Yes, it's winter in the garden and the rain is still lashing down outside my window. Dry cold weather will come – I know – and then it will be time to spread compost, dig the big trench for next summer's runner beans and clear remaining parsnips and beetroot so we can begin preparing for spring. The greenhouse is empty now except for the citrus fruit bushes in their pots and the big grape vine trained along the back wall.
We did lose a few young larch trees in storm Arwen. These were essentially “nurse crop” fast growing trees, simply planted to give protection (and company) to walnut, sweet chestnut, oak and beech. Each tree costs about 40 pence and a couple of years of scything – they are firewood now (each tree about 15 feet high – planted as 18 inch bare rooted youngsters 6 years ago).
It may be winter but we are still enjoying the fruits of summer harvest: pickled beetroot, stewed plums and blackcurrants, roasted parsnips, excellent red currant champagne and all the usual peas and beans.