A seasonal journal in the middle of winter
Since moving to the UK in 2016, I have always found January to be the hardest month of the year. We go from December’s festivities full of cheer, colourful lights and Christmas trees. Then comes January, appearing as the bearer of a long, dark, cold month. The trees are bare and the colours are grey. The early signs of spring are there, but you must look hard for them. For a lot of people January signifies getting back to the daily grind of another year, while pining for spring.
Over the past couple of years I’ve tried to change my mindset on how I approach January. I go on walks and take notice of natures seasonal changes. I look for tiny buds at the tips of branches as they form and slowly form and swell. I look for shoots of spring bulbs, forcing their way through the earth. I notice the seedlings of cow parsley getting bigger and stronger, preparing to send up flowers when spring comes. The birds get a little louder each day, and the days slowly start to extend.
Of course this year is a little different. In the UK we are in the middle of our third national lockdown due to the global pandemic that is Covid. There is a lot going on right now, it’s sad and overwhelming. It is absolutely a time when you should be doing whatever you can to get through the days. We are all in such different circumstances, yet it has never been so important for us to look for some tiny joy in each day. Even if it’s just for a moment. A few fleeting minutes, I urge you to try to find something that makes you smile.
So far in Salisbury this month, we have not had the beautiful snow a lot of the country has. We have had a couple of hoarfrosts, which have been magical. On a long walk one morning a week or so ago I noticed a frozen spiderweb. The shards of ice so intricate, allowing the web to dazzle even more that usual.
We’ve had days where the fog has lingered and refused to lift. It has been a very grey month as January usually is. I’ve been trying to go on my daily walks in the late afternoon to catch glimpses of the setting sun. Some days the clouds have been kind enough to blow over and those hues of blue and pinkie oranges reveal themselves. A reminder that the sun is still there shining behing the fog and mist.
There has been some time spend in the garden and on the allotment, mainly watching and planning. Most of my time has been spent indoors, lighting candles and watching rain drops fall down the windows. Binge watching Schitt’s Creek and Bridgerton, (highly recommend both if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet) while eating the remainder of the Christmas cheese and our huge pudding (that we ordered when there was going to be more than two of us for Christmas day). I do not feel guilty about any of it.
January for me, is the month we should retreat, hibernate and prepare for the year ahead. Feed our soul with books, films and the nurturing food we love. We should take naps if we can and go on bracing walks in the cold. I highly recommend stomping in frozen puddles and coming home to warm up with a hot chocolate or bowl of soup. We should spend time watching our garden for bulbs shooting up, or birds coming into our feeders. It’s a time to order and sow seeds, make plans and rest.
January’s Fruits & Flowers
I don’t tend to associate January with much colour. There is a lot of grey and fruits and flowers are limited. However, if you look closely, there is always a flower to find. Our garden currently is blooming with my favourite winter flowers, Hellebores. We also have have primroses and cheery little violas plugging away, doing all they can to stay in flower. The daffodil bulbs are sending green shoots showing promising signs for more flowers next month.
Bulbs, violas and primroses will all grow well in pots. If you have a little corner or a balcony, they will flower through winter and bring joy to even the smallest garden.
With the last of our leeks used in December, kale is about the only thing left from last season in the veg bed. It really has been a trooper surviving through below zero temperatures. This week I made kale, red onion and goats cheese tarts. They were delicious, so I’ve linked the recipe I used below if you want to have a go at these.
January on the Plot
January has seen us at the allotment less often than most months. The light levels are at their lowest in the new year. Towards the end of the month the light is slowly increasing. I comment on this almost daily at the moment, “Can you believe it’s 4:30pm and not completely dark” is a common question I ask Dave most days. In the next week or so I’ll be back in the polytunnel sowing seeds, including more sweet peas and hardy annuals. I’ll share more of this with you next month.
On the few dry days that have fallen on the weekend, Dave has spent some time extending the flower bed which is already looking different to the image above. My main task has been drinking tea and making plans. We are full of ideas for the plot this year and we are so excited to share our flower growing process with you all each month through this journal, and through Instagram.
As the months roll on, spring and summer will come. The flowers will return and the days will be long. We will be reunited and hug each other again. For now, lets all rest, look after ourselves and do whatever it is that brings us a little joy. Providing you stay at home obviously.
Much love, Lauren xx
Thanks so much for joining us and reading our first monthly seasonal journal entry. I’d love you to join in the conversation in the comments field below. If you enjoyed this post, you can subscribe to receive our once a monthly journal entry straight to your email around the middle of each month. You can also join us on Instagram to see more daily content.