A Working Winter

Winter is a great time to get things done, as you don't have the bustle of active plant growth, and constant feeding, watering and weeding to keep up with.  So I took the opportunity to lift the black membrane we laid last March 2015 and prepare the ground for planting about 50 bare root roses which we invested in this Autumn.  Top left you can see the bagged manure arriving, and top right are the roses happily seated in their spots with a thick mulch of chippings to aid me in not having to constantly weed the area.  Below are some of the bundled roses on arrival.

The graft of last Summer meant we had Purple Sprouting Broccoli in the Spring 2016 (below left), and I'm also hopeful we shall have some Cauliflowers to pluck later on this year too (from the same patch).  I've not grown Brassicas before, but they seem to be very easy, tough and forgiving plants!  All they need is constant protection in the form of netting - last year from the caterpillars and Cabbage Whites - and all Winter from the Pigeons - which otherwise peck them over and leave them completely denuded of leaves.  Middle below is what was probably our snowiest day at the house.  It was really a mild winter with stormy weather and heavy rain more problem than anything else.  Come early March 2016 the Peach tree in our greenhouse is in bloom; such a great sight, with hope of fruit to come!

Although we did prepare the Hyacinths for Christmas forcing the mild weather meant it was hard to mimic the drop in temperature they need to trick them into thinking it is Spring in December.  So we had tons of scented blooms in the house, and at market, from January onwards.  The centre picture below shows the fabulous forced Amaryllis we had for New Year.  Next year I plan to grow a lot of different colours because although they have no scent, they are so attractive.