January afternoon light

I owe you all a week of news: The pictures are scaled and sitting on the computer, the notes are scrawny but extant. But I just haven’t managed to find the time to sit down and fill in the week over New Year in the garden. Glorious winter weather but the ground was so frozen it was hard to get as many tasks done as I had hoped. I shall try and catch up this week.

This is real winter weather that we are experiencing. Bringing back happy memories for the old timers who can recall this sort of sustained cold. We are adjusting, but my plants are not sure about this change in their circumstances. Actually we had a cold snap in London too – so much so that I had to bring the plants in from the roof terrace as they were freezing out there as well.

Dormant perennials do look rather odd. And luckily the security staff at Eurostar are well used to me by now not to do more than roll their eyes at the mad woman bringing through a bag with 16 pots of… dead plants. They are safely installed in the potting shed under a roll of bubble wrap, so are close to their final home. I wish it was warm enough to get them in the soil, but it will have to wait until February.

We had the coldest nights in the past week. Down to minus eight in the evening once, and generally around minus two or three now. But sunny in the day and one feel positively frisky in the heat when it reaches 6 Celsius and you are digging or hauling and have to remove a few layers of fleece.

Isn’t the light in these pictures extraordinary. These are the late afternoon must go up and see all the newly strimmed top terrace work shots.  Nicolas needed a job to do that didn’t require trying to get cement to bond in frozen weather, so he has turned his mighty strimmer on this top part of the property.

So lovely to be bramble free for a few months at least. And reducing some of the cistus forest. Spanish broom to some, Genet, mighty troublesome weeds to me. They grow into tall bushes of inpenetrable thickness if you leave the strimming for a year. So we are now all clear in most parts of the property.

I want to turn my attention to the top potager again this week. Have great plans to dig out the rogue bramble roots that have bedded in beside the fencing wire around the perimeter. But will the soil be soft enough to dig? Perhaps later in the day. Instead I shall go up (well rugged up as it is still around O Celsius) and have a potter in the potting shed. More plants to try and squeeze in. The Eupatorium Purpureum seeds which I germinated in the warmth over Christmas need their cold period for six weeks. That won’t be hard.