14 Dec 2013

Capel Moments .. A winter's day

Dew-berries Capel
Surreal: so still that the droplets of thawed frost just hung there - not one of these fell!

The icy fingers of Jack Frost have not yet touched the veg patch garden so I was super excited on my drive up to Enfield yesterday to see frosted allotments at the side of the road as I knew this meant it would be proper frosty in the gardens at college, at least at the start of the day.  Crystallised plants have a novel beauty at the beginning of the winter and I wasn't disappointed.

Frosted rose.


Proper frosty. Frozen grasses.

By lunchtime, a light mist and perfect stillness hung over the grounds; so peaceful in the walled garden, it was hard to believe that the traffic of the M25 was zooming around the north perimeter of the college.  A pale winter's sun added to the ambience and made it a perfect day for a lunchtime walk. (That's when the berries were photographed.)  I thought that would be the end of my photo opportunities but by 4 pm, the end of the college day, one last treat lay in store - a low lying mist hovered a few feet off the ground at sunset. I just managed to grab a few shots with my iphone before dark settled. (And wished, not for the first time that day, that I'd thought to bring my proper camera with me!)

Field of mist


Back in the veg patch this morning, it's quite mild but nonetheless I've popped a cloche over a couple of the more tender herbs. I say 'cloche' - actually, it's an upturned clear plastic storage box which did the job perfectly through the last year's winter and ensured the vigorous survival of the French Tarragon, a herb widely known for keeling over in the bitter cold. Herbs that need protecting in my garden are lovage, blackcurrant sage (still with beautiful bright pink flowers!) and french tarragon.  All the others are tough as old boots and come back year on year without my help: fennel, mint, oregano, horseradish. Flat and curly leaved parsley, lemon thyme and sage are still going strong and being regularly used by me and my neighbours which encourages the plants to keep producing and stay healthy.

And the work goes on: I love being outdoors, particularly this week as I have a heavy cold and feel so much better for being outside! I'm gradually getting more raised beds built and filling them with spring plants and strawberries for now - white violas, polyanthus, saffron crocus and dianthus - all edible flowers that will have lettuce sown into the gaps in late spring.  And the next big push will be to decorate the garden a little bit to mark Christmas and the year end.  More next post.

Going home through evening mist.

22 comments:

  1. Well that iPhone certainly takes some decent photos! If you want to get some modestly-priced cloches, try these: http://www.greenhousesensation.co.uk/frost-control/dome-cloche.html

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    1. Thanks Mark - and thanks for the link to the cloche domes. Sadly, if I put those in our community garden they'd get pinched! An upturned plastic box, however, is not so tempting!

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  2. I really loved this post, the thing with winter is that scenes of utter beauty are to be found, frost and mist....you just can't beat them. I love being outdoors at this time too, as you say it works wonders for a cold.
    You have captured some gorgeous pics here, I really love the droplets just hanging there on the berries, and the fantastic mysterious looking mist. Wonderful.xxx

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comments, Snowbird. I was so thrilled to get the mist photos; I've seen this only once before but on that occasion I was driving home with traffic behind me so couldn't stop. I think if you love being outside, you start to notice the beauty of nature, whatever the time of year. I do sometimes find it hard to contain my enthusiasm for photographing nature!

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    1. Thank you, Sue - it was my lucky day for photos, especially as the moon was just out, clear skies and no-one around!

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  4. Lovely post ,and terrific photos. Flighty xx

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    1. Lovely of you to say so, Flighty - thank you!

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  5. Oh the misty pictures are just glorious and I love the colours of the frosted grass too. I've dug up my French Tarragon for the first time this year, and am trying to over winter it in the greenhouse. I envy you the protection of an urban micro climate!

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    1. Thanks Rusty - I was really pleased to have the time to take a few snaps before I went into class, although balancing a cup of coffee and a portfolio case as I did so probably didn't help! I hope you manage to keep your French Tarragon going through the winter, they really don't like extreme cold! Mine has now been in the ground for 2 years so I imagine the roots are fairly deep. I've cut mine back and there are new shoots just coming through so I'm hoping that the plastic box will do the job!

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  6. Love your misty photographs, whatever you took them with. Looking forward to seeing all those new raised beds too, love the expansion plans. No tarragon in my garden, but I really must get my parsley planted.

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    1. Thanks, Janet! I think the trick is in seeing 'the moment' and being quick off the mark with some means of capturing the image! I like to experiment with growing different herbs and started by thinking that one herb bed would suffice … silly me! I'm expanding to two more herb beds this year although the favourite still has to be parsley as people can come and pick just the amount they need!

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  7. Such beautiful photos, I don't think you needed your 'proper' camera. We've only had two frosts so far this year, I can't believe how mild it is, especially here ooop north.

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    1. Thanks, Jo. It's very handy having a camera phone available for moments like this but the final images are quite small (but okay for the internet). When I lived in Church Fenton, near Tadcaster, I remember some spectacular fogs - so much so that you couldn't see the side of the road which made for some interesting night journeys with my Dad at the helm!

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  8. Must be doing something wrong with my iphone when it comes to photos Caro! Love the frosted grass, sparkling berries and the misty scene complete with Narnia like lamp post. Hope that the fresh air will help your cold to disappear - being outdoors is a good plan of attack for getting rid of those nasty germs. Completely off topic but you may be interested to know that I went to Morrisons yesterday and guess what - they had Pink Fir Apples at £2.99 a kilo!

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    1. Ah, practise, practise, Anna! I'm forever whipping out my iphone to snap a shot! Thanks for your lovely comments, I was very taken with the Narnia lamp post too but the more I looked at the mist, I began to wonder if it seemed a teensy bit sinister ….. ! Morrison's never fail to surprise do they! I also found some Pink Firs in Morrisons a couple of weeks ago - delicious! - but it puts growing them into perspective when you can buy one tuber for 20p and get a sackload as a return! Roll on spring time and Potato Day!

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  9. We've yet to see a proper frost over here. Today has been wet, but up until that it's felt more like Autumn than Winter. We have been getting some cracking misty mornings, though I've yet to get some decent photographs. I must try harder..

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    1. This one disappeared quite quickly so it was a case of catch it while you can! Today, of course, it's back to rain again. Personally, I'd rather have the crisp cold of dry bright day! The thing about lovely misty mornings is having the incentive to be up and about in time - I'm not sure I'd manage that in the winter if I didn't have to be at college after an hour's drive! Thanks for commenting - I love your blog, btw!

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  10. lovely seasonal photos Caro - we have hardly had any frost to speak of so far this winter

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    1. Thanks, Elaine! It's been the same story here, despite the dire warnings of the weather people! If that's to be believed, there's a long winter in front of us (I hope not though!). cx

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    1. So glad I managed to photograph them in this state, Endah - I saw them a couple of days later and the frost had all but killed them off! Thanks for commenting!

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Caro x

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