Days of Clover: Planning, Building and Growing

Over the last month we have been busy, busy, bu-sy with garden projects. New fence posts have been concreted in and new fence panels erected after high winds blew the old fence down. A new deck has been built outside the garden studio, which i’m very excited about as it will be my new meditation and yoga spot – when the weather permits, of course! Some very exciting house improvements are starting to come to fruition too, but I’ll save those for another post.

We were really lucky; not long before the fence was blown down we decided to move our greenhouse away from it. Had the greenhouse remained where it was we would have been facing a lot of broken glass in addition to the splintery wooden mass that was unceremoniously deposited in a great heap. Because there is always a silver lining; replacing the fence made us look at the space in a new light and we plan to use the area for growing food. Although not the biggest of areas, we do think we can make it work for us and are quite excited to get going with the growing. However, Our next job, is to order some replacement glass panels for the greenhouse. We did decide (rather stupidly) to glaze the greenhouse on a very windy day: a very Terry and June debacle ensued, resulting in numerous broken panes. We also ran out of glazing clips to hold the glass in so couldn’t finish installing the glass we had. Extras have now arrived, so work can recommence.

IMG_0219

 

 

 

 

 

There is already in place a large brick raised bed that forms part of the retaining wall that separates the upper garden from the lower garden and lawns. This raised bed is already brimming with culinary herbs for cooking and making teas. I did try to grow spinach in there too this year and although the seedlings came up, they were very quickly crowded out by the well established herbs.

IMG_0141

The rear elevation of the garage provides us with a handy spot to espalier the greengage tree that my beloved gave me for my birthday this year. I also plan to re-pot a lovely gooseberry bush I already have and I’m mulling adding a raspberry bush too, to create a soft fruit area. I’ll probably move the potatoes from their current location on the patio – where they sit admidst pots of alliums and lilies and look a little out of place- to the new ‘market garden’. We grow potatoes in those growing sacks that you can pick up in Poundland. We’ve been growing them this for years and always get a decent yield.

At the moment there is a large, very dilapidated and ugly coal bunker alongside the boundary fence between us and our lovely neighbour. The previous owner of the house filled it with compost and used it as a planter. We had thought to re-purpose it to grow salad and vegetables in, but given its poor state and that it previously was a working coal bunker, we didn’t think it prudent to risk contaminants leeching out of the concrete and back into the soil. We will replace the coal bunker with some wooden raised beds instead, which will mean we can also move them if we need to.

IMG_0221

 

Not so pretty coal bunker and mess!

 

 

 

If anyone has any fruit and veg recommendations or growing tips please leave them in the comments.

Love and light

Stella

Giving the winter blues a great big hygge

Winter is a difficult season for me. Although there is much I love about it; cool crisp air, woolly jumpers and the majesty of bare branches, to name but a few; what’s not so much fun is the winter blues. In September their arrival merely hinted at, are in full occupation by October in all their teary, anxiety making, energy sapping glory. Over the years I’ve developed various strategies for dealing with them; a daylight lamp and regular exercise being the chief methods for keeping them at bay, or at least partly at bay. Hygge does the rest.

Hygge is the Danish attitude to life that doesn’t have a direct translation in English, but has been loosely defined as cosiness, or as the blogger Anna Lea West more descriptively terms it as ‘cosiness of the soul’. Hygge is a feeling, arising out of nights shared in the company of good friends and good food, or by curling up with a beloved besides a warm fire drinking hot chocolate and eating homemade spiced cake. In addition to all of these, hygge for me is the long forest walks I take with my beloved, both of us wrapped up in cosy woollens and armed with a flask of coffee; or the homey evenings we spend in front of the wood burning stove in our garden hideaway. It is also afternoons writing at my kitchen table while a scented candle flickers away giving everything a warm yellowy aura.

Hygge has transformed my winters into a time to be cherished rather than feared, and while I can’t claim to be wholly depression free, I’m certainly not the amorphous mass wrapped in a duvet refusing to move from the sofa that I once was either. I can count on one hand the ‘bad’ days I’ve had so far this winter and that is definitely something to celebrate, perhaps, with a little cake, hot chocolate and a candle or two.