There was a countrywide storm on its way to us today, with predictions of driving rain and thirty mile an hour winds, so we had to quickly sneak some garden time before the gales blew in.
One pastime I love in the winter months, when flowers are in short supply, is to start looking for signs of new life as the garden begins to sense that spring is not so far away.
Sometimes it takes a little more searching, peering through giant leaves right down to root level.
Then there are future projects to think about. Our little daughter and youngest son had a playhouse as a shared Christmas gift, and I want to find some flower pots that will fit the tiny window boxes and then prune and cut back the plants around the house so that they feel scaled to size. So far there are some tiny forget-me-nots by the porch, and I’ve raised the canopy on an old shrub to look like a real tree. My mum has kindly volunteered to make curtains for the playhouse out of some leftover floral fabric.
Just as the storm approached, I managed to rearrange the stones in the riverbed. It is a child-safe stream that they can paddle in and move the pebbles about to create damns and inlets … though it is good, every few days, to turn off the pump and move everything around so that it flows easily again.
Our plan will be to line these winding paths with hardy herbs, like lavender and thyme, so that when our two younger sons, who both have profound autism, run around the tracks and brush past them, they will act as a sensory garden when a lovely calming scent is released.
Finally to my beloved veg plot, which is hidden in a corner. I’m able to take a cup of tea outside and work on the raised beds whilst keeping an eye on our five children playing. The gate makes sure that our toddler daughter does not trip down the steps.
It is here, in the vegetable garden, where I found my most exciting new shoots for today – the garlic bulbs are beginning to sprout.
It will not be long now before I can barely keep up with all of the gardening, and it is good to enjoy the beautiful calm of these crisp, wintry days.
Now we are all happily back inside, munching on hot wholemeal toast and oranges, listening to the gale and watching the rain on the windows as the light fades.