It would be gratifying to be able to write about the garden in December with vibrant photos but, truth be told, there's not a lot going on. Oh sure, the rivers of curly kale are not about to dry up any time soon, Cavolo Nero is still the champion producer of leaves for supper after nearly nine months in the ground (I don't pick every day so it has a chance to catch up) although it's looking more like a palm tree every day, calabrese heads are plumping up and the purple sprouts are looking so good I'm almost loathe to pick them. So it's all about the brassicas at the moment. My winter chard is a total fail, the failure being that I didn't make time to sow any seeds, ditto spinach and overwintering broad beans. As the forecast harsh winter hasn't yet materialised, I may chance a few of those seeds under cloches; I seriously doubt it will come to much but what's to lose?
I was gardening in the dark on Friday evening, as you do when stuff has kept you indoors for most of the day - and it was actually very pleasant. Comfortably mild with a stiff breeze and plenty of light from nearby flats to light my way - one real benefit of city gardening is that it's never pitch black. Taking my cue from plant biologist Professor Ken Thompson, I decided to cut down my raspberry canes now; the Autumn Bliss are definitely going and will be dug up next week as I need to clear the space for the veg patch redesign - my winter project. Most of my raised beds have rotted to the point of falling apart and I've been given four new scaffolding boards (whoop whoop!) and a pile of new old-style bricks to make some paths. There's gonna be a whole lot of digging going on. And, come spring time, lots of tulips and daffodils to start off my new cut flower patch area, if I ever get the bulbs planted … although I probably won't actually pick any of the spring flowers as I like everyone to enjoy the view. That's the plan, let's see if there's enough available time.
I might have just lied when I said that the garden was all brassicas. The globe artichoke that I grew from a seed (I love saying that) looks like it will need splitting. The plant started new growth in the autumn and I can see there are three plants there now. It was huge in the summer and had to be thwacked out of the way to get past it so I'm going to try and move it. I'm not sure how easy they are to lift and divide - has anyone successfully done that or do you leave yours to get monstrously huge? Do tell, please.
I will, however, definitely be moving my Glaskins perpetual rhubarb (also grown from a seed, heheh); it's only just stopped producing huge leaves in the last few weeks and is growing in the middle of my planned flower patch so will only be tolerated in the future if it's contained in a corner or even another part of the garden - perhaps next to the Red Champagne rhubarb which I planted when the Glaskin's was still relatively manageable.
Frosty temperatures in November brought an end to my cheery nasturtiums; a few of them struggled on but I've pulled out most of them now, they look so awful when wilted by frost. Thank goodness for scabious and nicotiana, both still flowering and making me smile along with one solitary echinacea, a few roses, heuchera's coral bells and, soon I hope, snowdrops.
Winter is such a good time to make plans and this keeps me connected with nature and the garden. How's winter shaping up for you and your garden?
Thank you to everyone who congratulated me on my GMG award - as usual, all your lovely comments brought a smile to my face and left me feeling perky all day. Caro xx