Just in case you think we are having too much fun in the garden, here is a little reality check! Ice in the garden this morning, a taste of the winter to come.

a bucket with iced water
Everything was frozen when we arrived this morning. There was a low mist and not much sun burning through. The electricity is still not connected, so work is our only way of keeping warm. I think we all know that the winter is going to be tough, but I’m sure we’ll get through it as a stronger team.


I got the fire going first thing and we soon had it roaring. One of the end sheds will become Martin’s workshop, so the three of us spontaneously cleared it out. There was a bewildering array of bits and bobs, so anything old or interesting has been saved and is now in the potting shed in the ‘Antique corner of curiosities.’ Over the advent period I will photograph an item a day from the corner.

Who needs the sun?

It was a real day of clearing, with Adrian and Martin stacking the truck high twice with scrap metal which they took to be recycled.

The muck spreading continued, although once the ground had thawed we couldn’t continue for long as the ground is still saturated from all the recent rain. Desperate for a lighter bit of gardening, I cleared the herb bed and rearranged the contents into neat rows of borage, chives and marjoram then began tidying up the sorrel.

Tony was scaling the dizzy heights of the wall again, training and tidying the espaliers by the vine house.

The light fades so quickly in the afternoon. By 4pm it’s almost dark. I’ve developed a little evening ritual for the last half an hour of the day which gives me time to gather my thoughts. I sit on a wooden step stool, with the door of the potting shed open; from here there is a view over the walled garden as the evening rolls in. Beside me I have a box full of Brent Eleigh Broad Bean pods and an empty bucket. I shell the beans into a selection of antique Kilner jars and label each one when it’s full. It’s a lovely task and feels utterly timeless. I can imagine all the other gardeners over the years performing exactly the same ritual while looking out over the garden and pondering the year to come.

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