Growing Awareness - approaching the year's end
Published: 03 December 2019
Welcome to the latest news-post with our Head Gardener Bryony Middleton
The year's end is in sight
Approaching the shortest day, a slower pace descends on the frosty gardens, adding a final flourish before a well-deserved break.
While they say a gardener's work is never done, the end of the year feels the closest to achieving a sense of completion. A time for reflection on the successes and challenges of the year and noting improvements for the next.
Gardening, for me, is a way of life so central to the role of survival and resilience, touched by each season’s sensuous texture, as we spiral through the turning circle of the year.
This post is based on the December page of the 2020 ‘Growing Through the Seasons’ Calendar I produced with botanical printmaker Isla Middleton this year and can still be purchased in Sharpham House or online if you are further afield right here: www.islamiddleton.co.uk
Tips for the month
While you are twiddling your thumbs and wondering what a vegetable gardener’s existence entails without the endless sowing, planting and weeding regime, don’t forget the fruit! Dormant months offer the best time for pruning fruit trees such as apples and pears and raspberries, currants and gooseberries, or indeed planting them. Stone fruit such as cherries and plums should be pruned in the summer when silver leaf spores are not prevalent.
Seed stock-take and crop-planning is also a good idea now if you are super organised.
At Sharpham in the Walled Garden we are currently clearing old flower beds and moving our current cutflower plants to a new position on the east wall which will attract lots of pollinators to our vegetables, we hope.
It is such a delight on a crisp winter’s day to have time to plan and spend more time with the ornamental beds and woodland while the vegetable beds are laid to rest.
What to sow
Seeds of happiness, roots of achievement, bulbs of gratitude (most seed sowing and planting to be continued in the Spring)
What to harvest
Beetroot, carrots, lettuce, mixed salad leaves (mustards and oriental leaves back in the mix), endive, chicory, sorrel, squash, kale, herbs (parsley, coriander, fennel, marjoram, sage, thyme), chard, perpetual spinach, spinach, leeks, onions, apples, pears, parsnip, brussels sprouts, broccoli.
Find out more about Sharpham's gardens here
Find out how to volunteer in Sharpham's gardens and on the wider Estate here