Western Isles Gardening
January Garden Page
Here we are in a New Year with hopeful plans for our gardens. It hasn’t been a bad start to the year, with some beautiful still, dry although chilly days.
I have made the most of the good weather, doing a bit of digging and weeding and emptying the compost bins onto the vegetable plot.
I haven’t got much left in the garden now, I had the last of the leeks at Christmas, but there are a few greens valiantly surviving the frosts, rain and wind. I even had a few clippings off the welsh onions and garlic chives which was a nice addition to the salads. The rest of the herbs are over wintering in the greenhouse.
I thought that this month I would introduce you to Chris from Breasclete. She has been gardening all her life and being brought up in the country and through the war learned and worked with her father.
Chris has lived in her current house for 7 years shows a true testament to what can be done in a small garden.
As you draw up to the house you are met with a mini woodland, in which she has planted willow, birch, beech, hawthorn, elder, prunus and a wee holly bush. The wee plot is sectioned off by compact small leaved evergreen hedges, which she couldn’t remember the name of, but were creating little micro climates, sheltering less hardy plants.
Her husband Stubby had come up with a decorative way of draining the water logged soil by digging a hole, layering it with stones dug up from the garden and creating footpaths from the central point, effective and pleasing to the eye.
Going round to the back I see a busy and productive garden. There are five raised beds still producing kale, parsnips and until just recently endive.
When in full produce mode, Chris grows, broad beans, peas, sugar snap peas, carrots in large tubs and raised up to stop carrot fly, shallots, salad mixture in fish boxes which she sprays the outsides with WD40 to stop slugs, rocket in cold frames netted over and harvested throughout the year. Despite the climate she has managed to grow a beautiful rosemary bush, (which she has promised me cuttings) and which she fleeces over from Dec-March. There are pots of herbs and geraniums with an area for potting up.
Along one fence she has three large compost bins in which she grows courgettes in the summer. I thought I might have ago at that myself this year, a good way of using all available space. Her neighbour has kindly given over some of his garden to Chris and she has planted it with blackcurrant bushes, leeks and beetroot.
A brave magnolia tree stands in the corner and Chris says it has two or three flowers every year, not bad for a wind swept spot.
I could see the potential of this small plot in January and look forward to seeing it in full bloom this summer. In the meantime, I share with you the beautiful photo of how it looked last summer, and it gives me joy and hope for the coming growing season.
In the meantime there is plenty to get on with before the sowing season starts. I have a greenhouse to wash out and tidy and more digging and weeding to do.
So I wish you all well with your garden plans. It won’t be long before we are all busy sowing our seeds!!
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Peaches, grapes, tomatoes and other salad crops are
grown on The Poly Croft on the Isle of Lewis
Visit the web site for growing tips and location details of the most North Westerly vineyard in the UK...