Winter share time

It’s time to hook up with the team from Garden Share Collective … a great initiative where a group of international bloggers share their gardens with you. Thanks Lizzy!


Now that winter solstice has passed us by, the days are ever so slowly getting longer. The weather is still cold and damp, but the good news is warmer weather will be with us soon – won’t it?


Winter or not I am still harvesting veges and herbs, citrus and eggs too of course! My lone grapefruit is looking more and more like it should be picked and brought indoors so I can gloat.


My fennel is on some sort of steroid and falling all over its neighbours, but as nasturtium is also in this space, there appears to be some sort of competition going on.

I’m still plucking lettuce leaves and tossing these into Caesar salads .. and snipping off sorrel leaves and poking theses into sandwiches with salmon – delish.

There aren’t many carrots left but I’m hoisting the odd one from the dirt and standing back to admire it.

The peas when I remember to pick them, are just divine – so very sweet, nothing like growing your own.

As the yacons have flowered, I’ve been digging up the tubers which are delicious thrown into curries (chopped up first of course), roasted or juiced first thing in the morning.


Broadbeans standing to attention!

Needless to say, I raid our garage stores on a regular basis removing garlic and Egyptian walking onions ..


I have this thing about farm gates


I was going to plant some Jerusalem artichoke – ‘sunchokes’ they are also known as, but opted not to as they don’t agree with me – shame as they are so tasty roasted.

It won’t be long before I’ll be writing up a plan for summer planting and shifting through my seed box and dreaming of summer gardens.


All my garlic has now been planted – I have no idea of the varieties except that they are all grown here. The good news is, all of the cloves have shoved aside the soil and have lovely green stems which are skyward bound. As are our leeks … which are looking particularly good sharing their space with some pink cosmos.


I still wonder at this plant flowering quite happily at this time of year.


To Do

  • Weed – no matter what time of year it is those suckers keep on growing
  • Keep removing those slugs from my brassicas in my night patrols
  • Feed those brassicas with tea from the Bokasi bin and my home made seaweed brew (hubby loathes the latter – it’s outrageously smelly)
  • Stand and stare at the rhubarb (my first ever) which is growing with vigour
  • Catch the slugs that are munching holes in my rhubarb leaves – don’t they know they are poisonous! Obviously not
  • Admire the strawberry plants which are already flowering
  • Thank my father-in-law for all the wonderful preserves he left us – we are enjoying those peaches and pears slathered in coconut yoghurt or baked in crumbles
  • Mulch my garlic gardens and throw some seaweed fert their way
  • Harvest a bucket of lemons it’s time to preserve them


Thank you so much to all those bloggers that left such kind and caring comments on my blog ..

Happy gardening


59 thoughts

  1. Lovely photos! I don’t think you really get winter, as we know winter. You are so lucky. One, only one so far, of our cosmos has bloomed — other cosmos are trying to come up, so we will have lots of cosmos in a few weeks. But it’s summer here and you have cosmos blooming in your winter. You are really fortunate to have so much green and flowers blooming through the winter. Here in the high desert, it gets really cold so everything but the evergreens dry up and turn brown in our winter. But we have lots of flowers and a fair amount of green in the summer. BTW my post for tomorrow (which will go live in about 2 hours) is all bullfrogs, We don’t have frog ponds, but the frogs love the ditches here.

    • Hey Tim … thank you. I guess our winters are pretty mild. But trust me, when it turns cold and wet it is miserable. Plus the wind howls (something to do with living on a hill). I can’t believe the cosmos is flowering, I’ve never seen it do this before in winter. I’m looking forward to you bullfrog post. Cool dudes hanging out in ditches! Always great to hear from you 😀

      • I know cold and wet is miserable, I’ve been in areas were it’s not cold compared to the high desert, but it’s wet, and so it feels really cold, and it’s had to get harm (I’ll take cold and dry any day over cold and wet). And when you add wind it’s awful. The bullfrogs await you.

  2. A wander through your garden at any time of the year is a joy. I have a thing about farm gates too! Who could resist leaning on a gate with a view like this?

