November started off as a riot of colour in the garden and we were so happy and thankful to still be gathering the harvest. Our Ocas, Oxalis tuberosa, had a great year and we still have quite a few to harvest. This South American tuber is very versatile and has the benefit of not being affected by blight. It tastes slightly lemony and is wonderful drizzled with olive oil and roasted in the oven along with some kale, carrots, onions and rosemary from the garden.
Early in the month we also took the time to visit a favourite spot on the banks of the local river. The bog is close by and it is a lovely peaceful place for a stroll at any time of year but particularly lovely in the autumn sunshine.
We were also very lucky to still have berries and greens for our smoothies at the start of the month. All we added from the kitchen were a few nuts. Now as we have moved into December we have to rely on berries from the freezer but we still have lots of lovely kale and plantain in the garden, perfect for a winter vitamin boost.
Half way through the month the weather turned colder with quite a few frosty mornings. It brought the natural year into a new phase, a time for rest and recuperation and a time to plan dream and prepare for next year, when everything will burst into growth again. Our circle looked lovely in the early morning frost and you can start to see some structure where up until recently was only a field of buttercups.
You might remember this post about roses from long ago and early winter is a great time to plant a few bare-root specimens. So we ordered some very old roses from our favourite plant supplier in Ireland, Future forests in Cork. We have yet to visit their whimsical nursery but ordering by mail is the next best thing and most of our trees and some shrubs have made the journey from Cork before being firmly planted in the Roscommon soil. They have a wonderful selection of bare root plants that have the benefit of fitting into a very small package and growing rapidly once planted. We have found that putting in small whips and mulching them is far more effective than buying larger trees in pots. The whips establish faster and often take over their potted counterparts after a couple of years. We are now awaiting our new rosy arrivals and in the meantime we admire the beautiful buds of New Dawn, down by the stream.
In December we are planning to build a willow fence to support our Swiss spearmint so it does not flop out across the gravel path in late summer. We are also working to finish our new conservatory and hopefully we will be able to sit down in there by the end of the month with a glass of wine or a cup of tea. Time will tell…