10 Feb 2021

And the garden slowly wakes

clump of snowdrops lit from behind


Regardless of the number of years that I’ve been gardening, I still thrill to the sight of the garden starting to emerge from its winter inertia. Psychotherapist Sue Stuart-Smith (wife of garden designer Tom) has written (*see below) of how pathways in the human brain respond to green nature by releasing feel good hormones such as endorphins (pain and stress relief), serotonins (happiness) and the love hormone, oxytocin. It’s not too strong a claim to say that the sight of a clump of newly opened snowdrops will literally lift my heart. 

The cycle of the seasons, nature waking and seeds sprouting gives us hope for the future; we feel grounded, safe and calmed. Our connectivity to nature is fundamental for our health and wellbeing which is why gardens provide such effective therapy for mental and physical trauma. 

I find walking across the untamed nearby heath stimulating but it’s the smaller signs, pictured below, of nature waking in my garden last week (before the snow came!) that I find so reassuring.

1 Feb 2021

Gardenwatch: January in my garden

Potatoes being chatted on windowsill

There’s a pair of very muddy boots in my hallway, evidence of my gardening efforts over the past week. Helped by a couple of afternoons of warm winter sunshine, I’ve had a productive week which has been mostly about getting prepared. What have I been up to? Even  in January there are  plenty of garden tasks to tick off the list.

26 Jan 2021

Ice cold in veg land

Pink and green kale growing in snow
It was a snowy day in the London veg patch


It’s winter here in the northern hemisphere so I shouldn’t be surprised when it snows ... or should I? Over the past few years London has experienced only the kindest of winters but, last Sunday morning, a couple of hours of persistent snowfall settled thickly over the gardens.  Very pretty, certainly, but it was a timely reminder not to get too complacent about the weather and to see which of my veg had coped best with the sudden freeze.

9 Jan 2021

Sowing seeds in January

A jumble of seed packets
The cull. Most are only just 'out of date' .. but perhaps good enough for micro leaves?

With the start of a new year heralding a third lockdown, the arrival of seed catalogues is especially welcome, steering my thoughts away from grey sleet-filled skies towards the colourful harvests of spring and summer. And with the itch to hurtle towards spring and embrace the new growing year, it’s exciting to discover a number of crops that can be started off this month. 

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