  3. Wow, look at your garden grow! I see you’ve a more temperate climate than I do either in Van or in OXON. We get mid winters with a good freeze for a week or so, so very little survives without being covered over. Here in OXON I have a small flower garden, (which goes untended for large parts of the year), in which I’ve got some pretty good thugs, like Shasta daisies, red hot pokers, nigella, crocosmia, and ground cover roses, and they tend not to let the weeds and nettles thru. Wish I had a better system for growing more here. And I just bought two nice clumps of purple lavender so I’m looking forward to growing those and maybe making a couple lavender wands by summer’s end. By the way, I found some white and pink lavender at the car boot sale yesterday. Do you have any? Wow, I tell you what, the white lavender seems strange to me, you know, like it should be a rich purple, but it sure is spectacular to look at. I’m off to Kew in a week to celebrate my birthday, and so will have a look at what’s new and wonderful and write a full report. I’m so glad that, even though we are so far away, we speak the common language of gardens. Big hugs for a wonderful week ahead. 😀

    • Hey V .. how are you? Back in England – how nice for you. Thankfully our winters are fairly mild (phew) .. I love the fact that I can garden all year. Your garden sounds wonderful V. I adore shasta daisies and nigella and cover roses – perfect! Lavender is one of my favs (and the bees 🙂 ) – I have grown the white variety before – it is quite lovely. Have a wonderful time in Kew and a very happy birthday to you – big hugs back at you lovely 😀

  4. Your garden is looking green and gorgeous and flourishing. I am interested to read that you enjoy coconut yogurt. I have yet to try it but it does look tempting. I use coconut oil for cooking.

    • Hello! Oh you must look out for Cathedral Cove coconut yoghurt. It is absolutely the best. Made from coconut, no sugar but there is a wee bit of fat! Ok more … it is just divine. We also use it in cooking – it is lovely in steamed rice. Our garden never ceases to amaze me .. have just been out in it snipping celery for morning juices and standing by and admiring (in appreciation or course).

      • Your garden will grow all the more in response to your admiring glances! I will look out for that brand. I love rice with yogurt; I can imagine how delicious coconut yogurt with steamed rice must be.

  5. I love your photos, I am going to share this with the Facebook group for you Julie. So great to see a different perspective in the garden – I love the shot of the garlic – up so close and personal and also happy to hear that you they a have all sprouted for you. Glad you have had some success with your rhubarb growing.

    • Hello Lizzy … so nice to see you here. And I’m so pleased you like the pics. Please do share with the Facebook group – that would be fabulous and greatly appreciated. Nothing like getting up close and personal with the garden. Looking forward to that first rhubarb crumble. Cheers L 😀

    • Hi .. not normally. I was quite surprised to see him/her. Although I suspect the beautiful day would make anything feel good and want to be out and about. Thankfully the white butterflies don’t like winter! Glad you enjoyed the post and the pics ..

    • Oh thank you … everytime I walk past the rhubarb I stop and smile. Time to splash about some homemade seaweed brew – that will get some things happening! Thanks for stopping by …

  6. Your winter flowers are sure to add a touch of spring feeling to your winter garden now, your lavender is looking especially lovely. But as for those weeds and slugs, they show no respect for us gardeners ~ couldn’t we at least have a break from them in the cooler months?! I love farm gates too, in fact I have a thing for any attractive gate. 🙂

    • Oh aren’t flowers the best? They just make everything look so much brighter and merrier. Plus they give the bees food in winter. The lavenders are huge but too big to trim now. They dwarf the poor grapefruit which I suspect isn’t overly enjoying its company. Weeds and slugs .. hmm, keep us busy don’t they? What is it about gates and fences? Love ’em! Thanks for stopping by …

  7. Hi Julie and Andrew
    Julie don’t let the slugs eat all the rhubarb leaves as I am concocting a recipe for a rhubarb leaves dish just for you! As usual very good photos , went to Broadstairs and the Boys can’t wait to get to see you all. The tree furn I bought in May is just starting to sprout will send photos . Must look after this one they are so expensive over here there are some at the nursery for over two hundred pounds!
    Love to you both Bill xxx

    • Don’t even think about any special dish thanks Mr Bonner! And shame on you … LOL I bet the boys are looking forward to the trip – I’m thinking a caravan in the carpark! Not a bad idea ah? That tree fern sounds nice (& expensive) .. would love to see some pics. Lots of love back at you xxx

