The year’s last hours

As 2014 closes, we turn, in Scotland, to Hogmanay and all its street parties and glitz.  Street parties are not really my thing and the year end brings more contemplative thoughts.  My more poetically inspired senior assistant directed me to Tennyson and his poem ‘Song’ which begins:

‘A spirit haunts the year’s last hours … ‘

.. and continues to bemoan the ‘mouldering flowers’ and the decay and death in the garden as the year ends.    When I first heard this I told my senior assistant that Tennyson could not have been a gardener since that is not at all what gardeners see in late December.  This set us both off on a tour of Tennyson’s poems which of course have endless references to gardens.  Anyway, the point is not to provide a critique of a Victorian poet since that is not anywhere near my area of knowledge, but to think about what gardeners do see as the year ends.

In my garden, I see signs of spring:  daffodils and snowdrops pushing up through the soil,

Daffodil shoots December 31st
Daffodil shoots, 31st  December

buds beginning to form on the camellia, mahonia and hellebore and winter box about to burst into glorious scented flowers:

Winter box
Winter box

The nasturiums have almost all succumbed to the frost but, when I removed the frosted stems to the compost bin, there were dozens of seeds ready to plant for next year’s flowers:

Nasturtium s
Nasturtium seeds

… and more to the point, I see the green shoots of onions, garlic and ‘green manure’ in the raised beds and lettuce seedlings in the seed house:

Onion, 31st December
Onion, 31st December
Lettuce seedlings
Lettuce seedlings
Green manure
Green manure

For anyone who doesn’t know, green manure is used by organic gardeners to provide fertility for the next season’s crop. This is a seed mixture called ‘autumn mix’, which I sowed in early October.  It should help to provide a good home in the raised bed for next year’s vegetables.

I have much to be thankful for in 2014 and much to look forward to in 2015.

Happy New Year

(when it comes)

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