Mid-February means that the frogs are back in our ponds doing what frogs do at this time of year.  This usually lasts just a couple of days and then throughout the year we come across them in damp bits across the garden helping us with our battle against slugs.

 

Frogs doing what frogs do...

Frogs doing what frogs do…

Some years the frogs get their timing wrong and if we get a cold spell after they have spawned the frogspawn gets frosted and we sometimes get a second flush.  This year the weather has turned very cold again with frost and snow so we shall see.

Whilst cold temperatures and a dusting of snow is tough on the frogs it does, however, look very pretty.

a dusting of snow

a dusting of snow

veg beds

veg beds

decking and garden room

decking and garden room

more veg beds

more veg beds

spring bulbs in pots in the yard

spring bulbs in pots in the yard

And we have some snowdrops doing what they do in the snow.

snowdrops braving the icy weather

snowdrops braving the icy weather

We have been busy getting on with some of our seasonal tasks – mainly woodland and coppice management and dealing with the products thereof and tidying up the veg and flower beds when the weather allows.

Coppice management produces the pea sticks and rods for making rose and sweet pea supports.

hazel pea sticks

hazel pea sticks

These bundles of pea sticks will be used over the next few weeks to provide support for the peas and mange tout which I am sowing in guttering at the moment.  The longer ones are selected to provide material for making domes for sweet peas to climb up and to support roses and clematis.  The photo below shows a support made from hazel for one of the old-fashioned roses – the name of which I have long since forgotten.  (Note to self – must improve permanent labelling.)

 

Caroline created this hazel rose dome

Caroline created this hazel rose dome

(Caroline is my new one-day-a-week gardener and will feature in future postings.)

In future weeks there will also be a new runner bean tunnel but as the beans don’t get planted out here until the end of May there’s no rush to do that.  Photo below is one from a previous year.

 

hazel runner bean tunnel

Caroline and I have also been pruning – some results below:

Holly

Holly

Beech

Beech

field maple (foreground)

field maple (foreground)

Willow arch

Willow arch

All these add structure to the winter garden.

But back to ‘logs and unseasonal swimming’.

Ian had help moving logs from Caroline’s 2 sons.

Many hands make light work

Many hands make light work

Harry and Thomas admire Ian's beard

Harry and Thomas admire Ian’s beard

But there were lighter moments in the hard day’s work

Riding back to work

Riding back to work

And then they asked if they could take a dip in the natural swimming pond – in FEBRUARY at 4 degrees!

 

4 degrees C!

4 degrees C!

snowy landing

snowy landing

 Madness.

Finishing with some unseasonal (i.e. trying to pretend it’s spring when actually it’s still very much winter) stuff going on in the greenhouse to cheer us up…

 

tete-a-tete daffs

tete-a-tete daffs

broad beans

broad beans

iris reticulata 'harmony'

iris reticulata ‘harmony’

Looking at the weather outside I think I might be finding more tasks in the greenhouse this coming week. And I think I’ll leave the ‘unseasonal swimming’ to the ducks…

our ducks in the stream today

our ducks in the stream today