Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A gorgeous day in the winter garden

I still get just as excited as ever when I spend the afternoon in my garden and see self-sown things coming up, others growing tall and strong and still older plants regrowing unexpectedly for another season. It sounds corny but it soothes my soul and brings an inner peace that I find hard to feel elsewhere.

Every year at this time it is the red cabbage that makes me smile most. It is certainly the colours and texture of the leaves but it is also the fact that several of them are approaching forming their third crop of red cabbages, with odd branches draped here and there like a small tree, and one is even older. I cut most of the side shoots off and just leave those that look most likely to form a heart. The oldest of them now only has one cabbage forming so this may be its last year. I will be sad to see it go as it has been here almost as long as I have!

The late afternoon light in winter is soft and casts long shadows through the garden. When a flash of sun appears from behind a sea of dark clouds it highlights whatever catches the late rays. Sometimes this is a deep red chard leaf or a bright yellow chard stem or the fine leaves of the lime green frilly mustard. Sometimes it is the bees on the brilliant yellow flowers of the bok choy flowers.

The sky seems enormous in winter here; I think because there are many layers of clouds; some white and shooting across the sky, others dark and menacing and sitting down on the mountains while still more sometimes seem to be going in the opposite direction, all at once. Being in the garden, feeling the breeze come up and being aware of the sky as I potter about is one of my greatest joys. I love the feel of mizzle, that unique cross between drizzle and mist that happens in Tasmania, and the way its chill feels on my lips and cheeks.

This chilly, damp air is what I came here for, from the dry air of South Australia. Mizzle brightens your cheeks, settles on your eye lashes, turns your hair frizzy and softens the light but is not quite wet enough to have to put on a jacket, which is perfect for gardening.

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Everything old is new again in the red cabbage patch
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Marigolds seem to flower all year round
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I love miners lettuce and let it self-sow
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The darkest of the red chards
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This self-sown bed is now clear of weeds, fertilised with mushroom compost and chicken manure pellets then covered in straw to let the worms and microbes enjoy turning the soil for me.
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Self-sown lettuce amongst the new coriander
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Tools of the trade + a bucket of leek seedlings removed and ready to take to the community garden tomorrow.
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Straw bale chook house I made for 2 new chooks I am getting soon
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I love this wooden bucket of water for the chooks. It has azola growing in it to keep the water fresh.
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Why is she taking photos of us?
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Chicory would have to be one of the most beautiful and varied winter vegetables in my garden….
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In winter it is brilliant in salads

2 comments:

michelle hamer said...

Lovely Kate, I feel like I'm taking a stroll through your garden with you, you've evoked it so well. We get foggy mizzly mornings like that when every spider web is delineated with strings of wet beads and the air feels soft and refreshing. I love those mornings. The only time I feel more at peace than when I'm in my garden is when I'm out hiking and I'm far enough away from everything that it's impossible to do anything about about anything so I just have to let it all go and just enjoy where I'm at. I'm fascinated by your ability to entice multiple crops from your cabbage, I had no idea those side shoots could form new heads, mine always just bolt.

Kate said...

Hi Michelle,
My cabbages bolt to seed too but if you let that happen (and save the seeds to sow again), then, after all that, new side shoots will appear and grow.