Winter Warmer

Reading time 4 minutes

I’ve had a cough or a cold for nearly six weeks now, which has severely curtailed the amount of gardening I’ve been able to do. Consequently I feel desperately unhealthy and just a little bit sorry for myself. Him Indoors, who says I am incapable of relaxation and despairs of the restless patient I am, declared that I was not allowed out in the garden this weekend. “Those are the rules” he said, firmly, “sit down and do nothing for a day, it will do you good”. I coughed back pathetically, too exhausted to argue. Feeling rather like a child that’s been told to stand in the corner, I searched for the loop-hole in “the rules”. “Not allowed …… out …… in the garden ….. this weekend”. Hmmmm, let’s think. No mention of staying indoors …. and is the greenhouse technically in the garden, or sovereign territory? The alternative being the Archers Omnibus I was prepared to do anything to get out in the fresh air.

With Him Indoors on his Sunday morning bike ride I snuck out to Polegate Cottage, quietly sliding the greenhouse door to one side, and entered the calm, cosy world inside. The roof ventilator was already open, the first time I’ve noticed that happen since November. The faintest scent of paperwhite narcissi, their flowers just beginning to unfold, mingled with cyclamen, geranium and damp compost. There is surely nothing more comforting on a cold winter’s day than being sheltered under glass and surrounded by leaves and flowers. Unlike the hardy sorts outside these plants are utterly dependent on me for water, food and maintenance. But I’ve been treating them mean. Being uncertain about the long-term future of the greenhouse I have chosen not to heat it this winter and to see what happens. So far fuchsias, echiums, aeoniums and begonias are looking pretty chipper, whilst the first sweet peas are beginning to poke out of their plastic pots. In a few weeks I should have quite a display of tazetta narcissi, having planted four different varieties in the autumn.

Of course it was too much to think that my cunning plan would go undiscovered. I was spied, without my coat and scarf (shock-horror), and ordered back indoors. I allowed myself a little smile when it dawned on me that the only time I stopped coughing and sneezing all morning was during my 30 minute sojourn in the greenhouse. More proof, if it were needed, that gardening and plants are nature’s best tonics.

Greenhouse, Polegate Cottage,February 2016

Categories: Bulbs, Flowers, Musings, Plants

Posted by The Frustrated Gardener

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28 comments On "Winter Warmer"

  1. Yes, do hope you feel better soon. I’ve been enjoying some insanely beautiful weather (70s and sunny) to putter in our small front yard garden. I scattered a bunch of California poppy and blue flax seeds (hope some germinate) and have been pruning and repotting. I always feel better when I’m in the garden. 🙂 – Karen

    1. Californian poppies are among my all time favourite flowers. Those insanely bright flowers and glowing petals have no rivals. I could grow them when our garden was brand new and very open, but now it’s too shady. You enjoy your lovely weather, I am not remotely envious 😉 Thanks for the good wishes. Dan

  2. This ‘thing’ whatever its name is sure does cling. I’ve never seen anything that just won’t go away. Here’s to yours getting out of town soon. And, yes, there is nothing like smelling warm soil and seeing growing plants. I went to our local greenhouse yesterday, bought a few seed packets, picked up a couple things on sale, and just enjoyed myself immensely. Since we received 10″ of heavy wet snow on Friday and have 6″ more forecasted for tomorrow that is all I can do – visit the local greenhouse to get my gardening fix. 🙂

    1. That sounds very therapeutic Judy. We are just enduring the tail-end of yet another storm that’s come across the Atlantic (probably the one that dropped all the snow on Friday) so more floods and gale-force winds. I have decided to stay at home for the day and kick this thing into touch once and for all. So far, it seems to be working. Thank you for the good wishes, they are appreciated 🙂

  3. I planted primulas outside my front door . Do you think that’ll cure my 6 week old cough… They look pretty anyway so it was worth it. Love these blogs Dan.

    1. A fellow cougher! It’s not been fun has it? I believe primula can be a cure for rheumatism and nervous headaches, but not sure about coughs. The flowers can also be made into wine, which might be most effective! If they are cheering you up then you are feeling positive and in the best place to beat those bugs 🙂

  4. I’m a great believer in horticultural therapy for almost anything…glad to hear you were cough free for you brief greenhouse potter! It sounds like you are looking after all the tender plants well they look really healthy, thanks for mentioning sweet peas, I had totally forgotten to buy and plant some seeds…can’t have summer without them! Hope you are feeling better soon…

    1. Yes, the plants are in health rather than rude health, and the greenhouse is all a bit cobbled together, but it seems to be doing the trick. The greenhouse in my head is less a practical greenhouse and more a display conservatory where all the plants are perfect and on show. In my greenhouse the main objective is survival. Quite a lot of my sweet pea shoots have been nibbled so I am going to be planting more over the next couple of weeks. Good luck with yours Anne.

  5. You probably have plenty of advice, along with admonishment, but when I’m sick I add an avocado to my diet, because it’s filled with Vitamin C, other nutrients, and lots of healthy fat (botanically, it’s a giant berry). Avocado is good in a salad or layered on sandwiches, but I prefer to eat it from its rind with a squeeze of lemon juice and sprinkle of salt.

  6. You must be chomping at the bit! I agree gardening cures most things, also a decent pasty is a wonderful tonic. However the best tonic is one with gin in it 🙂 get better very very soon xxxx

  7. Good for you. The greenhouse most definitely is NOT outside.
    Confined to the house by west country weather I’m beginning to feel much the same. It’s time to throw off some of the cobwebs I think. If you see someone blown past on the wind would you stop her please before she gets to France? Many thanks.

      1. Laughing! Hope you are feeling better. Have you heard the health adage that once you feel better, it’s good to rest another 2 days. Sometimes I think that idea was created by folks who wanted an extra 2 days home from work to read (and garden) — that would be me — but there may be some truth to it.

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