January cold desolate

: Christina Georgina Rossetti

January cold desolate;
February all dripping wet;
March wind ranges;
April changes;
Birds sing in tune
To flowers of May,
And sunny June
Brings longest day;
In scorched July
The storm-clouds fly
Lightning-torn;
August bears corn,
September fruit;
In rough October
Earth must disrobe her;
Stars fall and shoot
In keen November;
And night is long
And cold is strong
In bleak December.

Christina Georgina Rossetti

Orchard Trees, January

: Richard Wilbur

It’s not the case, though some might wish it so
Who from a window watch the blizzard blow

White riot through their branches vague and stark,
That they keep snug beneath their pelted bark.

They take affliction in until it jells
To crystal ice between their frozen cells,

And each of them is inwardly a vault
Of jewels rigorous and free of fault,

Unglimpsed until in May it gently bears
A sudden crop of green-pronged solitaires.

Richard Wilbur

A Prayer In Spring

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

Robert Frost

Birds At Winter Nightfall (Triolet)

: Thomas Hardy

Around the house the flakes fly faster,
And all the berries now are gone
From holly and cotoneaster
Around the house. The flakes fly!–faster
Shutting indoors that crumb-outcaster
We used to see upon the lawn
Around the house. The flakes fly faster,
And all the berries now are gone!

Thomas Hardy

Winter Promises

: Marge Piercy

Tomatoes rosy as perfect baby’s buttocks,
eggplants glossy as waxed fenders,
purple neon flawless glistening
peppers, pole beans fecund and fast
growing as Jack’s Viagra-sped stalk,
big as truck tire zinnias that mildew
will never wilt, roses weighing down
a bush never touched by black spot,
brave little fruit trees shouldering up
their spotless ornaments of glass fruit:

I lie on the couch under a blanket
of seed catalogs ordering far
too much. Sleet slides down
the windows, a wind edged
with ice knifes through every crack.
Lie to me, sweet garden-mongers:
I want to believe every promise,
to trust in five pound tomatoes
and dahlias brighter than the sun
that was eaten by frost last week.

Marge Piercy

Winter Trees

: William Carlos Williams

All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

William Carlos Williams

Approach of Winter

: William Carlos Williams

The half-stripped trees
struck by a wind together,
bending all,
the leaves flutter drily
and refuse to let go
or driven like hail
stream bitterly out to one side
and fall
where the salvias, hard carmine–
like no leaf that ever was–
edge the bare garden.

William Carlos Williams

Good uns

Here are some vegetable varieties that do well here. Please give us your own favourites with a few words saying why you like them.

VegetableVarietyQualitiesAuthor
CabbageGreyhoundTasty and trouble-free cabbage for early summerPeter Byass
CabbageMarner White StoringHuge dense round heads that stand well through the winterPeter Byass
KaleNero di ToscanaFairly hardy - delicious dark green leaves late summer and autumnJoe Foster
KalePentland BrigVery hardy - pick leaves in autumn and winter and sprouting shoots in springJoe Foster
OnionCenturionRound, good cropper, keeps well in storePeter Copeland
PotatoCharlotte2nd early, ready before blight and slugs hit, salad typeJoe Foster
PotatoJazzy2nd early, ready before blight and slugs hit, salad type. Better eelworm resistance than CharlotteJoe Foster
PotatoHarmony2nd early, some blight resistanceJenny Ward
PotatoKestrel2nd early, ready before blight and slugs hit, delicious baked or mashed and a good cropperJoe Foster
PotatoNadine2nd early, some blight resistanceJenny Ward
PotatoNicolaEarly main crop, salad variety, some blight resistanceJenny Ward
PotatoRecordMain crop, floury, some blight resistanceJenny Ward
PotatoRemarkaEarly main crop, some blight resistanceJenny Ward
PotatoSanteMain crop, some blight resistanceJenny Ward
PotatoSarpo AxonaLate, good blight and slug resistance, good cropper and keeperJoe Foster
PotatoSarpo MiraLate, good blight and slug resistance, good cropper and keeperJoe Foster