What do you Love?

 

It’s Valentines day tomorrow.

Tell me what you love

I’ll start by giving love to the 2 stalwarts of my garden, who thrive and shine no matter what.

Both of these beauties have been known to throw seasons out the window, and stick with us long after they’re supposed to.

Primroses in their giant glorious crowns – always the first to arrive, (never be surprised when they pop a dosey head or two for Christmas, or one memorable year – for Halloween!)

And heather, who constantly show their colours. They say heather is for luck, protection and passion, and maybe it’s the Scottish side in me, but the garden never looks barren with a swathe of these delicate, tiny bells. I’d love to try growing it into a tree one of these days! Imagine that…

‘Words are easy, like the wind; faithful friends are hard to find’

                                                                 – William Shakespeare

 

Heather and Primroses

In the Belly – Feb Thoughts

 

There’s something very kind and gentle about the light in February.

 

Chrysanth in Glow

 

I’m inspired to avoid my beastly lists of jobs TO DO, in favour of a loving list of habits to form. Like wandering around in the lengthening evenings, plucking hapless green shoots from the spots where they shouldn’t be…

(Gardening can be terribly violent at times, can’t it?)

This month of course is the month of love, and mysterious ancient rites of deep-cleaning the homes, hearth and heart. It is the month when the lambs arrive, bleating and gambling and tripping over themselves with new-born joy. It is the month when we might see the sun again, if only to kiss our noses and briskly hurry back into its winter bed.

 

 

It is a gentle, beautiful month. Joyful birthdays, (is anything sweeter than the gift of sisters?), and Nirvana Day, and Pancake Day, and the beginning of Lent.

We have moons with names like Ice Moon, Snow Moon, Storm Moon, but the frozen nights still offer up a cool-silk cushion of constellations on display, so we can look up and wonder. Venus has already caught me by surprise several afternoons this week – look out for her dancing round the moon before 9pm most nights this month. She’s got her eye on you…

Things happen slowly in these parts. Our snowdrops haven’t burst, our Daffodils barely lifting their necks. But there’s still signs of life.

February’s beauty lies in its discrete and subtle art. I’m a big fan.

 

All photos by Notes from a Compulsive Gardener

Winter Nights

There is a very big place in my heart reserved by the winter sun. I may complain about it sometimes, but never in the winter, when its gentle glow is deeply felt, and greatly appreciated.

But so too are the nights. Black as tar, every minute detail is amplified by the lens of the cold.

And if you experiment, you can capture that spooky essence which I think our ancestors knew a lot about.

Winter nights are for ghost stories and dark secrets.

They are also full of magic.

 

 

9th Jan 2020: Not dead, just dormant…

When I titled my last post Preparing to Move Indoors, I didn’t think I was being literal… but I guess the old adage is true, you become the things you spend the most time with, so I went dormant. From the outside at least, on the inside… wowsers.

Most winter rituals involve a great deal of plotting and planning – fantasising over seed catalogues and drawing out new areas to be renovated and transformed. I haven’t done that yet this year, and last night I dreamt that hundreds of bulbs suddenly appeared in the garden overnight, and there were purple tulips and bright gold something-or-others trying to push their heads out through carpets of thick frilly weeds, and I woke up thinking, ‘okay garden, I got the message, thanks. I’ll think about you more in the front part of the brain.’

It sends missives and emissaries like this: a cackling magpie to make me glance outside; a particularly loud dawn bird tapping its stubby little beak on my old crumbling window frame; leopard-printed slugs coming up through the kitchen sink. Little passive-aggressive callers from the wild.

You might say I should change my name – that no compulsive gardening has been in evidence over these past months – but that would suggest a rather narrow view of exactly what gardening means… 😉

 

All Photos by Yamtan for Notes from a Compulsive Gardener

18th Sept – Preparing to move indoors

Before the first frost, some folks will be getting plants ready to go indoors. I’ll probably only take the basil in, I don’t tend to plant anything that isn’t hardy enough to stand a winter outside. But I do have houseplants, and if they need re-housing before the cold snap, I’ll probably do it now. The worst thing is those long months of central heating when your roots are cramped and tangled (I’m just imagining there are people who have really dry hot houses in the winter, rather than draughty damp abodes that stand impervious to radiators..?).

To avoid rot, mildew, and dehydration, I like a good clean out in Autumn, so everyone has time to settle in before the lock-down, and everyone has fresh soil full of goodies to see them through!

Desert planter

This pot was a birthday gift in July and I put in some nursery desert plants that all needed similar care. They’ve turned into a little family now, I hate to break them up, so I’ll probably just get some cactus food and leave them in there.

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I don’t actually even now what this funny little guy is, but he started life looking like a minuscule bunch of bananas, then sent out these wavering tentacles, which seemed to have pollen, so I did a bit of pollinating with a paintbrush, just in case, and it got all dry and sad, but he’s come back very happy. No clue what to do with it, but he seems alright in here?

Spider Plant

This spider plant is part of a larger one that has been in our family for years. YEARS. I keep splitting it into these large plants, and have pots and pots of its babies all over the place, and it was the first spider we ever owned that actually flowered after we left her outside for a full season. Beautiful.

Kalanchoes

These kalanchoes both need re-potting, and the red is in need of a it more pinching out because she’s getting a bit leggy. I think the red one has been flowering since February, non-stop! What I love about these plants is that they will last about as long as you want to take care of them. Potentially a friend for life.

 

I’m not good with plants, pets or people who make a lot of demands. I like to get to know a thing and take care of it well, rather than experiment and let anybody down.
These guys are my gang for the winter. We’ll all make it out alive, I’m sure…