Onions and an advent update

This week has turned out to be rather oniony, the result of two impulse onion buys which were probably a mistake. The first lot of onions were actually flowers – alliums – but onions really. They were an impulse buy from my local garden centre, which was selling off all sorts of boxes of overpriced and overpackaged bulbs at 70% off. I bought these because I felt sorry for them and was worried they would just be dumped if nobody bought them. So I’ve filled a big pot with flowering onions and another one with tulips – something to look forward to next year, so long as the squirrels and other beasties leave them alone. Watch this space, but I don’t really get the point of flowering onions when you can grow edible ones. Here are some from the garden last year to remind you just how lovely they are (with some photobombing lettuce):

So as well as the alliums, I planted an entire packet of red onions in one of the raised beds, snuggled cosily under the cardboard that I put down a few weeks ago – sorry no photos. The cardboard has three purposes: it keeps the onions warm, it keeps the cat off and it should prevent the birds from pulling up the baby onions before they grow some decent roots. Although my garden onions survived this year, we had a bit of an onion disaster at the allotment because the birds kept pulling them up. So the allotment onions have been covered with netting to keep them off. They went in rather earlier than the garden ones and I spotted a tiny shoot coming up at the weekend. So hopefully we’ll have at least one onion at the allotment next year.

Meanwhile here is an advent calendar update. Foolishly I’ve set myself a task of tweeting (at least) two things for the first 24 days of December – a picture from my handmade calendar, and something that strikes me as wild or wonderful every day. Here are the first six windows from the hand drawn calendar: rowan berries, allotment show prize, Howgate Wonder apple, frog, snakeshead fritillary, oh and red onions!

You’ll see there is festive red and green theme going on here. It’s quite exciting opening a window every day. Obviously, I know what I’ve drawn but I’ve allocated the pictures to the windows randomly so each day is a surprise. Simple pleasures.

The wild and wonderful advent calendar works in a different way. For this I wait to see what strikes me as wild or wonderful, take a picture (if possible) and tweet it. Here’s what I’ve seen so far this month:

Autumn leaves still on my oak tree, grasses growing through the ice on the pond, tiny but powerful viburnum flowers, big fat snow flakes falling on the frog by the garden pond, tiny snowdrops peeking through the grass, and today, on my way home from work, I spotted golden leaves on a bare winter tree, lit up by the street lights.

December can be a bit of a bleak month but these tiny joys are worth looking out for even on dark days. Follow my twitter account for daily updates.

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