We’re heading towards Christmas, and once again the challenges of Covid have thrown another festive season into chaos. It’s a worrying time as we wonder what the next few weeks will bring.
It’s not been an easy year for many, but Soph and I count ourselves very fortunate. For me, the garden, as always, has been a real blessing, enabling me to re-energise and refocus when life’s obstacles start piling up. Yes, we had the onslaught of tomato blight, yes the poor summer weather hampered some of our growing veg, but there have been many triumphs. On the writing front we’ve started to branch out, contributing to different publications, and it’s been a real thrill for me to pass on my ideas and gardening advice to keen new readers.
We also recently won Vlog of the Year at the Garden Media Guild Awards. We were thrilled to have been shortlisted for the 2021 prize, and were completely taken by surprise when they announced that we were the winners. We were up against some fantastic bloggers and vloggers, and it’s really given us a boost to continue forward on our horticultural adventure. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel if you don’t already!
But anyway, back to the business of gardening! The weather here is grey and drab, but the bad weather shouldn’t be an excuse to keep you inside, as there are still jobs you can be doing to get your green space spring ready.
Mulch mulch mulch! Whether it’s for flowers beds or veg plots, a thick mulch of well-rotted organic matter will do wonders for your soil. It can suppress weeds, protect tender plants from the worst of the weather, improve soil structure, and as it breaks down, it’ll release those valuable nutrients.
Now up until March is a dormant period for most trees, so give them a prune. Remember your three ‘Ds’ (dead, damaged and diseased), removing these affected branches whilst trying to maintain the overall shape. Avoid stone fruit trees, such as peaches and cherries, as an open wound can encourage silver leaf disease. Also, gooseberry, black and red currant bushes can do with a quick prune.
Finally, why not liven up those grey borders with some winter colour. Whether it’s pansies or polyanthus, there are blooms that will brighten up any corner of the garden and add glamour to your patio pots and containers. Just remember to deadhead regularly to prolong their flowering season.
The year is drawing to a close, but I’m already excited by next year’s growing season. There will be the usual vegetable suspects, but there will also be plenty of new varieties to try. Also, Covid permitting, I’ll be going out on the road and giving gardening talks at some of the big flower shows next year, so keep an eye out!
The Christmas cake has been iced and the festive tiffin is made, all that remains is to harvest the veg for the big day. With carrots, parsnips, kale, cabbage, leeks, potatoes, squash, celeriac and beetroot to enjoy, I’m not sure there’ll be any room for the turkey!
So, let me wish you a very happy Christmas. Stay safe, and we’ll see you in the New Year for more gardening advice, conversation and fun.