossom next spring.

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I’ve been clearing an area under the cherry tree today, helped – if that’s the word – by the chickens. It’s a tricky spot with fairly thin soil, full of tree roots and (far, far worse) bindweed. This is going to be a woman-versus-weed battle of epic proportions but I’ve made a good start. It’s no good for vegetables so I’m planning to fill it with wild flower seed next spring. The next job is to extend the kitchen garden patch below it so I’ve got room for a squash hotbed. I’m also hoping there might be some tins of paint for that summer house in my stocking . . .  🙂

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With Christmas in mind, I wondered if there were any flowers coming on the Christmas rose (it was lifted and moved in the summer) and found the tiniest of buds hiding in the foliage.

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No hiding from this ‘Christmas rose’: it has flowered constantly since we arrived here in July, is still covered in buds and smells gorgeous. Not very seasonal but very beautiful all the same.

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Merry Christmas, everyone! 🙂

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2 thoughts on “‘Tis the season to pick holly . . .

  1. Looks like you’ve been there for years! It’s amazing how quickly you’ve put your stamp on the place. I’m getting a bit twitchy as it’s too early to start sowing seeds and too muddy to weed. We’ve had non stop drizzle for days on end so difficult to get any work done as the ground it totally sodden. Love the rose what a delicate shade of pink. Very envious of the stream what a bonus – you’ll be growing water cress then next year? We are never going to get through all those squashes despite giving them away to neighbours. Don’t laugh but today we had neeps and tatties from the garden with a tin of haggis our friends sent us over in a Christmas box! It’s a funny old world.

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    • Neeps, tatties and haggis sounds just fine by me! Hope it dries up for you soon, it’s frustrating when you’re itching to get going outside. We sorted through the seed box yesterday, at least we can think about sowing – and much as we miss the French sunshine, it’s good to be able to plan for lots of brassicas again. I really fancy trying watercress but our daughter Sarah (a country vet) has advised strongly against it on the grounds of the risk of liver fluke from the neighbouring sheep. Still, I could try some in trays, I suppose?

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