In winter the garden is far from the heady days of burgeoning cut flowers and luscious crops, but there are still pleasures to be had. One of my favourite cut flowers is at its best in winter; the Hellebore brings an early flash of colour, each flowerhead like a jewel amongst the brown leaves and bare earth. But with February not yet here, the garden is also bringing little gifts that please even as they surprise.
I was taught not to weed indiscriminately, but to watch for every new free plant sent my way. It may not be an instantaneous way to fill a garden, but so much more satisfying when you find a wonderful new little plant that appears unexpectedly, often in the oddest of places. It also seems to me a total waste to plough straight through what has the potential to be yet more colour and scent and life for your garden.
This weekend, I was pleased to see that new Nigella seedlings have appeared the cut flower bed and I’ve thinned them out so they should continue happily into the summer.
I’ve also found some coriander seedlings and several junior Cerinthe major purpurascens plants have made it through the winter. The Violas in the vegetable patch have also gone wild and are popping up all over the place, as well as plenty of poppies. I’m trying to include lots of self-seeders, to encourage this behaviour and amongst them I regularly find the distinct leaves of Aquilegia scattered everywhere and bright green Alchemilla Mollis, wedged into the paving cracks.
And yet for some reason I was surprised to find a swathe of new foxgloves, perhaps because they seeded not from the wild form, but from a beautiful soft peach variety, Sutton’s Apricot. I suspect many will revert to the bright purple of wild foxgloves, but who knows? Maybe I’m in for another little surprise…