Nothing burns like the cold

The start of this week saw a lot of stormy weather around, the constant blowing of the wind, filling our heads with noise. Such heavy rain, the ground is sodden, I am almost wishing for sunny frosty days but I know that also restricts what work I can do in the nursery. A gardener is never happy with the weather. One job I do enjoy on a bad weather day is ordering my seeds for the coming year. This year I decided to finally research other seed suppliers, mainly organic if possible to fit in with our organic and environmental policies. This has led to ordering all sorts of interesting and unusual varieties, because sticking to the buying list is impossible when it comes to buying seeds. I've got one more order to complete then it will be full on seed sowing. Looking forward to trying all these lovely seeds in the nursery garden this year.

Dry, cold winter days are perfect for starting to tidy up the nursery and gardens. This week I have lifted all the leaves in the sales area, tidied up the office border and the two borders at the entrance to Whitmuir. I love tidying the borders, it's such a satisfying job, making it all look super neat, ready for spring. There's the uncovering of little gems starting to emerge from their winter slumber and then adding to my endless task list when I find other tasks needing attention. The Hellebores in the office border are covered in buds and Phlomis russelliana is a really good plant for through winter with its grey green leaves forming a mound of colour and it looks great with frost on it.

Hellebore flowers waiting to emerge later in Spring

Phlomis russeliana is a great all year round perennial

There are lots of lovely new items in our nursery wee shop this year. From indoor decor to bird feeders, hanging planters and pots and cast iron quirky birds are back this year. If you want a sneak preview they are all on the nursery shop page on our website  and available to buy in the nursery.

Another delivery for our wee shop,
photographed and on the website

I love getting new plants for my own plant collections, a new Crassula and Sedum looking at home in my greenhouse and some propagating too for nursery stock

new succulents to add to my collection

An ever growing collection of cacti and succulents

Propagating some of them for nursery stock

Nails in the smoke, there's nothing better than a winter bonfire, especially when you can keep it going for days, getting rid of all the stored up burnable rubbish in the nursery, must remember to buy marshmallows. I got a barrel to use as an incinerator as we've accumulated a lot of branches, wood and so on, its great on a cold day for warming up and working through the piles of rubbish.

Nails in the bonfire smoke

Excess ash and cinders removed to make way for more burning

On Saturday we held our willow weaving workshop which was fully booked and a great success. I had a great afternoon with everyone who attended. The weather was great, if a bit frosty and everyone that came along enjoyed themselves, the time flew by and we got lots done and hopefully everyone learnt something too.

Learning to weave the willow fedge

Even at this time of year there is plenty and signs of life if you look closely. Evergreen ferns, the tips of Crocus leaves poking through the soil, the orange of Epimedium leaves, evergreen leaves lined with frost, Heuchera and evergreen grasses add splashes of colour and texture, the red stems of cornus bark and the flaking bark of Prunus serrula.  

Teasel flower, Heuchera 'Blackberry Jam' with frost, Epimedium × versicolor 'Sulphureum'

Continuing on with my series of posts about plants and their uses in the garden, this week I featured Winter Savoury.

Satura montana
“Winter Savoury” a white flowered perennial herb with strong flavoured leaves, similar to thyme which can be used fresh or dried. Let it flower for the small, attractive white blooms that appear through summer. It kees a good amount of foliage through winter so adds some interest to the winter garden and of course can be used in winter stews. It is also good for flavouring potato or egg dishes. H 30cm, S 20cm.

New potato salad with bacon, winter savour and blue cheese
Serves 4

500g new potatoes, cut in half if larger                                 2 red onions, cut into wedges
4 rashers bacon, chopped                                                        140g mushroom, sliced
Several sprigs of Winter savoury                                            1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp red wine vinegar                                                            100g spinach and watercress salad leaves
85g St Agur cheese (or any strong cheese)

Boil the potatoes for 10 minutes or until just cooked. Meanwhile place the bacon, onion, winter savoury and mushroom in a frying pan and cook slowly until the mushrooms and onions are cooked and the fat from the bacon cooked off, leaving everything slightly caramalised.
Drain the potatoes and leave to steam dry for a couple of minutes, cut the cheese into small cubes.
Mix the potatoes into the bacon and veg mix, combining gently without breaking up the potatoes.
Add the vinegar and mustard and cook for a minute or two.

Divide between plates, mixing in the salad leaves and sprinkling with the cheese and serve.

Using fresh and local ingredients

Using up the last of the Rollright chesse
we got from Mainstreet Trading deli

One of my favourite quick and easy dinners

Sunday evening's glorious sunset from the nursery

Because I am off on Thursday I came in to do some work on Monday, I'm already behind due to a busy December so can't afford to get any more behind. It was a nice dry day on Monday, ideal for starting the garden tidy up. I always start at the entrance and work into the nursery, first impressions are so important, especially when running a business. The stream garden is always fun to do, I get to paddle while working, not many jobs you can do that. Wellies on, weeding bucket to hand and my trusty secateurs to cut everything back ready for spring. I also top dressed the borders with our compost from the compost bins. There are plenty plants with foliage that give interest through winter including miniature pines, Juncus, Luzula sylvatics 'Hohe Tatra', Bergenia purpurea, Lamium, Rumex and plenty flowers on Pulmonaria rubra "Ann" already. Daffodil leaves are beginning to push up from the soil and the new leaves of primula pulverulenta are starting to show. The promise of things to come.





Tuesday and our day off which we spent in Keilder forest. After a lovely lunch and a walk at Keilder Water, David did more filming for another programme to be aired later in the year. This time looking for hibernating bats in an abandoned farmhouse. The weather wasn't great but good to be out somewhere different.

Title quote ― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

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  1. Looks super tidy indeed after your magic touch! All those new seeds and other arrivals are exciting - another growing season just around the corner.
    Thank you so much for the recipe; I've grown winter savoury from seed and this year they finally look big enough to harvest a little - perfect sounding recipe for just that!

  2. Aww thanks, hard work but worth it, so much growing already as so far we've had a mild winter! Enjoy the winter savoury, I find it's flavour is much like thyme


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