I often get asked how I keep busy in the garden during the winter. The fact is that I’m am as busy in the winter as I am in the summer. Be it raking leaves, making repairs, pruning and cutting back, there is always something to do. The rather soggy conditions that we have been presented with over the last couple of months, has made it more difficult than usual, but as gardeners we must be hardy and embrace whatever the weather throws at us.
As the weather has turned to a delightful chill, with snow and heavy frosts. I have headed outside are walled perimeter with saw in hand to tackle some of our overgrown laurels and hazel coppice.
While working I think of the original gardeners of Ty Glyn mansion who perhaps occupied themselves with the same task on a cold day such as this, coppicing Hazel for bean poles or hedge stakes. And I think of the structure I shall construct out of the hazel poles from this stool in a few years time to support our beans or sweet peas. I also think about the squirrel who’s forgotten winter food stash perhaps grew into this hazel many years ago.
I do enjoy building a nice big brash fire. By laying all the brash in one direction you minimise the chance of the branches bridging over the fire, resulting in the fire burning-out in the middle leaving the brash on top untouched. Hazel is a very poor firewood, creating very little heat. So I burn the hazel mixed with the laurel I cut earlier to ensure the fire burns with enough heat to ignite the green wood.
In this process nothing will get wasted. the wood ash from the fire will become fertiliser to be scattered around our fruit bushes and apple trees next week. And I’ll stack the unusable hazel poles in a nice sheltered corner to become a hotel for the mini-beasts as well as a restaurant for the bird and reptiles.
As I walk around the garden there is plenty to see and enjoy in the winter months. One of my favourites is this Viburnum planted to the left of the door leading into the garden. I stick my nose up close every morning when I enter the garden and the fragrance brings me forward a few months into spring. It is an absolute joy.
One of my other favourites is this Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’. We grow it in the left hand corner of our top terrace. It’s flowers are delightful and a must for anyone who wants some colour in there garden in the winter months.
Well Christmas is almost upon us, and have a few more jobs to do around the garden before I have a break. So I’ll see you all in the new year.