Lockdown 2: The Cassandra Goad Film & Book Club (And More!): Week 1

More than ever over the last few months many of us have seen life as a mosaic - a mosaic of colours of the seasons; a mosaic of emotions - highs and lows; a mosaic of experiences and new learning.

A mosaic of the world, the people, the animals and flora, and how it is all so inextricably linked, so near and sometimes so far. More than ever we all need a PLAN to get through this new lockdown and an ongoing plan to get us through the winter months to come. Having a plan makes the days and weeks ahead exciting and full of projects, stops us waking up wondering what to do and makes sure that when we catch up with friends and family there is plenty to tell them about!

High on the list of your plan should be the GARDEN - now is the time to plant daffodils in your pots together with some alliums and tulips for bursts of spring colour from March to May 2021. If your pots need disguising, then wrap them in some sacking securely tied with string. I have planted hundreds of daffodils these last weeks and filled pots around the house with purple, orange and pink parrot tulips - a burst of colour from March onwards.

I always sketch out a plan for my pots and put this together with the bulbs in a box so I don't mix them up.

Griselda Kerr has given us some useful gardening tips, she is the author of The Apprehensive Gardener - a wonderful book that you can have signed and dedicated to the recipient (includes p & p) for £20 - what a nice Christmas present - for the new or apprehensive gardener! For a treat for your eyes find her on Instagram @griselda.kerr here.

Griselda's gardening tips for November:

- Plant tulips! It is just the right time to do this.

- Plant bare-root roses, fruit bushes, hedging plants, deciduous trees and shrubs - the perfect time is November

- Plant hardy annuals that can go outside when germinated (throw a fleece over them if it becomes seriously cold).

- When planting new trees, stake against wind rock - put the stake in the planting hole, on the prevailing wind side so the wind hits the stake before the tree.

- Cut the grass as short as possible without actually scalping it, where bulbs are going to appear next spring - then you will see them to their best advantage.

- Put grit around plants that hate winter wet - like alpines.

- Put containers and pots on feet - pottery feet or bricks - anything to raise them off the ground before they freeze.

- Put grease bands around fruit trees to keep off winter moth.

- Finish dividing perennials that flower in the first half of the year - late flowerers like asters are done better in the spring.

- Gather leaves into a wire cage, the bigger the better or large sack with holes in it to make leaf mulch - a sprinkle of lawn cuttings will help it along.

- Add some bone meal to a mulch of garden compost and fork it in gently around the roots of the box, clearing all the debris out first.

Equally high on the plan list should be HEALTH and EXERCISE - I like to start the day with a good half an hour or so of exercise. It's still dark outside when I start so I keep the curtains drawn, and by the time I get to work after my ginger or beetroot shot (Marks and Spencer and Plenish do some nice ones) I am ready for anything that the day throws at me.

EATING well is very important and with more time to prepare food you can hone your culinary skills so when we emerge into the new post covid era you can entertain like never before (having practiced your recipes on your bubble in the meantime too). I am loving my Tagine (the recipe I followed is one of Emile Henry's; http://www.emilehenry.com/en/), filling it on Sunday evening with delicious vegetables and maybe a little partridge on the top. And don't forget your vitamin D spray...

Spindle berries are ablaze right now in the hedgerows. Bright vivid pink berries hide tiny orange seeds inside them that the birds love to steal as the cold weather approaches. They are the inspiration behind my pink tourmaline and orange fire opal Qin and Han earrings and for a 'Spindle Berry loving' friend, I made a bespoke brooch set with pink Rhodocrosite carved berries and orange cornelian seeds. If you haven't any in your hedgerows or your garden, go to the RHS plant finder: rhs.org.uk/findaplant and read the article in the Garden magazine this month by Barry Clarke and order some for yourself (and why not for a friend too).

Do please send me your book and film suggestions and more so we can share them as the weeks go by.

Onwards...

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