My daughter said to me yesterday ‘You’ve obviously been too busy gardening recently to write a blog’.  She’s right but it’s snowing today so I spent the morning sorting out my ‘to do’ gardening lists and veg rotation plan for 2016 and made soup with the intention of sitting at the computer this afternoon to write a blog.

Thank you , Vicky, for the recipe for Armenian lentil soup with apricots from your lovely bean-cooking book, ‘Out of the pod’.  Frustratingly, as we grow so much veg here in the garden, for this particular recipe it was only the parsley garnish (from the greenhouse) and the veg stock which was our own produce; we’ve just finished up the last of the stored onions and potatoes, given up trying to grow peppers, and as for apricots – well dream on, here at 1200′ in the Black Mountains…although, perhaps in the greenhouse?

delicious soup

delicious soup

So, fortified by Vicky’s soup and looking out at the Christmas card landscape (this is when the conifers we are largely surrounded by are forgiven and even loved), here are some photos I took a couple of days ago when the sun was shining and it all looked very different, spring-like…almost.

The reason for my foray out into the garden early one sunny morning was that the infra-red camera had captured some photos the night before of our nocturnal visitor adding chionoxidas to it’s burgeoning menu of my spring flowering bulbs.  My intention was to walk the fenceline between garden and forest to try to find out how it was getting in to the garden.

 

badger munching on chionoxidas

badger munching on chionoxidas

Failed to find the badger’s point of entry but enjoyed the walk.  Emily joined me.

Emily on gate post

Emily on gate post

Emily on the path into the forest

Emily on the path into the forest

Emily again

Emily again

And we saw some lovely moss ‘gardens’.

Moss 'garden'

Moss ‘garden’

Lovely moss

Lovely moss

the 'bear's cave'

the ‘bear’s cave’

more moss

more moss

moss sculpture in the garden

And on some of the sticks on the forest floor white, cotton wool stuff which only seems to appear when the temperature drops to below freezing.  Mental note to self to find out what it is.

what's this?

what’s this?

Back in the garden, to cheer me up some photos of early flowering bulbs which obviously don’t appeal to the discerning palate of our nightly badger.

crocuses

crocuses

snowprops

snowdrops

our earliest daffodils...awaiting the rest

our earliest daffodils…awaiting the rest

And Emily, sleeping in the sun, exhausted from her long walk.

exhausted...

exhausted…

Oh, and back to the ‘too busy gardening’ accusation, here’s a list of some of the things which have kept me from the computer in the last few weeks.

  • coppicing hazel for pea sticks and bean poles
  • tidying up the greenhouse and washing the glass (least favourite job of the gardening year)
  • sowing broad beans and peas (in guttering), leeks and celeriac and salad (also in guttering)
  • sowing a whole host of annuals including half-hardies like cosmos (this is where a heated propagator comes in handy)
  • emptying one of the compost bins and using to mulch beds which will have brassicas and potatoes later on
  • tidying up whenever the weather has allowed – e.g. removing old leaves from the hellebores. removing  last year’s pea sticks to the bonfire
  • pruning fruit bushes, vines and roses
  • potting up 70 (10 each of 7 varieties) Christmas trees
  • bringing in the pots of Amaryllis from the cold greenhouse into the house to stimulate flowering

Some people (non-gardeners) think that we gardeners put our feet up in front of the fire, reading gardening magazines and seed catalogues during January and February.  Perhaps we do some days when it’s snowing.

Finishing with a couple of pics of Amaryllis in flower on the sitting room windowsill last February.

Amaryllis on window sill

Amaryllis on window sill

Amaryllis 'Apple blossom', I think

Amaryllis ‘Apple blossom’, I think