Sunday, 29 January 2012

Bread and Cheese

On Tuesday I declared Bread and Cheese, seemingly weeks before the proper time, and on a hedge not usually noted for being early. For the last few years,I’ve found a hawthorn at the northeast corner of Spratts to be the earliest on the farm. I suppose I should record these phenomena,but sometimes life is too busy. I don’t know if this is solely a Kent or even a family thing, but for as long as I can remember I have solemnly eaten the first open buds of hawthorn, while imagining that they taste of bread and cheese. They don’t , as far as I can tell. Meanwhile, the hedges are getting their biennual tidy up, and we have made the first steps in our application for Higher Level Environmental Stewardship for the fields that we will keep at Riverhall. The plan is that we will build on the work done over the last ten years:nutrient levels should be sufficiently depleted to enable wild flower seeds to grow without too much competition. We would probably spray-off strips after haymaking, lightly surface cultivate, then broadcast the seed, before we ring roll and let the cattle puddle the seeds in.
Bread and Cheese on a January Hedge.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Carried on the winter air

In a break from seed ordering, I wandered down through the garden to the postbox by the gate. I've a notoriously poor sense of smell but the air was laden with scent,I think from the venerable Viburnam x bodnantense 'Dawn'that my parents planted by the pond back in the early 1960's,which has been flowering for weeks during this mild winter. Over the next few days I plan to note what is flowering (and smelling) in the garden and report it here.
The venerable Dawn

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Caught in the Sun

After the storms of the New Year, we’ve enjoyed a period of mild and calm weather, although office related chores have kept me inside more than I would wish . Since the bullocks came in finally on Christmas Eve, the grass has continued to grow, and the fields are still firm under foot. Good for getting about, but I’m worried about water shortages later in the season. However, an early turnout would be good, as we don’t have unlimited supplies of hay and straw. Most days we open the polytunnel doors for a few hours, as we don’t want rots and moulds to set in. Some of the seeds that we sowed last spring, now consigned to a spell in the shade house, are beginning to show signs of life:today I saw allium like threads of green in a tray of Nectaroscordum siculum. We are a cold garden, but things are moving, and the Winter Aconites have been flowering more or less since the end of the first week of the year, though only really opening fully in sunshine. Yesterday there was a devastating fire at a farm about five miles to our west: under the black hammerhead of smoke a buzzard soared in the January sunlight.
Eranthis hyemalis