Happy New Year to you all!

As the last Christmas leftovers are turned into a soup, and my lovely bunch of red amaryllis slowly fade, I’m sitting by the fire, surrounded by seed catalogues planning for the new year and trying to ignore my computer and work. Writing my blog is always a pleasure, sharing good news and new arrivals, this year with the arrival, at long last, of some hens.

Having dithered and waited, hatched and failed to find Orpington girls, I’ve succumbed to the glories of these little bantams. Gold laced – very exotic, and still Orps, but quarter scale of the standards, though still not tiny. These were bred by Will Dyson at Great Comp Gardens, better known for his salvias, and they are very pretty, busy and friendly. (PS. Will has others for sale.)

It took them a couple of days to find their way in and out of their house, a few more to discover the nest box and lay inside (despite the china egg as encouragement) and now they’ve settled without a gap in their egg production – fab to have homelaid eggs again, with lots left over to give to my grandsons.

I decided to go for bantams because I knew that with local fox problems they’d probably be spending more time in their newly re-enforced run, though, come spring and more gardening activity on my part, I’ll let them out into the garden. Fingers crossed that with new dogs living on either side of me, we’ll be left in peace.

With news of two new books in the pipeline, articles in Gardens Illustrated coming up, (look out for one on the wonderful Charlotte Molesworth in April) and hopefully continuing work for the Telegraph, it looks like a busy year ahead, including a group opening here in Whitstable for the National Gardens Scheme in June.

Keep in touch.