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  • sarahnoonan12


Hello friends new and old,

A new year has been welcomed since I last spoke to you. January has been and gone, and with it the gloomy skies and dark days have begun to brighten and lenghten.

After a busy Christmas period I took a couple of weeks to follow in the footsteps of nature and hibernate. To rest, relax and rejuvenate for the year ahead . Lately nature has begun to wiggle her toes and wake from her winter rest. So I too must pull on the wellies and get back into the garden.

I begin each morning these days with a stroll about the woodland garden to see which hardy little bulb has arisen from its earthly slumber that morning . First to peep were the snowdrops , so delicate and elegant , yet so hardy. A little miracle on the cold January days. Then….. BAM…. like fireworks there is an explosion of color as the crocus appear. Cadburys bar purple, egg yoke yellow and mackerel silver . Next are the miniature daffodils, tete a tete , nodding their heads in sunny agreement, that “yes” spring is definitely upon us. Blue muscari and anemones are next to appear. Carpets of Chionodoxa, and bluebells are yet to come.


I have spent the past month trying to get on top of the jobs that have been put on the long finger for a long long time. We have installed an automatic irrigation system in the polytunnels. After a year of lugging watering cans for two hours each day it is a very welcome addition. I have also planted some new shrubs and mulched all the herbaceous borders ready for the growing season. Next on the list is a new cut flower garden.

On the Table

We continue to eat from the garden, and the hardy spring days work up quite the appetite. One of our favorite meals is a filo pie, like the traditional greek dish Spanakopita except I use chard and kale instead of spinach.


1 pack filo pastry


400g mix of chard and kale mid ribs removed and chopped

3 leeks chopped

2 cloves of garlic chopped finely

1 onion finely chopped

2 eggs beaten

300g feta

Zest of 1 lemon

100g parmesan

A handful of dill and /or parsley

  • Heat the oven to 180 C.

  • Melt a generous knob of butter in a pan and add the onion. Sweat the onion for 10 min until soft. Then add the chopped leeks and cook for a further 10 min. Add the garlic and cook for 2 min.

  • In a large pan, wilt the chard and kale with a drop of water until soft. Then put in a colander and with your hands squeeze as much water as possible out of it . Add to the onions mix and allow to cool.

  • Once cool add the eggs, cheeses, lemon zest and herbs. Season and mix well . Now it's time to assemble the pie.

  • Brushing each sheet of filo with melted butter as you go, layer up the pastry in the base of an ovenproof dish so that it comes up the sides, leaving enough pastry hanging over the sides to fold over and encase the filling.

  • Spread the filling evenly over the pastry and bring up the sides of the filo to enclose the filling. Brush top with more melted butter. Bake for 40-45 min until nice and golden.

Tales from the Garden

There is a sense of anticipation this time of year. A slight restlessness to get going, get sowing. But we instead must wait and be mindful of the cool temperatures and short day lenght. January was spent at my desk planning for the year ahead. Organization is key if I am not to be overwhelmed by mountains of seed packets, potting on and planting out by mid April .

I am a one woman show so I have to be organised with my sowing times and quantities. I also take this time to dream of color combinations, and new varieties I would like to try.

I mark my birthday, the 12th February , each year with my first sowing of the year of one of my favorite tomatoes. From this point on in the calendar the light levels have increased sufficiently to think about sowing . We have a little greenhouse we built during lockdown from recycled materials. Inside we have a heated propagation bench which keeps the little seeds warm and cosy as they begin to germinate. If you would like to give sowing tomatoes a go but don't have a greenhouse, start your them off on a sunny windowsill. It is food for the soul to see the tiny seedlings pop up. It never fails to amaze me that this tiny seed will reach 6ft tall come summer. My favorite variety and to be honest I think any tomato growers favorite is Sungold. Other seeds in your polytunnel to sow now include oriental mustards for salads , sweet peas and all hardy annual flowers . My main seed sowing of the field crops will begin in March. And I can't wait!!!

Finally I would like to say a big thank you to the people of Foxford who have really supported my business this Valentines day. I never had so many men knocking on my door! Mothers day is just around the corner .I will have some ready made wreaths and bouquets on my website or if you would like a custom order drop me an email or DM.

Happy Gardening


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