Well, it’s been a long but surprisingly warm and dry January. I keep tasks like writing the newsletter for a wet or cold day when it’s not fun to be outside, but there have been very few of those!
I have been doing a bit of planting, which is possible in the absence of frost. I had dug up a lot of perennials and shrubs from the lake field (which I had to vacate late last year). I have been getting them into the ground at Coole. I’m halfway there with a grassy bed, inspired by Des Doyles amazing garden in Kilkenny. It will get a big haircut in February, and then we can wait for new panicles, flowers, and alliums to appear.
And while I like to do as little tidying as possible, I have needed to prepare a few beds for very belated planting out of autumn sown annuals. Also, my paths were in need of some clearing. The garden still looks pretty messy, but there is some semblance of order in places. And the chickens enjoyed some of the greenery that was removed. In fact, they helped with the weeding!
There are some flowers peeping up - Snow drops, hellebores, calendula in the tunnel, and a few wallflowers are thinking about blooming.
We built some compost bins in Coole - well I suppose built is a bit strong of a word - it’s just pallets and cable ties, but we have Charles Dowding’s blessing to be this ad-hoc, so if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me! Making compost is one of the best things that you can do for biodiversity, for the health of your soil, and for managing waste. Also, if you are operating a no-dig garden, you need as much compost as you can get your hands on. Any of my neighbours who don’t use chemicals on their lawn are welcome to donate their freshly mown grass. Great for heating up my many compost bins.
One of January’s highlights for me was teaching a sushi making course - see here for details. It was great to sit together and be sociable and eat the fruits of our labour.
Next weekend I’ll be teaching a soap making course - there’s one place left - click here for details.
So, this weekend people are celebrating Imbolc, or the feast of St Brigid. It’s time to emerge from hibernation, and start thinking about sowing seeds - or at least organising and planning your garden.
If you’d like to join me online and learn to grow flowers from seed, I have a course starting in mid February - click here for more details. It’s a great, inexpensive way to have loads of flowers.
Now, I’ll leave with you some inspiring music and wish you happy growing!