Fragrant Flowers & Teenage Chickens
Whilst this time of year may be bitterly cold and not at all tempting for gardeners to put a foot out into their garden it is a vital time of year. The last pruning and cutting back should be done before warmer weather initiates growth. Hens will still need mucking out, and the daily trips to smash the ice on their water rewards in a happy chortle of hens eagerly anticpating my arrival and the latest bounty of food. And even now, when temperatures barely rise above two or three degrees, there is life stirring in the undegrowth if you look carefully enough.
This week I can happily boast my first daffodil flower. I ordered a collection of beautiful Narcissus Paperwhite from Flowerbulbsinc.co.uk before Christmas, placed them in a pot of grit and forced them on. They’ve grown extremely well and along with the first buds that are starting to open, a beautiful scent is filling the house. Meanwhile, with some white hyacinths also being forced, I should have several weeks of continuous and fragrant flowers in the month leading up the first true explosion of outdoor spring bulb colour.
Little Red is not so little anymore. A teenage hen is much like teenagers of other species, she’s stroppy, feisty, and doesn’t know when no means no. Whilst the rest of the flock are happy to wait whilst I turf out their latest offering, she flies straight at me like some prehistoric creatures catching dinner. She’s mad over spaghetti and porridge, and whilst I can tell that she’s going to be a beautiful hen she’s really going through a gangly, unruly, and dishevelled stage. I let the gang out for a an hour or so the other day, and whilst the Silkies and Buff Nankins made straight off for their dust bathing spot, Little Red was busied by throwing herself around like a tornado leaving devastation wherever she scrambled. Currently only Gabby is laying so I’m only receiving one small egg a day, but it still makes for a tasty treat in the middle of winter.
Meanwhile, I’ve been absolutely hooked on Carol Klein’s Cottage Garden series. Whilst it’s not tip heavy, it does the perfect job of inspiring me to get out into the garden, to put pen to paper and plan, and to start preparing for the bounty of new seeds I’m going to try this year. Foxtail Lilies, Rudbekia, and Cosmos are all on the list and I’m sure, upon opening any seed catalogue, I’ll come away with a lot more. I only meant to buy one bag of paperwhites before Christmas, yet ended up ordering a collection of beautiful new bearded iris as well.
With an hour this weekend dedicated to the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch, I’ll be able to enjoy emerging nature even more. And though the temperatures may be dropping in the evening, any the sun doesn’t always find time to grace the sky, spring is coming and my inspiration is flowing.