Garden Blog - Blog Post

December Break


Goodness what a long time it’s been since the last post! I must admit to having become very lazy when it came to writing on the blog for the last couple of months. I blame it all on the winter hibernation and many other distractions. I wanted a break from the garden and outdoor work and try the lifestyle of a cat (in terms of lounging and sleep anyway). What’s happened since the last post? Well, we’ve had christmas with the parents, New Year with the neighbours, we’ve visited friends, visited relatives, visited lots of restaurants, had family gatherings and I’ve been rediscovering many indoor, rainy-day activities that I had given up during the summer for the garden.

There’s also been such a great deal of rain this winter that we’ve had to moor boats off the patio. Outside work isn’t nice when it has to be done form a pontoon in the cold. So instead, I’ve been indulging indoors and in between lounging around, doing a 1500-piece jigsaw, dreaming of the garden, playing computer games and baking, I set the blog writing on the back-burner, telling myself that I would come back to it “later”, the temptation to either sleep or play once again winning over the feeling that I should try going outside and perhaps do a bit of pottering; if only it wasn’t so wet.

Soaking Wet Garden

This is a shot taken a week or two ago. I’m stood on the grass path half-way down the garden, at the mid-way point of the semi-circular border to the left and the middle border to the right. The water level is so high it’s actually at the grass surface. Lower border plants are inundated while the ones higher up are in an island surrounded by saturated soil. The garden drains very, very slowly and although the raised borders might stop many plants from drowning, there’s not much that can be done to shift this quantity of water through without major and expensive drainage works, that might damage the line of trees at the bottom of the garden.

While I ponder on the idea of a “rain garden” to help channel the water away and blog plants to have in the worst affected areas, I’ve actually managed to do a couple of jobs outside while the weather has been less awful:

  • Maintained the plants in the greenhouse
  • Cleared the patio, ready for a clean
  • Weeded, weeded and the weeded some more
  • Done miles of border edging
  • Moved the rubbish off the polythene for the border we will be creating this year
  • Sorted out several patio pots

There’s nothing ground-breaking in that short list and I don’t mind at all. This year’s winter hibernation has been very welcome and I’ve actually discovered there’s a life outside gardening (believe it or not) and I’m going to continue enjoying it until the days start to lengthen, the garden starts to dry and the first plants of spring begin to flower. At that point, the call of the garden will get louder and louder and I’ll be drawn outside once more, ready to face the new season, to get creating new borders, sowing, dividing and growing more plants and just rediscovering gardening again.

Candytuft Flowering in Winter

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Sunil Patel

I'm Sunil Patel, this is me. I created the Garden at 13 Broom Acres and I open it to visitors. I also bake and write blog posts giving a "behind the scenes" look into what it's like to maintain such a garden.

Visit the blog, then come and visit the garden. We can have a good sit-down, a jolly chinwag and a relaxing cup of tea with a sinfully generous slice of home made cake.

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casa mariposa 18/01/2016 - 3:15 am

It’s good to take a break and pursue other interests. I love that you’re thinking of a rain garden! If you want pink milkweed seeds (asclepias incarnata), let me know. I have a baggie full of seed I collected from my garden and have sent seeds to the UK before. Pink milkweed thrives in wet conditions as does lobelia.

Sunil 20/01/2016 - 9:01 pm

Hello Tammy, I got the rain garden idea form seeng yours. I’m not sure what it’s going to look like, but it’s going to cut through the width of the garden and be lined with bog plan classics such as Zantedeschia, candelabra primulas, lobelia cardinals, hostas, ferns and all manner of good stuff! I’ll look up the milkweed too for the Monarch butterflies.

Sarah Shoesmith 18/01/2016 - 9:27 am

When you do get back into your garden, please take it easy. Stretches, just a few minutes of each job and then move onto another one, and plenty of coffee and cake. In the meantime, enjoy your rest. The water will drain away eventually.

