It is freezing. Looking out of the window on a windy and overcast afternoon doesn't grip me with the urge to work in the garden as it does on a warm summers day but I know from experience that the work I put in now will be repaid once the season gets underway.
Once outside (and wrapped up in several, layers, gloves and hot tea in my insulated mug) it's really not so bad. Digging, weeding and numerous trips to the shed keep me warm enough to stay out for an hour.
I'm a big believer in what I call the "half an hour here and there" approach to gardening. There's no way I could devote a whole day, or even afternoon to working outside, so I try to grab short bursts. This helps me keep on top of things and stay in touch with what's going on outdoors.
It's not all bleak though, those new shoots are forcing themselves up into the cold air, you just have to look for them. I've seen peonies, aquilegia, dicentra, catmint, salvia, alliums and many more starting to make their return. The roses are forming new buds too, ready to be pruned and shaped to come back even stronger this year, I hope.
In the vegetable garden I am busy preparing. Planning which crops to plant, ordering seeds and trays, planting bare root fruit (raspberry canes and blueberries pictured here) and getting the ground ready for spring planting. It's tempting to start sowing seeds but it's too soon, so I'm holding off for the time being and concentrating on getting this years structural changes implemented whilst i can see the bare bones of the garden.
There's lots of planning and looking forwards to do. One of the reasons I love gardening is the ongoing sense of anticipation, waiting for the shoots to pop up, the seeds to germinate, the plans to take shape and the sights and tastes to be enjoyed. At this time of the year its good to have an excuse to get outdoors and take in some fresh air and daylight. It's also nice to come back indoors and get warm by the fire!
Until next time :-)