Arrival of the snow

Song thrush feeding on our bird table

Hard on my decision to continue reclaiming the various mini-gardens within our acre of ground (as described in my ‘Plans & Dreams’ post of 29th December) comes the snow. Not as heavy here in our part of the Cotswolds as in other areas of the UK, but more is forecast with freezing temperatures and icy winds. I am pleased to have an adequate bird-feeding station within sight of the kitchen window, and a good supply of bird-food. And I am reminded that NEXT weekend is the RSPB’s ‘Big Garden Birdwatch’. Helping garden wildlife is fun - and it couldn't be easier. Over the weekend of 26-27 January 2013, we'd love you, your friends and family, to get involved in the world's largest wildlife survey! As an activity that started life as something for the RSPB’s youth membership to do in winter, Big Garden Birdwatch has grown into fun for all the family. All you need to do is count the birds in your garden or a local park for one hour then tell us what you see. Discover how to take part here.

As to my garden reclamation, I had actually already started work on the overgrown beds and have managed to clear one very small jellybean-shaped bed of nettles, dead sage bushes and a self- seeded elder and was ready to dig and enrich the de-natured soil to grow perennial onions – scallions (bunching or salad onions) which will overwinter. ‘Lilia’ is particularly good as you can use the tops as green leaf and leave the bulbs to swell. ‘Kaigaro’ is also worth trying and was outstanding in Dobies’ trials; it’s a mild-tasting, white bunching onion, with very healthy foliage (eat that, too), maturing 10 weeks from sowing.

A juniper weighted down by a heavy snowfall
Although I can’t be clearing at the moment, there are tasks that all gardeners should do in times of snowfall. When snow is forecast, ensure overwintering veg, potted plants and early hellebores are protected with fleece, netting or cloches, and knock snow off evergreens that will otherwise become misshapen from the weight (wear waterproofs or you will become soaked). Check that wild birds have water as well as food, and watch you don’t slip on icy paths and driveways – seems unnecessary to remind everyone of this but a fall now could prevent gardening for quite some while.

Sorting seeds (in the days when I grew more than just Dobies seed)
I’m making use of this enforced indoor time to organize my seeds – initially, I place them in a storage box with card dividers to separate the months; then each week, I check the monthly section and pull out the relevant seeds, for sowing outdoors, in the greenhouse, or on the kitchen window sill. And whilst I am waiting for the snow to go and the weather – and soil – to warm up, I am creating a new-style garden journal to record my sowings and plantings. The one shown above will be dedicated to my salad beds and the jelly-bean perennial onion plot. I take brown paper bags which I decorate with appropriate paper table napkins whilst the pages on which the records are to inserted are prepared with strips of decorator’s masking tape, coloured with water-soluble crayons sprayed with coloured inks for a mottled effect.

The new garden journal I am creating (this is the onion / garlic page)
Discover More: To allow you to read the blog post without clicking backwards and forwards between the blog and links on the Dobies website when you want to discover more about a product or topic (and also links to other external sites), we are now listing the links at the end of the post. Any words that you see in bold type will have a link in the list that follows. We hope you find this useful.

Links for this post: ‘Plans & Dreams’ blog post; bird-feeding; RSPB’s ‘Big Garden Birdwatch’; salad onions; fleece, netting, cloches; garden journal instructions will follow in due course, other journaling ideas here.

And in general, check for all seeds, plants and other topics on the Dobies website by clicking on the generic links. You may particularly like: vegetable seeds, vegetable plants, flower seeds, flower plants, herbs, fruit and equipment. And don't forget their regular mailings and special offers online. Just keep visiting so you don't miss anything special.

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