      • Hi what a shame about rhubarb cocktail! Yes a caravan seems just right as I said the boys are really looking forward to seeing you and the loverly spread you have made it into . I know it’s been a lot of hard work but it’s a pleasure to visit and see the things you have done,baring in mind I saw it with you when you bought it . It’s a compleatly differencent place .
        Love as always

  8. Beautiful photos as always Julie! Your little garlic looks so healthy and happy, and I know how rewarding it is when they all make it through the soil. Love that pic of the farm gate 🙂

    • Hi Dan … thank you. The garlic was up and at ’em within a week of planting. I have been splashing about seaweed fert (more yesterday) to encourage growth. It’s working! It is so rewarding isn’t it? Yep, I love that gate too. Good to see you as always …

  9. Thanks for the gorgeous photos and for taking us on a walk about your garden. We’re heading into the teeth of summer here, heat and humidity and thunder storms coloring most of our days. It’s so nice to imagine the cool breeze coming our way from Frog Pond Farm! Cheers, Ben 🙂

    • Hey Ben … I like that – the cool breeze coming from FPF. Nice! Do you want some rain too? LOL Glad you like the walk in the garden – it’s so nice being able to share it with people 😀

    • Hi Miss … no I think it may be because we live on a hill LOL. Thankfully the water runs off and leaves the garden fairly dry. Did I mention the wind? ha ha Thanks for stopping by and you have a fab day too!

  10. I have been thinking of planting yakon, but it is probably too hot and humid up here. I often stray off the path of what really grows well here and then I get dissapointed. I will just admire yours from afar for now. i always love your photos.

    • Oh thank you and nice to know that you stopped by. Do give yacon a try – it is a wonderful plant and I adore the tuber. I stirfried it last night with other veg and it was so delicious. It is slightly sweeter too wthout the calories. Auckland in summer is very very humid and it grows so well. Glad you like the pics .. thank you again. 🙂

  11. Fantastic update and photos! Sounds like you still have plenty to feed on. I had to look up what a yacon was. They are interesting. Looks like they need a long growing season. The cosmos look great and nice shot of the butterfly, tough to focus on something flying in the sky (at least for me). If I were you I’d be careful if Mr. Bill Bonner shows up with a couple jugs of his homemade rhubarb wine! 🙂 Take care Julie! Bob

    • Hey Bob, if you can get your hands on yacon tubers do give them a go. I just love them .. And yes they do have a long growing season, but once established they are with you for ages. That shot of the butterfly was a fluke .. it was in out and my focus. So nice to get it though against the blue sky. I know what about Bill .. LOL rhubarb wine. He is a shocker! Take care thanks for stopping by 😀

  12. Hi Julie, Another glorious wander round your lovely garden (thank you). Beautiful gate. ….. but you know that! We live on a hill too and reckon we are on a different weather system to those living down at the bottom. It can be windy up here while breezeless down there….. But we do get to look over the low rolling mists and can see the hills further away on the other side of the valley. Perhaps if I stand on my hill and you stand there on yours (and the air runs just clear over the mist ) we might just be able to wave !!!! 🙂

  13. Always you show us the most spectacular pictures! Thank you. You live in a beautiful place. When you say there is nothing like growing your own food I couldn’t agree more. This week I am harvesting the tomatoes I planted in January. Talk about slow food! But oh, they taste so great it was worth every second of the wait.

  14. what a great idea – to start writing down the sumemr season’s plan of what to grow. i shall do that next time the cold weather keeps me indoors – a perfect way to look forward to the warmer weather.

  15. I had cosmos last year – pity it is an annual rather than perennial plant (at least here).

    I think I’ve said before but I do envy you your mild climate in comparison with mine. Okay, if I plant cannily enough I can usually keep plenty in the ground over winter but I certainly wouldn’t call my garden lush over winter. Yours looks lovely.

    Anyway, I’m not sure Jerusalem artichokes agree with anyone really but they are so good as a soup thickener. Mine have moved up a gear this year, so I can see it won’t be long before they take over the garden…. Maybe just as well you aren’t growing any!

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