Imbolc – as the light lengthens, so the cold strengthens

It’s the first of February, the ancient festival of Imbolc, the beginning of the natural world bursting into life in the UK. I got on my bike to cycle into work for the first time this year, and as I travelled along I enjoyed the sound of robins singing, sparrows chirping all around, chaffinches calling and great tits singing.

Nutters, the lot of them – February is also one of the coldest months of the year, and yet there are buds appearing on the trees and the birds are up for it. It doesn’t feel like it due to the cold, but perhaps Spring is really on her way 🙂 It is halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox, and the beginning of the farming year.

6 thoughts on “Imbolc – as the light lengthens, so the cold strengthens”

  1. Noooo – I hope Spring isn’t on it’s way yet, we’re still pruning at the Apple orchard and if it gets warm too soon we’ll run out of time to prune them all!!

    Saying that though, I wouldn’t mind not waking up to a freezing caravan after the wood stove has gone out overnight – it’s been a while since that has happened!! 🙂


  2. I’m with you on hoping the dormant seasons has still got a little to go. We were surveying the forest garden today for a planting session tomorrow and it was brass monkeys, could hardly hold the survey tapes in the wind too.


  3. I’m beginning to find things that are beginning to think it’s time to wake up. The apples are still in the land of Nod, but roses are full of the joys of it. Blackcurrants still firmly dormant, but gooseberries looking perky. Seems a bit premature to me, but the last week has been quite warm.

    Glad to hear you’re a forest gardener, Ermine, would love to hear more on that. I was greatly inspired by Robert Hart.

    Belated Imbolc greetings.


  4. ermine,
    Yea! Very Belated imbolc greetings from here too! 🙂 I learnt something new today: “Imbolc”!

    I am not surprised you are into permaculture guv; 😉 but how does it work? Are you joint owner of a land or is it some public land that you are “guerilla gardening” on?

    From now on weekends will be busy, no? And like Macs above, I am a big fan of Robert Hart too (Among many things, I love his manner of speaking. Grew up amidst Anglo-Indians and that RP/accent is always a pleasant memory to me ;-)). Also, he is more of a Gandhian than those self-appointed “heirs” and “guardians” of Gandhi from his homeland :x! Ha. The Guardian’s obit on the man was very poignant.

    There’s also Harlan Hubbard from the USA that I think greatly of, but I’m sometimes a woolly headed romantic!

    Ciao for now.


  5. @Macs, you’re right – the hawthorns are befinning to show signs of life now and the birds are really going for it.

    DGF is the expert on planting, I know jack about growing stuff, though I am looking at getting the wildlife planting sorted hence propagating hawthorns for the seriously gappy hedgerow and perhaps getting wildflower mix of the birds and insects, that is abotu as far as I go growing-wise. Martin Crawford from Schumacher College near Tones is her muse there – we went round his forest garden. We have some space set out for that, but our climate is different to his, Suffolk is technically classed as arid. We have had two planting days here and here but there’s not much to show as yet, this is the canopy layer. I think this winter (2011/12) we’ll be planting the intermediate layer.


  6. @Surio I have an interest in the land but DGF is the mover and shaker and expert on all the growing stuff. I don’t have skill in that. I stick to the wildlife part because the birds can find somewhere else if I screw it up 🙂


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