Back home and checking on a frosty garden

Well, it's been quite a few days. I spent the end of last week in Austria and Germany with Viking and Stihl and had the best time. I learnt more than I ever knew there was to know about lawnmowers, saw them assembled, heard about the research that goes into making them the best they can be and saw the future of cutting grass in our smart gardens. Never again, will I think it's "just" a lawnmower!

Infact I was only there overnight, but we packed a lot into two very full days and I've lots more to share with you. And after two busy days, the weekend was much quieter, but I did get out into the garden to see what had been going on out there. Getting out into the garden is one of my coming home rituals, which may seem odd after just a short time away, but with the chance to take some frosty pictures too I couldn't resist.

It was mid-morning and the agapanthus just outside the back door were still frosty. 

Agapanthus with frost

I'm not sure if that's good for them, as they originate from South Africa. And while I may be late in doing this, I've covered them with horticultural fleece now to help them through the rest of this cold snap. I also caught the frost on the fence behind it, and was stunned by the detail.

almost midday and there's still frost on the fence in my north facing garden

The box balls were coping better with their frosting.

Box and frost

At this time of year my garden is a garden of two halves. The part closest to the house, and in the shadow of the house cold and this weekend still frosty, and further down the garden where the sun reaches, looking and feeling much brighter. I know that's how it is for our North facing garden but it was so evident standing at the prickly conifer whose greeny-grey was emphasised by the frost.

This prickly conifer looks at its best with added frost
Standing at the conifer it was easy to see where the sun and the frost line are

The grass too had a heavy frost. But as we've no path, I had to walk on it - but I tiptoed and kept where I walked to a minimum, so hopefully it'll be ok. It looked interesting close up. 

Frosty grass

Next up I spotted the frosted sedum seedheads which the frost seemed to add an extra dimension. 

Sedum seed heads under the laburnum

And then I realised that if I spent this much time walking up the garden then this would be a very long post. So you know, I'm about two metres off the edge of the patio, so now you see what I mean. 

At the back of the garden the kale, which I've still not planted out despite it being on my December allotment to do list, was also sporting the frosted look. It too had been avoiding the sun, even though you can see it on the trellis at the back of the picture.

Frosted kale, which I've still not planted out

In the greenhouse I checked on the plants under the fleece and decided they needed watering. So off I went back towards the house armed with a watering can to find the gun on the hose was frozen. Thankfully the tap wasn't - it's by the chip-basket of the boiler so I was hoping it'd be warmer there - and so I was able to half fill the watering can. 

Checking elsewhere in the greenhouse the box of bulbs I'd dug up and saved when we removed the earth for the circles last summer were starting to sprout. So that's another job for the list, these were destined to go into my flower patch over on the allotment. But I've not dug that either yet. I might have to come up with an interim plan of popping these bulbs into pots so they can grow, and then I can plant them where I want them when I'm ready.

Bulbs starting to sprout in the greenhouse

Two of my three chilli plants were still hanging on, I'm hoping the watering will help them, but I suspect I may have picked my last chillies. Considering it's January it's not too bad, is it? I've impressed myself though as for the first time I've grown frozen chillies, so these went straight into the freezer.

Growing frozen chillies

My bargain hyacinths from last year have buds on them too, so they're now in the conservatory acclimatising before coming into the living room. And then no doubt when they're at their most perfumed, I'll move them back into the conservatory so I can cope!

last year's hyacinths are in bud again but its the bulbs that fascinate me right now

Heading back down the garden again, this time armed with fat balls to top up the bird feeders, I spotted the pink flowers of the hosta. Somehow the frost accentuates the edges of the leaves, don't you think?

Admiring the frosty hosta whose pink flowers had found some of the sun

The black grass which edges the patio was wearing the frost in a striped pattern which was definitely eye catching. On first thoughts I didn't think the grass had grown much from when I planted it, but looking back to last February I can see it's grown more than I thought. And now I can see there's newer plants forming (in this picture to the left of the main clump) but not being the patient type, I wish it'd hurry up and get on with the ground covering job I bought it for.

The black grass along the edge of the patio has grown and is coping well with the frost and makes a striking edging plant

And finally, my bulbs are growing!  Well the ones, that are in the earth where they're supposed to be and not in the greenhouse. Although I did spot one rebel out there.

And the bulbs I have in the more usual place are also pushing their way through the soil, even though one of them seems to be trying an alternative way to grow.

So, it's true there are signs of Spring even in our gardens. It may be a little while off yet, but we know it's coming don't we? I've seen daffodils in the shops, but I haven't caved yet as it feels too early, and I want to enjoy the frostiness of winter for just a little bit longer yet, well as long as it comes with blue skies...