Thursday, 15 January 2015

A hint of spring?

Posted by Rosie

Now I don't think you get more mid winter than mid January.  We may not have had any more frosts since I wrote about them last week, nor snow, but we have had some very cold and wet wintry days.  Despite this however there are hints of spring out there, if you know where to look!

The hazel bush by the veg garden gate is sporting some immature catkins and others in more sunny locations are even bigger.  Catkins are the flowers of various tree species including hazel and willow and as they are wind pollinated they do not need to wait until warmer weather when insects are flying to ensure pollination.

Immature Catkins

Things are afoot in the rhubarb patch and those red patches are the very beginnings of new rhubarb stalks.  I know many gardeners force a crown under a large pot to get some early stalks but I prefer to let nature take her course and not force ... plus I still have plenty of bottled and frozen fruit to keep us going.

Stirrings in the rhubarb patch

I have already sown a couple of rows of broad beans in the polytunnel but I have to say I am not sure that even planting them twice as thick has saved them from the ravages of our resident mouse population will have worked. There are rather a lot of holes along the rows and I suspect a lot of the seeds may have been stolen.  I went to sow some more in pots only to find I had no seeds left!  Instead I started some early peas and mangetout in pots and I'll get some more broad bean seeds when I head to town later.  Don't let me forget!

Sowing early peas in the polytunnel

Outside, as well as the catkins, there are a few flowers to be found.  These little violas are outside the gite front door: ...
 
Violas

... and the first of our snowdrops are starting to flower.  I hope you like the picture as I got rather wet knees taking it!

First snowdrops of 2015

Who knows what sort of weather we will have over the coming week. Rain and sun is forecast when actually I could do with some wind and sun to dry the soil. At the moment it is too wet to do much outside and I am getting behind.   Oh well, you can't change the weather and, if nothing else, it should encourage me to get the polytunnel sorted once and for all!

Have you managed to get out in your garden this week?  If so, have you linked up with Annie's How Does Your Garden Grow linky over at Mammasaurus?


Simple Wanderlust

24 comments :

  1. Wind pollinated eh, well maybe I won't get nuts on my hazel tree at the allotment. I aquired this hazel tree by accident because I put hazel nuts out for the squirrels. One such squirrel kept getting them from the front and then running the length of the street round to my back garden to stash them then up popped this hazel which grew very fast. I took it down the plot but maybe I won't get any nuts if there is not one close by. Would you suggest getting another?

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    1. From the RHS site

      "Cobnuts and filberts are monoecious, bearing separated male (catkins) and female flowers on the same tree. Hazels (cobnuts and filberts) are wind pollinated and crop more reliably when grown in groups. It also helps to plant them in a square formation to maximise pollination."

      So they will self pollinate but you may get a better crop with more trees in one location.

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  2. I love those Snowdrops, well worth the wet knees. Be interesting to see how your rhubarb does, fingers crossed it does well.
    We too need a bit of dry and sunny weather, everything is rather miserable and waterlogged

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    1. And since then it's gone cold and snowy but hopefully the rhubarb is hardy enough to withstand some cold.

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  3. Yes, Ive seen many bulbs appearing already in our pots. I do hope the cold snap were having right now doesn't kill them all off. Liking the look of the rhubarb so far :)

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    1. Bulbs tend to be pretty hardy and generally bounce back even after cold weather.

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  4. i am loving all these signs of spring so early in the year!

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  5. Your snowdrop picture was worth the wet knees :) I've got broad beans on my growing list too this year - they are my favourite bean and although we have a minuscule crop last year they were delicious. Pretty violas and it's great to see the rhubarb poking its way through.

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    1. I've had variable success with broad beans with last year being a good year. Here's hoping for a repeat performance this year as we love them too.

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  6. You've reminded me to go and have a search for my rhubarb tomorrow!

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  7. I loved seeing the Rhubarb peeking it's way through, I have never seen it in that stage before.

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    1. I love this stage - it's so full of expectation ... and crumbles to come!

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  8. The rhubarb is looking very tender small and cute! Hooray for snowdrops! There are a few this week and it's great seeing them x

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    1. Aren't snowdrops just wonderful giving us flowers in the middle of winter.

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  9. I can already see you taking the photos on snowdrops! The photos are amazing and I am on the look out for them. I can see what you are saying. I have been walking around and its lovely to see buds!!! It gives me something to look forward to that after this cold weather spring will come and it will not be as dark anymore. #hdygg

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    1. Might be a while yet though - we are back in winter again this week.

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  10. Ooh, rhubarb activity - dashes off to check on own rhubarb... Let's hope this winter doesn't get any wintry ideas and spring continues to make its advance #hdygg

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    1. Seems like winter was not yet done with us! #snow

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  11. All those hints that Spring isn't too far around the corner - lovely. I think your snowdrops picture was well worth the damp knees!

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  12. I've also been spending time waiting to see if the broad beans appear!

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    1. I've since seen one or two showing so it seems the mice didn't get all of them. Good luck with yours his year.

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