The new year usually begins with a great feeling of optimism. The weather will be perfect for gardening, there will be no problems with rabbits, mice or other pests or diseases. The customers will come flooding in and all will be pleasant people. We shall see.

Currently the rabbits seem to have the upper hand and are busy digging all over the place. Each time I plant something new it has to have a net guard round it to protect it. The garden is beginning to look like a field of black plastic. Once the roots are established I shall remove the guards and hope the plants will remain untouched.

This morning there is a frost. It has been quite mild and calm for a few days so it’s been ideal weather for gardening. I’ve cut things back, dug up yet more plants which I don’t care for any more or which aren’t growing well and added some new ones in. I’ve had my eyes down searching for emerging snowdrops, a few are coming through but not many yet, I hope the extreme dryness hasn’t affected them.

We’re hoping to have a range of pond plants to sell later in the year. There is an expert pond man nearby who will order them and maintain them, we will just let him have some space here. I have also chosen a range of containers which should be delivered late winter/early spring. It’s mountainously complicated trying to order pots when you have a small budget plus trying to second guess what planters will sell well. I’ve had a friend and my daughter backing me up with my choices so I hope they are what people want.

Meanwhile I keep looking at the frost and wondering whether to go to work today and if I do what shall I do when I get there? Light the fire would be the first priority then feed the cheeky robin who turns up as soon as I open the shed door and hops about waiting for me to throw some crumbs. I’m trying to see if he will feed from my hand, yesterday he took a crumb which was just an inch away so if I’m patient (and he’s hungry enough) he might be brave enough before the winter is done.

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