Sunil 20/01/2016 - 9:03 pm

Hello Sarah, thank you for the advice. I take my time warming up, it’s when I finish and come inside that can be a problem. If I sit down straightaway, I seize up and become stiff as a board so I have to keep moving and gradually slow down.

susan maclean 18/01/2016 - 1:28 pm

Happy New Year Sunil. Sounds like winter is being good to you, and there are plenty of months ahead for being “outside”. We are up at the top of a hill, but the grass is like walking on sponge, and everything is sodden. Six feet under our soil is solid clay so once the soil is wet we have to wait for it to drain away laterally, so I don’t do much at all out there until end Feb/beg March. But I am very good at dreaming. Looking forward to more from you!

Sunil 20/01/2016 - 9:06 pm

Hello Mrs Mac, I start becoming much more active towards the end of February and certainly as March gets underway, at the moment it’s just an hour here and there. We have a fair amount planned this year but it still should’t be as much as last year (I think). I’m planning on filling out “Fruit Avenue”, there’s a new border to dig where exotics may go and there’s a failed border to re-do at the front. I’m looking forward to it all!

Alain 18/01/2016 - 8:35 pm

Good for you Sunil! We all have to be lazy at some point or other. I look forward to ready about all your projects in 2016.

Sunil 20/01/2016 - 9:11 pm

Hello Alain, I’m very happy to have taken the lazy option this winter. There were times when I was sat with a cup of tea and a few biscuits doing a jigsaw in the dining room with the light coming in through the patio doors and I felt truly relaxed and content.

Jean 19/01/2016 - 1:15 am

Sunil, I have to admit that I like living in a climate where gardening is out of the question for 4-5 months of the year and I can turn to indoor projects and to emulating our feline friends. (Don’t forget those luxurious cat stretches that punctuate the naps and lounging. 🙂 )

Sunil 20/01/2016 - 9:18 pm

Hello Jean, I guess if the weather was god all year round then all those jobs that we have to fit into the summer months could be spread out over the year, but then it doesn’t work like that does it? I was glad to have the “enforced break” to renew my enthusiasm for all the work that will be coming up once this season gets going.

gardeninacity 19/01/2016 - 6:37 pm

Sounds like you’ve slowed down but are still plugging away. Here everything is frozen solid so there really isn’t much I can do outside – except for pruning, and it’s gotten to cold for that. I hope all your plants survive all that wet – especially the bulbs!

Sunil 20/01/2016 - 9:21 pm

Hello Jason, the weather has turned suddenly very cold and the frost from the night before isn’t melting before the next night’s frost and so on. The sun is shining though but I think it’s going to warm up and get cloudy and rainy again. It will be interesting to see how the plants cope with the wet soil. I’m hoping that the raised borders help greatly and I can always turn to bog plants for the border edges that are closer to soil level and occasionally become inundated when it rains heavily.

Alistair Cruickshank 20/01/2016 - 5:48 pm

Enjoy the relaxation Sunil, it wont be so very long before you get really stuck in again. I will be glad to see the back of these dreary dark days.,

Sunil 20/01/2016 - 8:59 pm

Hello Alistair, with the sun coming up earlier in the mornings I do occasionally have a hankering to go pottering outside, but it’s either too wet or too cold at the moment. No doubt the jobs will ramp up. I can already feel a tidal wave of jobs slowly coming my way but while it’s either too cold or too wet, I’m happy to enjoy the “down-time”.

lynngator 23/01/2016 - 3:44 pm

Sunil, your winter break is well deserved but when warmer days come, I know you’ll be drawn like a moth to a flame to the garden! We attended a mid-winter rose society meeting last weekend and despite the fact I have 2+ feet of snow on the ground, I am ordering plants for spring!

Sunil Patel 24/01/2016 - 9:56 am

Hello Lynn, I know it too. I can already feel the list of jobs I want to start off with gradually creeping to the front of my mind. We’re already done with January, February will be a cold month but there may be some sunshine and when it’s March, there’ll be no excuse to stay inside. I’ll have to get up and out!


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