Happy Christmas

Here we are at Christmas Eve and the Advent Calendar is complete, finishing off with a festive robin and the traditional Christmas pudding, fully alight! In my search for all things wild and wonderful, I discovered that a hedgeful of sparrows has moved into my neighbours’ hedge, providing us with festive tweeting whenever we open in the kitchen door – a true joy. Finally, today I harvested the sprouts from the allotment, a little nibbled by some of our allotment guests but still quite juicy and edible. So we’re all set for Christmas, with a few more family members than … Continue reading Happy Christmas


I usually try and capture the light on the shortest day of the year. Yesterday I wasn’t convinced there was any, there certainly wasn’t any sunshine. I lit this candle at breakfast time as the ‘sun was rising’ but the sun hid behind fog and clouds all day. Oh well, at least it’s getting lighter now in theory and the sun will no doubt emerge some time over the holiday period. Advent calendar update: we’ve had Bella, sprouts, redcurrants, tomatoes, pink peas and some festive holly I’ve fallen behind a bit with the small moments of wildness and wonder, but … Continue reading Solstice

Moments of light: multiple gardening and wildlife advent calendars

This year I set myself the challenge of two advent calendars: the hand drawn one, which is jollying along nicely, and finding something wild and wonderful in my surroundings every day. Here are some highlights: sprouts, red tinged lettuce, seedlings, peas, rhubarb, ladybird runner beans, snowdrops, strawberry and roses. On the wild and wonderful theme, we’ve had: trees in daylight and lit up at night at the Botanic Gardens, a heron by the river, wintersweet coming into bloom, a beautiful slug shown to me by my neighbour’s grandson and finally getting the Christmas cake baked. I have also been joining … Continue reading Moments of light: multiple gardening and wildlife advent calendars

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 … Continue reading Onions and an advent update


I like to leave my festive preparations as late as possible but I have my own little ways of celebrating a non-religious Advent. A light dusting of snow at the weekend has got me in the festive mood. So you’ll be delighted to know that the only things necessary for festivities in this household are now done. Sprouts – which start as tiny seeds in the spring – are coming along nicely at the allotment. Christmas pudding – complete with an apple from the garden – made and maturing nicely in time for Christmas Day. First snow of the season … Continue reading Preparations

Twelfth night

It’s twelfth night, the festive season is officially over and for many a return to work, school etc. I don’t return to the day job till tomorrow, having taken an extra day to take my mother to a non-urgent hospital appointment. This was tedious for both of us but mum and I made the most of our journey on the bus, watching the beautiful light in the sky, then came back to my house in the subsequent rain for coffee, Christmas cake, cats, scrabble and the very last of last season’s tomatoes* This little beauty was the last of the … Continue reading Twelfth night


After a little twitter discussion on #gardenshour the other night, which ended up with more information about deceased vermin that I really wanted, I got to thinking about sheds and their contents. I had commented blythely that I had spent the weekend clearing out a shed (part of my mother’s moving house project) . The shed contained joys of all sorts of other kinds, including: enough plastic pots to keep any gardener going for at least 50 years, the stand for my now 21 year old baby’s Moses basket, several trowels in a range of states of usefulness and decay, … Continue reading Sheds

Cheering things in November

I was looking out at the garden this morning, surveying the overgrown things, the dying off plants and the general mess and had an ‘isn’t November awful’ moment. So I went out into the front garden which still gets sun at this time of year to see what might cheer me up. These things did Rowan berries against the blue sky Cotoneaster berries and leaves in full technicolour and I can’t replicate the scent of this viburnum – it only has a couple of flowers but if you get up close they are overpowering. That was my little trip into … Continue reading Cheering things in November

Planning a 2017 Advent calendar

  Despite my concerted attempts at delaying thinking about Christmas, this weekend is my best hope of making an advent calendar on time for 1 December. I’ve been making my own advent calendars since my children were small, and last year I made a garden one for the blog.   Instructions here  and final results here (warning contains some – but only some – festive images) But what should I do this year? I sought the advice of my co-residents, using a carefully designed and statistically representative survey on the possible options: : make one for all of us make one for the blog … Continue reading Planning a 2017 Advent calendar

Christmas dinner and a Boxing Day Treat

There were no garden sprouts for Christmas dinner this year. I’m not sure why. I think I forgot to grow any.  Never mind though.  We had the appropriately named broccoli ‘Rudolph’ instead.  This broccoli has been magnificent this year, especially in the late November frost.  I didn’t realise it would be so productive in December.  I suppose the clue is in the name. And for Boxing Day, we had this: We didn’t eat it.  But this glorious beast wandered into our garden on Boxing Day morning.  I’ve no idea where it came from, or where it went.  Pheasants don’t usually … Continue reading Christmas dinner and a Boxing Day Treat