Potager Garden: February 2020

My little helper, who pulls on her boots the moment she sees me fetch the kitchen door key, joins me in the garden today.

I’m so pleased to see tiny crocuses popping up in the old terracotta pots I bought from the library plant sale last year. I like the look of these old frost-hardened and slightly chipped pots far better than brand new ones. All of those marks tell a story.

Best of all, the first snowdrop of the year is in bloom! The almanac I’m currently reading puts it so well, that these graceful white blooms are “a reassuring sign that winter is moving on, and that spring will come.”

The onions are growing steadily. I find space for a pot of primulas in a nook beside the vegplot gate.

My third son is out on his scooter. The brick pathway purposefully doubles as a track, with a camber and gentle slope built in for the children. The path has unusual bends and loops as it has been based on the winding route my autistic son loved to run, barefoot through the grass lawn, until his footsteps had worn a deep groove.

In the wall planters by the patio, tiny narcissi shoots can be seen poking up amongst the forget-me-nots. This is wonderful as it means they have survived being moved around and repotted. They had seemed so delicate and I am relieved.

The elephant ear plant is in full bloom now. I’m told that my great uncle took a single leaf from a botanic garden by the seaside, planted it and it grew. It has been passed on since then. My mum’s version of the plant came from my late grandma’s garden, and mine came from my mum’s.

My daughter will continue to play outside long after her older brothers have gone in. She is happiest in the fresh air.

It will be lovely when the apple tree in this bed has leaves on again.

As the rain comes, we are back inside and I settle to write at the kitchen table. I have a little notebook where I jot down what is happening in the garden, so I can compare year on year and see what works. I also draw small pictures of which seeds or bulbs are planted where.

We are all beguiled by the tropical pineapple cake in a magazine. My second son and I make a child friendly version of the recipe (minus the rum!) together the next day – a little bit of sunshine and a taste of summer to brighten a grey winter’s day.

Update: You can find the Sunshine Cake recipe here

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