Garden Blog - Blog Post

The Frost Before Christmas


I’m just going to gloss over the fact that I haven’t managed to write a post in well over a month. On the flip-side everyone has been commenting on how organised for Christmas I was. All the decorations were up early, the Christmas cards were written out, ready to post, fairy lights were up about the house, the annual newsletter was penned and printed, the Christmas cake was cooked to perfection and the “tasting sample” was a hit. Suffice to say that in order to get all of this done, I took my eye off the blog for a short while.

Not that there was much I could have done in the garden anyway. We recently came out of a period of several weeks of sub-zero temperatures, certainly at night and usually during the day too. We had a short spell of light snow too.

It’s very unusual for us to get frosts this side of winter. They normally come in from late January. To have a sustained period of frosts with daytime temperatures struggling to reach above zero is exceptional.

Cold weather is needed to deal with a build up of pests and to send fruit trees into dormancy. With this recently-passed frosty period, I’m expecting a bumper crop of fruit as well as reduced problems from problem pests – having said that – one of first things I did when I went to check the greenhouse was to squash a mosquito that fancied my blood for a hot snack.

The cold frost put an end to what was left of the annuals but we still have continued flowering with the winter honeysuckle and cyclamen. Christmas Box and Wintersweet will be out very shortly too. The snowdrops will come after those and so the cycle continues.

While the frost is very damaging, it is also very pretty so I put on several layers one day to brave the cold, and stepped outside to take some wintry photos of the garden in what is probably its quietest time of year.

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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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Deborah Suzanne O'Meara 26/12/2022 - 2:30 pm

Well Sunil, even in the depths of mid-winter, your garden is still a wonderland… The effect that the cold weather has given all the various areas is absolutely magical – the chrysanthemums and fern fronds are particularly lovely with a dusting of frost.

I admire your fortitude in braving the temperatures in order to capture these images… I am most definitely of the fair weather type of gardener, and consequently will have a mountain of maintenance work to climb come spring…!

Do keep posting – I so look forward to your updates and the results of all your hard work.

Merry Christmas!

Sunil 30/12/2022 - 8:47 am

Thank you Deborah, I can just about deal with low temperatures by wrapping up well and having thick gardening gloves, but if it’s wet and I know the soil will be claggy and unworkable (it’s heavy clay) then I’m definitely finding something else to do – inside!

Wendy Goodall 01/01/2023 - 7:09 pm

Hi Sunil, Happy New Year to you and your family. What beautiful photos of your frosty garden. It does make a nice change to see our gardens frozen in a wintery moment like this, I just wish that winter wasn’t so long. I try to find some enthusiasm for going outside and doing a bit of work, but it’s just too chilly and most of the plants just want to be left alone to sleep! So 2023 will be your garden’s great year of open days. You must be excited. I look forward to reading about your preparations for that.

Sunil 03/01/2023 - 9:52 pm

Thank you, Wendy, Happy New Year to you too! At the moment I’m rather nervous of the coming Open Days this Summer, given the state the garden is in at the moment. I know it will get better as Winter turns into Spring and Summer, but it’s a little difficult to imagine that right now with the dark, overcast skies and horizontal rain. As we get nearer the time, my writing may get more frantic, reflecting pre-opening nerves. I hope that after experiencing the first few Open Days, I’ll get used to it and look forward to them, rather than be nervous of them.


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