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The RHS ran a survey earlier this year to find out more about the UK’s gardening habits. 71% of the random sample of people questioned said that they gardened for personal pleasure, well over half of respondents were wanting to create beautiful spaces, and a fairly respectable 38% said that they gardened for wildlife. A positive finding for the birds, bees and frogs of the UK… positive but with plenty of room for improvement.

Bumblebee on teasel

Given my gardening priorities, I was a little disappointed that growing food didn’t make it into the top 5 reasons for gardening… maybe it was a close number six in the list. More reassuring was the fact that just over 40% of people said they had bought plants or seeds to grow their own food.

Leaf

Whatever your reasons for gardening, it’s getting towards the time of year here when the idea of sitting indoors, cup of coffee in one hand and a stack of seed catalogues on the table, is much more appealing than going out in the cold and damp. This would be fine if there weren’t so many jobs that still need doing out there. The one that’s been dragging on for a few weeks now is raking up the leaves off the grass. So many leaves… I’ve filled bags for leaf mould next year, topped up the compost bins, made a big heap of them, and still there are more.

Garlic

It’s a leafy story in the vegetable plot too. Edible leaves here though. The garlic is in and starting to show green shoots. I’ve planted both softneck and hardneck varieties, and am already looking forward to the first green garlic pizza next year. There’s chard just about taking over one of the veggie beds, with kale doing its best to keep up in leaf production. I need to find some inventive ways to hide these two vegetables in winter soups and pies… there are some members of the family who aren’t keen on eating them. While I search for recipes, the plants are looking decorative as the frost melts slowly in the weak sunshine.

Red Russian

There’s been a slug invasion in the greenhouse – winter lettuce plants have disappeared overnight, and they’ve had a good munch on the spinach too. No signs of any damage on the chervil though. I’m not sure how we’ve ended up with so much chervil… I’ll need to be looking for recipe ideas for using this too.

Chervil

The main job for this winter though is to dig out more space for vegetable growing, and have it ready for spring sowing. I have a design for the vegetable patch, but before I can start digging and shaping the beds there are a lot of plants to be moved and either relocated or added to the compost heap.

Whether you’re a keen gardener, or just enjoy reading about gardens, there’s always a good collection of seasonal tales to be had through the Garden Share Collective over at Lizzie’s blog, Strayed from the Table. And as we’re approaching the shortest day here in the northern hemisphere, the photos of early summer flowers from the Australian and New Zealand bloggers who join the collective are a great way to brighten the day.

TheGardenShareCollective300pix

And to finish, a quick Garden Deli survey – why do you garden?

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