I am really enjoying this latest blast of crisp frosty weather. It has been perfect for walking and off-road cycling – a real treat to feel the earth as hard as iron and with beautiful sunrises and sunsets too. I’m writing a local walks booklet for my village to try and encourage all of us to walk more without getting in our cars first. So far I have four favourite walks plotted which range in length from two to six miles and have another four walks in my head ready to go but as I think I should have 10 walks for the booklet my plan is to include two longer trails which cross my village for those for whom even a six mile walk is a walk in the park.
Back to my vase today which features a beautiful old brown glazed jug (a lovely Christmas present from my son) of dried material collected while walking on my local chalk downland recently. The Belted Galloways do a sterling job every autumn of chomping up the grasses and wild flower seedheads but some areas are left for wildlife notably the teasels which are adored by goldfinches at this time of year and in any event are far too prickly to pick.
In the squarish brown dish from the Powder Mill pottery on Dartmoor are this season’s Seville oranges which are now squeezed, sliced and simmering before being bubbled into marmalade.
Looking ahead to the summer I could not resist investing in another bag of anemone corms which seem to thrive in the rich well-drained soil of my sunny allotment. And down at the allotment yesterday I roped in my husband to help prune the Fiesta apple tree which had put on a ridiculous amount of skywards growth last year but produced very little fruit. The previous year it had needed emergency surgery when the main trunk split in two due to a combination of weight of fruit, torrential summer rain and high winds. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that between us we’ve done a good enough job this time and it will crop well again this year. Meanwhile we had a very pleasant stroll around the new winter garden at Wisley (couldn’t detect any scent from any of the newly-planted Witch Hazels despite the warmth of the sun) and we loved watching the ducks skating on the frozen glasshouse lake. I also borrowed Noel Kingsbury’s latest book, ‘New Small Garden’ which is 200pp of inspiration and good ideas. I have also been researching which new Autumn raspberry to plant at my allotment and have narrowed it down to five canes of Joan J (recommended by Sam and available at my local garden centre) and four canes of Polka (available at Wisley).
And whilst sitting by the fire I am pleased to have learnt how to ‘join as you go’ in crochet. It always looked and sounded so much more complicated than whip stitching together but in fact it is very easy and gives a much more secure finish with far fewer ends to weave in. The motifs are all made with leftover ends of yarn and the joining round is tough Romney Marsh lambswool which I bought direct from the producer last year. This isn’t going to make a blanket, more of a casual throw for the arm of our nearly 20-year-old sofa. (Our last sofa reached 27-years of age and I was so upset when it was time to say goodbye I’m planning to keep this sofa for as long as possible.)
Oh and I nearly forgot ‘Weatherland’. I’m eking out this wonderful book slowly. It is densely written and thought-provoking and is sending me back to read literature from my bookshelves which I haven’t looked at for decades. It’s also making me think about climate. Literature and history show us that for centuries our weather has always been variable but all evidence points to the fact that we are reaching a critical point now when unless action is taken our children will see the last of the weather we have been fortunate to enjoy. Our temperate climate which has endured since the ending of the last Ice Age some 11,000 years ago is changing and either there will be substantial changes in the way we live or there will be substantial changes in our climate which will in turn necessitate new ways of living.
Joining in with Cathy with my vase on Monday. Please visit Cathy over at Rambling in the Garden where you will find links to many more home-grown or foraged vases, with ne’er a forced supermarket daffodil or tulip in sight.