The forecasted cold nights and early morning frosts delivered the goods this weekend. Up early and out into the garden just after 7am. I left my boots near the radiator overnight, and they were toasty warm... heavenly! Tea in one hand, slice of toast and marmite in the other, I stood on the terrace assessing the work that really couldn't be put off any longer. And then I went back inside for another round of toast, boiled the kettle again, put the laundry on, got something out of the freezer, scraped the ice off the windscreen (there's a couple of garden tables occupying half the garage), walked down to fetch the papers, walked back and chatted to the dog walkers, dropped the papers onto the dining room table, made another cup of tea, read some uni course work (beloved firstborn is home for the weekend), then stood once more on the terrace and let the steam from my tea curl up my nose.
And finally, at 7.45am, I got moving! Finished clearing the pond, then finished pruning the shrub roses; finished winter pruning a couple of apple trees; hacked the irritating top growth from my espalier pear; cleared a little patch of garden where I grew annuals last year; lost my balance climbing between terraces on slippy wooden sleepers trying to smell the winter flowering honeysuckle; dug up a rather revolting patch of nettles (tough luck red admirals) that invaded my cold north facing border last summer; and finally, finally, I cut back and tied in the climbing Mme Alfred Carriere thats been "settling in" to my fernery for three years and didn't put on a stick of growth until last year.
So there you have it. A relaxed weekend in the early winter garden.