These leeks at Regents Park Allotment were definitely frozen this morning. It feels like we have fast forwarded to February. Only a week ago I was at Wisley, marvelling at how mild the weather was. But after that spell of warmish autumn days that lulled a few bulbs into poking some leaves above the soil and made the autumn leaves sing against blue skies, we are now in deepest winter chill, even in central London.
I went to frosty Regents Park this moring for an introduction to permaculture course organised by Sustain. As a complete novice, I learned that there is more to it than the much talked about forest gardening. Trainer Stefan told us that it is first and foremost a 'set of thinking tools' - more about how you live your life than what you grow in your garden. That's all very well, but I am suspicious of any set of principles that 'must be adhered to' - something to do with a Catholic upbringing I suspect. But as a method of getting the most out of a small growing space, I will overlook the quasi-religious rulebook and I will read more.
These hard frosts are very unusual for central London, especially in November and I fear for my echium which was very belatedly wrapped in fleece. Luckily my last 95 bulbs have been planted, two rows of Feltham First peas have gone in at the allotment and hopefully the ground will unfreeze in time to plant some garlic.
The days are excruciatingly short and cold and it really is time to retreat indoors - fires and cakes and some time to pore over seed catalogues and catch up on all those gardening books. And then, surely it will be nearly spring again?