Winter Gardening


A couple of days spent out in the garden and life makes sense again. Leaf mould and compost sorted and mixed, and spread on the beds. I won’t clear them until late Feb, but the spring bed behind the veg garden needs tidying so that early treasures can actually be seen. Hellebores are opening, arums unfurling their spears, a few snowdrops and various bulbs beginning to bud. A sort among the pots at the back of the house produces a few to bring to the front door, including winter honeysuckle, wintersweet and a pot of cheerfulness.

On the terrace table, I have a pot of tender hellebores under a galvanised cloche – like a tiny greenhouse, various pots of herbs for easy access from the kitchen, myrtle, winter savory and hyssop, apart from the usual suspects. Time to take down the Christmas decorations and replace my driftwood tree with a pot of cymbidium orchids again.

Writing about gardening clothes for the Telegraph and I realize just how important it is to be wearing clothes that are comfortable, easy to move in and that keep you warm. I favour a pair of Max’s old Carhart baggy jeans (I wear woolly tights underneath), a strange hoodie over a red cashmere jumper and a ski vest. I always wear gloves – Showa, and my ancient Dubarrys keep my feet warm and dry. Not fashion plate perfect, but workmanlike.

PS If you miss an article, just type in Francine Raymond at the Sunday Telegraph, and it should be there.