Hello everyone! It’s been a cold week here in Belgium but the compensation has been some stunning blue skies against which the plants and bare tree branches look gorgeous. My gardening activity has centred around sowing seeds indoors, and laying down some mulch outdoors. I can’t stress enough how valuable mulch is in improving the soil, retaining water all through the hot summer and doing … Continue reading Old friends in the garden (6 on Saturday)
#whybuyrosesinfebruary is a campaign by S.S.A.W, a collective representing sustainable florists. It aims to pose a question that few delighted romantics are likely to ask themselves as they blushingly receive a dozen red roses from their beloved. Why buy roses in February? Before I go on, I seek not to blame either the giver or the receiver of roses. There are many things that need … Continue reading Why buy roses in February?
Here comes the sun! A perfect winter solstice morning, marking the death of the old sun and the birth of the new sun of the new year. The shortest day and the longest night of the year. The good news: every day from now on is a day closer to spring for Northern Hemisphere dwellers. Continue reading Happy Winter Solstice!
I am impatiently awaiting 21 December, the winter solstice that marks the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Although I am not a Druid or a hippy, the solstice feels almost more important that Christmas. The two festivals are in fact deeply connected, as it turns out that many of our Christmas traditions originated in pagan rituals to mark this great big … Continue reading Plants to celebrate the Light of Winter
This week’s early edition of Six on Saturday comes to you from Dungeness, in Kent, England: a bleak but beautiful shingle peninsula that juts out into the English Channel, moodily facing off France. It’s home to an ageing 1970’s nuclear power plant, and also a very unusual garden that blends seamlessly into the landscape around it. Prospect Cottage is a fisherman’s hut bought by the … Continue reading A garden planted with pebbles (6 on Saturday)
A little departure from Six on Saturday this week to tell you about my autumnal foraging! I’ve always loved the berries that adorn the trees and shrubs at this time of year, dripping from branches or twinkling on bare stems like little red, orange or yellow jewels. For a few years now, I’ve been eyeing the rosehips that appear on a large shrub rose by … Continue reading A berry nice time
More torrential rain in Belgium with further flooding in places, more upturned cars (a phone typo had this as ‘upturned cats’, as far as I know this isn’t a phenomenon but you never know) and muddy streets. Hope those climate talks are going well. A particularly heavy shower today brought down a heavy dahlia stem, so in they came! The sea urchin is Dahlia ‘Bora … Continue reading Storm damage
Things are rarely entirely good or entirely bad, and so it is with summer in Belgium this year. On the bad side, we had the terrible weather and the terrible flooding in parts of the country. The clean-up is going to be long and expensive. Plus, we still have the confusion and uncertainty over how and when we can get to the motherland for our … Continue reading Summer days: butterflies, blight and Banksy
I’ve wanted a pond in the garden for a while now, and after a quick afternoon’s digging in the rain-softened clay with assistance from my son, who likes to dig, we now have one. It’s small, very small, but at 2m by 1m it just about officially qualifies as a pond. It’s located in the east-facing border which skirts the side of our house, and … Continue reading Saving the Planet One Pond at a Time
I was tidying up the vibrant border when I noticed this ladybird feasting on aphids. Happy to be providing a good lunch. Continue reading Lunch