It’s time for January’s Garden Share Collective – do you think I can get away with just three words?  Wet and muddy.  That pretty much sums up the state of the garden at the start of this year.

I’ll spare you the photos of the mud though, and move onto something much prettier.  Despite the storms, there are some plants that just don’t seem to know when to stop flowering.  Early January, and some of the hardy (very hardy as it turns out) annuals that I sowed for cut flowers last year are still blooming.  Admittedly, there aren’t a lot flowers – barely enough for the makings of a good buttonhole… but enough have braved the winter weather to add a splash of colour to the garden.

Rudbeckia

This rudbeckia is the lone survivor from a late spring sowing, and has been producing flowers for nearly six months now – definitely good value for money.  There are borage and calendula flowers too which must be the result of some enthusiastic self-seeding from last summer’s plants.

Calendula

There are cerinthe seedlings here and there too, but they haven’t reached the flowering stage yet.  Still, when they do, the early nectar will be very welcome for any bees out and about on mild days.

cerinthe

It’s not all good in the garden though.  On drier days, there are rabbits frolicking in the vegetable patch.  And not just frolicking, they’ve developed a taste for the Swiss chard – one of my favourite vegetables.  Now, rabbits hopping about in the field at the end of the garden are quite cute… but once they get anywhere near my plants those sweet little bunnies become pests that need to be discouraged.  Meet the frontline in rabbit pest control –

Meg and Eddie

These guys might look even cuter than a field full of bunnies, but they’re undergoing intensive training (ok, they’re chasing bits of string) to ensure that when they are big enough to venture out into the garden, the local rabbit population will rapidly move on and leave my chard well alone.

Chard

So far the rabbits haven’t been able to get at the chard and kale that’s growing under netting.  They don’t seem to be bothering with the leeks or parsley either… or maybe they just haven’t found them yet.  But at least it means there’s still something to harvest in the garden.

Parsley

And with the garlic just starting to poke through the ground, and a few broad bean plants (those that survived the enormous appetite of the greenhouse mouse) growing well, there are harvests to look forward to as the year progresses.

Ladybirds

Oh, and I have biological control lined up for the aphids too.  Tucked up in the battered seedhead of a globe thistle, these ladybirds are a welcome sight in the garden after there being so few last summer.  Let’s hope they make it through to the warmer weather, and the population bounces back in 2014.

TheGardenShareCollective300pix

There’s a whole collection of gardeners around the world who join the Garden Share Collective each month.  If you’re tired of winter grey, then a quick look at some southern hemisphere gardens basking in summer sunshine might be just what you need to cheer things up… but then of course, if your garden is currently basking in summer sunshine, maybe a bit of winter grey would make a nice contrast!  All you need to do is click over to Lizzie’s blog at Strayed from the Table and take your pick.

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