A seasonal journal entry written in the final weeks of winter.
February really is the month of ups and downs, backwards and forwards. Like a roller-coaster that gently climbs up toward a bright blue sky, then falls so fast straight back down to earth, with some twists and turns along the way. The early days of the month are still dark and grey. Some days are freezing cold, with rain and snow. Some days the sun shines so bright you can take your coat off and feel the rays warm the inside of your soul. As the month goes on, we notice the days getting significantly longer while the weather can’t seem to make it’s mind up. We must mimic the season and spend equal amounts of time hibernating in the warmth of our cosy homes, while slowly emerging on those more pleasant days to begin our preparations for spring.
Of course this particular February is different to most. In the UK, we are now well in to our second month of our third national lockdown. Lets not beat around the bush, this third round through the middle of winter has been pretty crappy. A far cry from those first months we spent at home last spring and summer. There have been tough times and dark days for us all. The past few months have been bleak, long and somewhat lonely for many of us. The start to 2021 has been more difficult than a standard winter, and so we must keep reminding ourselves why it is so important for us to stay home, and go easy of ourselves when we are struggling.
This month, with all that is going on in the world, I have been even more conscious to cherish those tiny moments that are filled with absolute joy. They might appear as a simple few minutes here and there, but they are around us. The more I’ve focussed on these moments and recognised them, the better I’ve felt.
Towards the end of January and well into February, there has been more snow across the country than I can recall in the 5 winters I’ve lived in the UK. Nature has brought us stunning snowy scenes, just when we all needed a little cheering up. Watching children squeal as they sledged down steep hills for hours on end, and adults have a break from the monotones days we’ve been stuck in this winter has brought joy to us all.
One of the magical things about February is the the change of daylight hours across the month. The evenings are getting noticeably longer each week and there now becomes time for late afternoon walks. On those clear days when the sun sets with it’s golden afternoon light, it truly lifts the sprits.
Earlier in the month I potted up quite a few narcissi bulbs to bring inside and watch them shoot up through the moss into flower. They have made me smile every day and I’ll be doing a lot more of this, with all sorts of bulbs next winter.
February for me, is a month where we can notice so many changes in nature. Just in the last two weeks alone the earth has gone from being completely frozen solid for days on end, to slowly warming and bursting with life. I spotted a sea of bright magenta Cyclamen that I spend at least 10 minutes observing and photographing. After a dark grey winter, those pops of colour appearing are so special. Everything is about to change as we transition into Spring and its oh so exciting.
February’s Fruits & Flowers
Once we come into the last few weeks of winter our home grown supply of fruit and vegetables has diminished and we are now in the hungry gap. During this time, I try to support local organic growers Kensons Farm when I can, (they have a stand at Salisbury Charter Market if you’re local) who still have a good supply of spuds, carrots, leek and some squash and onions. While standing in line on Saturday to buy some veg, I heard the couple behind me say “I’m just not sure I can eat any more potato and leek soup” We exchanged glances and laughed, I’d just has the same conversation with Dave a few minutes before.
In the garden and in the woods, the flora is now changing and growing, preparing for spring. The snow drops continue to flower, as do the hellebores that have both been putting on an impressive display since January. Daffodils this week are blooming everywhere, their bright cherry trumpet like faces making me squeal with delight when I spotted a few opening just yesterday. Colourful crocus are shooting up all over the garden and I’m delighted they are looking bigger and better in this the second season since I planted them.
While I await having enough flowers to start harvesting and arranging with, I’ve been making some lovely mini bouquets with our dried flower stock from last season, that has perfectly lasted through the winter to keep me busy between seasons.
February of course includes a very big day for many in the floral industry, Valentine’s Day. It was great to see so many discussions on line, around seasonal flowers and the importance of supporting local growers. I wrote an Instagram post titled “Please don’t buy me roses for Valentines Day” (which you can click on the link below if you missed it) However there is still such a long way to go in helping people understand the value and importance of seasonally, locally grown flowers. I intend to write more on this topic going forward.
February on the Plot
Through most of this month I’ve been gradually spending more time at the allotment. Once the snow melted and the ground thawed out from weeks of being frozen solid, there has been lots of work to be done.
Hardy Autumn sown annuals are now almost ready for planting, most beds have been mulched and the soil is looking beautifully rich and full of big fat worms. Dave has finished off the back fence while I’ve put down new paths of wood chip.
In the last week I’ve re-commenced sowing seeds and eagerly watching for germinations and growth. The ranunculus and sweet peas are now planted inside the polytunnel, with more sown to plant out in the beds in spring. Getting some sweet peas planted inside, will hopefully give my some blooms a little earlier this year, and also meant I could finally use my vintage sweet pea marker given to me from a dear friend on my birthday.
Tulips are now quickly shooting through the earth and I’m so excited for these babies to bloom. Speaking of excitement, I think I have managed to overwinter my craspedia plants I grew from seed last year. They were so slow growing and never flowered, so fingers crossed for lots of lovely yellow billy buttons on these this year.
February has been tough, and even in the past few days I’ve felt completely fed up, missing people. places and life as we knew it this time last year. (I’m sure these feelings will resonate with many of you)
The forecast for this week is looking brighter, warmer and I know things will feel better. We just need to hang in a little longer. I’m so sure that before we know it, we will be able to hug our loved ones, and feel so grateful for some of life’s simplest pleasures. A coffee with a friend, a glass of something nice in a sunny garden, hearing live music, watching nature unfurl and flower. Seeing strangers laugh and smile as they greet and embrace each other, is on my list of things to look forward to.
Hold tight friends, from here on, better days are coming, and things will only get better.
Much love, Lauren xx
Thanks so much for joining us and reading our monthly seasonal journal. I’d love you to join in the conversation in the comments field below. How you are feeling this month, and what is bringing you joy?
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