Turning up to the garden in February


Little shoots are already appearing on the lilac tree in our little garden when we visited for the first time this year. A timely reminder to get digging or nature will do what she does. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. And it’s only February!

Then we get into it – gathering dead wood and leaves, piling them into the raised bed, jumping in on top and smashing it all down with our feet. By now the raised bed is so full of material it is springy and bouncy.




I pruned back and removed dead wood from a tree whose name I don’t know but which has long straight branches growing straight from the ground and yellow flowers in summer. Using the long branches like gentle switches on the air, beating the grass and enjoying the sound as they cut through the air. At some point GG wakes up (we timed our trip around her nap) and the clock is ticking until it’s time to retreat indoors.


In the warmth of the apartment, I have been staying up into the quiet of the night with a glass of wine and shopping for seeds.┬áIt feels like gambling, but it’s hardly the worst. I am trying to practice restraint and not read the catalogues like a menu at a restaurant. Think of what will go where and how much space and time it might need. I ordered a type of beetroot called Tondo di Chioggia that is striped pink and white, and rainbow swiss chard or mangold as it’s called in German. Thai basil and edible flowers. And sunflower seeds, to make a sunflower house. Which is basically a circle of sunflowers, and the space inside is all for the smallies.

Restraint is also a much needed watchword in the garden itself. Fingers get itchy and want to clear a whole area and plant anew. Instead it’s much more productive to focus on getting ready for spring, instead of wishing it was already here. The little hut needs a new kitchen, the hut itself could do with a lick of paint, the path must be laid anew, the second raised bed is waiting to be built – there is plenty to be done. So, this month, I will try to keep turning up and digging in. Not allow myself to get overwhelmed and be content with small achievements. And not order too many seeds online!

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