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The year in the garden is now well under way, as Mother Earth awakens in a very visible way…not that she ever slept!
Coltsfoot is one of the first herbs to come into flower, for it flowers before it leafs and a very welcome sight this is!
Bronze fennel, that most vigorous of herbs and also a brilliant addition to the flower garden, starts to produce tasty leaves that can be added to early Spring salads.
Rocket has over-wintered well in the tunnel and forms the base ingredient.
Daffodils are now up and beginning to flower.
Daffodils on the hill above the cottage, around an old abandoned dwelling are in full bloom!
Reminders of Winter come and go, but not for long, sometimes just an hour or two of a light dusting of snow.
Never enough to hold back the advance of the seasons!
But beware the wind chill factor that comes with early Spring and wrap up warm when venturing out to work in the garden!
When the sun does shine, it is truly glorious and plants like Rhubarb spring into exuberant life!
A very hungry plant, Rhubarb eats up a generous dressing of well-rotted manure.
Euphorbia comes into life in the flower garden…here it shares a half barrel with a Fig Tree and both like each other’s company!
In fact, the Fig has fruited well year on year since getting a new bed fellow!
An old but treasured book is always at hand to delve into for advice on seasonal food, gardening and outdoors work!
I wonder if this little gem is still in print?
Beautiful catkins on the Hazel trees…flowers in fact!
The pond is filling with frogspawn and clumps of frogs celebrating the turn in the year as only frogs can!
Out in the hen-house the girls are in touch with the growing of the light as they come back into lay!
Mr and Mrs Fox are hungry and on the prowl! I often lay out food at night for the foxes, for the way I see it is simply this: we have interfered with the food chain by removing the animals that would have predated upon foxes.
This is my way of attempting to live in harmony as best I can…and ensuring that the girls in the henhouse are well protected!
Part Two of THE GARDEN IN FEBRUARY can be found on Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…
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I love hens.
They are social creatures.
They are inquisitive by nature and become very tame when treated well.
I have kept hens for years, even when I lived in London, I kept hens in my garden in Muswell Hill.
So, hens are familiar to me and have taught me a lot about what makes them happy!
Food is easy…lots of greens.
You can pick a few weeds every day and give to the hens, fresh is best.
Lots of starchy food leftovers is good for them as it provides a balanced diet.
I supplement with rolled barley, which they love!
If the girls can roam freely then this is good for all.
Mine get out for a good long roam-about when I’m working in the upper gardens.
This is because the handsome old fox lives on the hill above the cottage!
Say no more!
I have watched the girls jump up high to eat these from the bush on winter days.
Here they are scoffing the remains of blackcurrants from wine-making.
Hens are great foragers and will happily troop off on a good old forage through the bushes and woodland, emerging hours later at some unexpected point!
This is because it has a perspex roof, so all the sunshine and moonlight can brighten the inside.
In this way, the hens continue to lay eggs all year round as the light induces this process.
Trees are planted around it for maximum shelter, especially from the wind.
The hens even laid eggs on Christmas day.
Hens will lay for years and live for over 7 years and more.
I will save some of the corn seeds for planting next year…