The Changing Seasons ~ Snow and Marigolds In January

Well, it’s hardly been gardening weather – far too wet; not at all like our good old winters where on fine, cold days you could pile on the gardening togs, balaclava and all, get out your trusty spade and dig the allotment, naturally always standing on a plank as you went so as not to compact the soil.

I actually like digging, though I’m trying to wean myself off the practice (as many of you who come here will know) opting instead for the no-dig approach which relies on raised beds and the annual autumn application of compost. Around 2 inches worth says no-dig guru, Charles Dowding, and only on the surface (he has lots of useful videos on You Tube and grows parsnips and carrots the size of cruise missiles).

The only problem with this approach is you need loads and loads of compost, and despite my having a dozen assorted piles, bins and bays of decomposing garden waste, I never seem to have enough garden-ready stuff at the right time. I also completely forgot about the autumn application as I had left my brain in the olive groves of Kalamata back in October. Drat! However, it did return briefly in December to remember to gather leaves for making leaf mould, and it’s probably not too late to go out and gather more if only it weren’t raining, and Wenlock’s likely byways a sea of slithery Silurian mud.

We also had more snow in January, but not the glistening, Snow-Queeny landscapes of December, but the dank and dreary sort followed by more rain, which soon washed it away. Except that when I went up to the allotment on Monday I was surprised to find heaps of it lurking along the sides of the polytunnels. Oh no! I remembered the old wives’ tale which says that when snow remains we can expect further falls to carry it away. Hmph. A curse on old wives for being so doomy. We’ve done snow. Now we want spring!

But then the odd thing about that is, along with our snow and frost we have also had spring, or at least if the pot marigolds are anything to go by. These are self-seeded annuals that grow hither and thither around my plot, and not even being buried for a week under December’s snow drifts stopped them flowering. When the snow receded they emerged full-on, like floral headlights, though their stems were somewhat misshapen from the burying. As anyone would be.

Anyway, here are some views of the allotment taken on Monday. I’m  including some of my compost heaps – not a pretty sight, I know, but they bring joy to this gardener’s heart. Also of my parsnips, which as you will see were exceedingly hard to extract from the mud. They are also nowhere near the size of Charles Dowding’s cruise missiles, nor as perfectly formed. But then as the shed-building man who lives in my house says, who needs parsnips that big?  A vaguely existentialist enquiry to which I find there is no answer…


The Changing Seasons

For those who haven’t caught up yet, Su Leslie is now our very excellent host for The Changing Seasons monthly challenge, having taken over from our former very excellent host Max at Cardinal Guzman  (btw fantastic ski-ing video at Max’s blog). We have thus shifted across the globe from Norway to New Zealand. Please pop over to Su’s place to see her and other bloggers’ monthly round up from their corners of the world. And please join in. The ‘rules’ are simple.

36 thoughts on “The Changing Seasons ~ Snow and Marigolds In January

  1. I absolutely love the header picture – it’s like a painting. Yes, we are at that change time….all sorts of bulbs peeking up and at the same time it is cold, very windy and bucketing down with rain. It is lovely that in what is still the middle of winter that we get these most promising signs. 🙂

  2. I’m so loving your header shot, and those lovely, lovely marigolds. How cool to have little “floral headlights” cheering up what we’ve agreed is, otherwise dreich weather. Your gardening endeavors constantly inspire me, and I thoroughly enjoyed your shots of compost — and parsnips. They’re my fav root vege and I do miss them. Although in the heat here, the thought of roasting parsnips is insane.
    Thank you for the shout out and endorsement. 🙂

      1. Blush! I’m glad you think so. It’s a lovely project to be involved in — not least because of all the great people who take part. 🙂

  3. Certainly not me, Tish, because I don’t really like parsnips. Not crazy about carrots come to that but I don’t mind them raw. Doesn’t work with mince and dumplings, though 🙂 🙂 Sacriligeous, I know! But I do like your marigolds. And with no digging, there must be lots of writing going on?

    1. Ooh, you do know how to put a person on the spot, Jo. But hand on heart, I can say – writing is happening, though the content is rather more bizarre than cruise missile parsnips. I understand your reluctance towards said veg, though they’re quite good pureed with spuds. I have found roast parsnips more appealing since discovering you can finish them off with a drizzle of maple syrup which swiftly caramelises. But even that might not cut it for you. They do have a certain ‘taste’.

      1. I’m more of a greens person, Tish, and naturally Mick is more of an ‘oranges’ person. 🙂 🙂 But just so long as the writing is happening. 🙂

  4. No matter what the season I love wandering around your patch Tish. I drooled over your compost heap (strange likes us gardeners have!!!) and those delightful and brave pot marigolds shining their light so bravely for you. I am partial to roast parsnip but certainly anything roasted is off the menu at the moment.

  5. Mud, mud, glorious mud! I have the occasional whizz around my tiny plot to see that nothing major has blown away/in/down then back indoors. It’s not the cold as much as the wet and the wind! Still got a couple of Marigolds, the Hebe is flowering happily, but the osteospermum and the arctotis have finally given up. Winter leaves and parsley have been the only edibles and all the more enjoyable from being picked straight from the garden and I am still working my way through the chilli abundance of the summer. Sadly all the tomatoes are now eaten, the last becoming the basis for a lovely soup. With chillies. Bulbs are poking their way upwards so I am hopeful that there will be more colour in a month or so. Meanwhile it’s back to planning what I might squeeze in the garden in the spring 😀

    1. Ah yes. I know about that dilemma – how much will fit in the garden. It’s one of the reasons I planted a lot of alliums in the autumn – cos you can have lots and lots and they don’t take up much space and they look pretty good when they’re dead! Not too many things you can say that for 🙂

  6. Gardening in January?! What a feat that would be here. We’re just enjoying the end of a ‘warm’ spell and winter is supposed to return overnight in a fury. It will be a miracle if we see a marigold before the end of May 😕
    I am surprised about composting in the fall. That means I’ve been doing it all wrong by composting in the spring. Damn.

    1. Ah well. This no-dig lark might need a bit of tweaking for your side of the world. But I think the idea is to cover the soil over the winter to stop it leaching. And also that the compost is not to feed the coming season’s veggies, but to feed the soil. This is not gardening as my grandfather knew it, but then Charles Dowding’s results are pretty impressive. It’s hard unlearning things one was so ‘sure’ about 🙂

      1. That makes so much sense that autumn composting would feed the soil compared to the spring which feeds the plant. I think I’m going to remember that! Thanks so much.

      1. Thanks so much Tish! Actually, we’ve just enjoyed a few tomatoes that my Husband and Older Daughter managed to coax out of our plant in a pot (balcony garden). But now, it looks like it’s quite replete. One day, when we have a garden patch …. We do love food though, so that dream will stay alive!

        Thank you for keeping the connection going – looking forward to more of your posts!

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