“Hope Smiles from the threshold of the year to come"

Another year begins in the nursery, who knows what this one will bring in the nursery and gardens and in a business sense too. If we can keep the momentum of growth going that we achieved last year it will be awesome. We have so many exciting plans we hope to make happen, but there are lots of outside influences that impact on these decisions, so we need to see how things develop over the next few months. I always find it's not the first day back thats the killer, it's the second, but that didnt quite happen this year. More on that later. My first day back is always a gentle getting going day (I plan it that way, perk of being your own boss). A good tidy out of the office, especially this year after dumping loads of stuff in it over the past two months of moving house. A walk around the nursery and gardens, checking the tunnels, watering if necessary and catching up with anyone who happens to be around

Lunaria rediviva, those papery seed heads of Honesty

One of the winter jobs I enjoy is sorting out all the seeds I've gathered through summer and autumn from the nursery gardens. I crank the heater up and put some music on and get lost in the sifting, sorting and putting the cleaned seeds into seed packets with name and date until I am ready to sow them in spring. I find it therapeutic and a sign of a promise of good things to come for the coming year. I spent the afternoon of my first day back getting all the seeds sorted. Now they are in the seed box with left overs from last year.

The seeds of Primula alpicola, one of my favourite Primula, find it in the scented garden
and for sale

Having got started and raring to go into the nursery work of the new year, I woke up on Thursday, my supposed second day back to find and inch and a half of snow and it still falling! I hadn't anticipated a snow day so soon. The bonus of still being closed to the public until March is I can make the decision not to go in and spend grotty weather days at home doing admin. So I lit the wood burner and spent the day doing admin, emails, phone calls and most exciting, orders for seeds to sow this year. I'm trying some new suppliers and will do a blog on that soon. But there is only so much admin I can do at one time so Bracken and I took ourselves off for another new dog walk. We are so lucky to have this wee river running past the cottage and be able to wander along its banks as it rushes towards the Tweed at Innerleithan. Half an hour out of the house to clear my head made such a difference and Bracken enjoyed the walk too.

A wintery river rushing by

Bracken look this way.......... What way Mum?

A spot of colour amongst the browns and white of winter

Home to toast his snout in front of the stove

The cottage in winter garb

A winter view

I always read, but for some time last year I didn't much, didn't feel like it, couldn't be bothered, and the book mountain grew (this doesn't include the 10 or so reference books I have downstairs to read. New year and making an effort to read, so far I've read the two lying in front of the pile, both new authors to me and very good. In fact I read until 2am this morning to finish one, haven't done that in a while. Next book please.

The fiction book pile

Arum italicum subsp. italicum 'Marmoratum', its leaves are providing colour in the shade border in the nursery gardens, great for foliage interest in winter and early spring

Back to work on Friday and although there was still snow on the ground and it was chilly, nothing was frozen, so perfect conditions and a warm job to start turning the compost heaps. Every good garden should have a compost heap. All our green waste, old compost and so on goes on the compost heap which then gets turned every six months, so by the time it is in the last bin and ready to use, its a year old and well broken down. I use it to improve our clay soil, digging it in to new borders and topdressing the borders that don't have a bark mulch. Its a great part of our recycling and environmental policy that returns goodness to the land we garden and work on. I got the first bin turned, I reckon 4 cubic metres of compost, a good work out after the holiday and Christmas excess!



Plants and their uses - Lemon Verbena Tea
This would be perfect for a refreshing summer tea but I noticed some shoots on my plant in the greenhouse and thought I’d try it. Lemon verbena is a lovely plant, though I have to grow it in a pot and move it indoors in winter. Sprays of little flowers appear in summer at the tips of the branches, usually I leave them for a bit of colour. Like all teas made from fresh leaves, it’s simply a case of putting some fresh clean leaves in a cup or glass and pour over some boiling water. It made a very relaxing tea and the lemon flavour was refreshing. Drink it hot in winter or leave it to cool in summer.

Lemon Verbena, 

Aloysia citrodora

Grinding the leaves to release the flavour

Lemon verbena tea

Sunday and the first day David and I have been in to the nursery together this year. Given the wet and stormy weather of the past day or so, the nursery wasn't too bad. I got on with turning the second compost heap, determined to get this big task finished and then I have plenty space for all the garden tidying to come that will produce plenty material for the compost bins. Once the bin was emptied we mended the pallets that have started leaning and sorted out a few pieces of wood needing screwed back in place. Another good days work.

Finished compost heaps

Got me a lovely new indoor plant to add to my collection, Sansevieria Kirkii 'Silver Blue'. It's very different from the usual Sanseveria you see, otherwise known as Mother-in-Laws-Tongue. This one has fabulous wavy edges to it's leaves, a mottled blue colour and grows much lower as you can see. I think it will go to my succulent collection in the greenhouse as the cottage has quite low light for sun loving plants.

Sansevieria Kirkii 'Silver Blue'

Love the mottles colour and wavy edges

We didn't go far on our day off on Tuesday as we had to collect Bracken from the vet in the afternoon. We went exploring our new local area, heading south on the road we live on. Then along through the Yarrow valley to Selkirk then to one of our favourite places the Mainstreet Trading Company in St Boswells for coffee and cake and a look round. Bought some great cheeses and bread to go with my home soup for dinner. Doddington, Cornish Yarg and Rollright, all very good and very different

Coffee and cake at Mainstreet Trading Company

A most delicious dinner

Title quote - Alfred Lord Tennyson

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