January hoar frost and gardening success

Tiffany Daneff / 29 January 2015

Gardening editor Tiffany Daneff marvels at the beauty of the Northamptonshire hoar frost, and shares some of her gardening success stories.



There was such a fine hoar frost last Friday, here in Northamptonshire, that I had wanted to take a photo of the ferny filaments of ice coating the windowpanes.

Trouble was the sun was shining and my camera phone wasn’t up to the task of focusing on the ice crusts rather than the view. That’s when you long for the real thing not just a tiny eye in a phone.

Outdoors the grass was sticky under foot. You know it's cold when each individual blade is rimed and you can hear the lawn creak as you walk across it.

What with the cold and wind and the back to back flu we’ve been struck with over Christmas and New Year I have done absolutely no gardening whatsoever. Hah! I don’t feel even the faintest bit guilty because I have achieved other things.

1. The bulbs I potted up indoors at the end of October (read time to plant bulbs for Christmas) have been coming along nicely. The Narcissus paperwhites were up for Christmas and really cheered me up. It was wonderful to have so many home grown flowers on the windowsills. At 16 ins they did need staking to stop the flopping over but that was easily done with peasticks and twine. The hyacinths ‘White Pearl’ arrived for New Year and were radiant. Definitely planting both again next year.

Read our guide to growing hyacinths.

The other pots containing N. Earlicheer and N.Tete a Tete are only getting into gear now but I am hugely enjoying their fresh green shoots and am glad that they are some way behind the leaders. I wouldn’t have had room for everything at once.

2. I have had the paths laid in the vegetable garden. Oh yes. This was very definitely a good move. Not a weed to be seen. Of course the little blighters will winkle their way back in. How could they not when my little veg plot is plonked bang in the middle in a field of thistles, nettles and sticky willie. But right now I am luxuriating in the novelty of clean gravel against new boards. For now here’s a couple of pictures to show ‘before’ and ‘after’.

3. We are still eating last year’s onions. I’d plaited them and strung up the plaits from the old meat hooks in the kitchen and although I lost perhaps six which turned to an interesting brackish mush that began dripping on to our heads, the rest have kept firm and crisp. A great success.

4. The kale (Cavolo Nero) is still going strong. The plants laughed off the August Cabbage White larvae attack and are now as perky as ever. What a brilliant vegetable.

5. The parsley is doing well too. Next though, I am going to plant more. You can’t have enough parsley.

Tiffany Daneff is also the editor of the award-winning intoGardens app - the world's first magazine app for gardens. Visit the appstore to download a free sample or go to the website for more information. Gardening has never looked better or been more exciting. Visit www.into-gardens.com for more info. 

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