This week has been about the bulbs. Clearing away annuals, mulching for winter and digging trenches for narcissi, iris, alliums and tulips. We had a light dusting of frost earlier in the week which is unusual for us here in Cornwall, so the tulips which normally have to wait until late December, get a head start this year. Typically it was followed by torrential rain and flash flooding - fantastic weather for gardening! It'll be interesting to see how things turn out in spring.
We worked recently with Melissa Love who took some beautiful still life pictures of winter bulbs. We are so lucky that Melissa lives just down the road and her still life skills are amazing. We wanted to echo the Dutch Masters' vibe but put the bulbs centre stage. Melissa's artful eye and clever use of natural light resulted in making a cold, muddy task that little bit more easy, every year.
In the tunnel we are planting a ranunculus (or rat lunch - depending on whether you are a rodent or not). We have not had much success in getting these through the winter for the past few years, despite full on rodent-war. Rats are clever. Possibly cleverer than me. So these funny little bunches of potential have been soaked in a weak solution of disinfectant for 24 hours, to make them swell-up ready for planting, and also to disguise the smell. Safely tucked up in a freshly dug bed, topped with fresh compost there is a whole lot of hope ready to be munched when winter squeezes the food supply for not just rats but lots of the wildlife that lives on the farm.
Also in the tunnel, are amaryllis, foxtail lilies and bearded iris, in tiny pots, are a very pale ice-blue muscari and dainty dwarf fritillaria. We hope the very light cloud-blue will work with the delicate translucent Dolomite glaze on our Leach Pottery bowls. All that spring lightness is yet to come as we head into the dark days of winter and make the most of the slanting sunshine when we get it.
Here are some more images (of actual food - not rat food) from Melissa that will make you cherish winter all the more and appreciate the calm, watery light of winter.