Tag Archives: Planning

Gardening in January: Who’s up for some fresh air?

If there’s something about bad timing, it’s gardening in January for those who live in Northern Europe as I do.

The weather varies from being cold to being frosty. It rains a lot, at least in this part of Holland. The wind is ferocious. In fact, my flight back to the Netherlands from England just last week was delayed because of the strong wind. If a mighty plane has a problem landing, what are the chances the slender spring onions have?

Regardless of the harsh conditions, it’s time I tended to my garden. I have more energy now, being in the second trimester, so my balcony garden deserves some care and love.

And indeed, there are things you can do in January:

Clean pots for the spring

As we went away for a month, a lot of my plants died. It’s sad but nothing else I could do but to muster the courage and stayed out on the balcony for an hour to tidy up the loose ends.

Here’s the result:


Only then had I realised how many pots I have been hoarding.


Prune back

As I didn’t cut back all my perennial plants in late autumn, it became a job for January.

Here are my chilli plants with the few green leaves:


Fill your nut holder with nuts for hungry birds

You are feeling blue in January as the holiday has finished over but the dark days haven’t. I got it, but do you know that the birds have it worse? It’s a tough time for them to find food so be kind and put out some nuts. Their visits to your balcony could well be the highlight of your winter.

Seeds auditing and a sowing plan

I have a Trello board for gardening. It has lists of things to buy, seeds to sow next, seeds in germination, plants to keep indoor and outdoor, etc. I might be a hobby gardener but I surely am a pro-planner 😛

Here are all the seeds I have in my precious box, plenty to get 2018 started.

  • Flowers
    • Bee Mix:
    • Lavatera
    • Marigold
    • Lavender
    • Sunflowers
    • Cornflower
    • Poppy
    • Dropplant
    • More butterfly and bee mix
    • Pansy
  • Herbs
    • Dill
    • Red Basil & Basil
    • Perilla
    • Sage
    • Coriander
  • Vegetables
    • Spinach
    • Thyme
    • Parsley
    • Tatsoi
    • Chards
  • Fruits
    • Cherry Tomato: to sow from Mar to May

    • Jalapeño

None of these seeds can be sold outdoor in January, but I can start with basil and dill, and keep them inside, away from the rain and frost. Besides, my autumn crops of tatsoi, chard and garlic seem to hold themselves well despite my absence, so I am hopeful.

Happy Gardening in 2018, everyone!<<<<


Travelling: Why I stopped planning

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I used to plan my travelling carefully and well ahead because I liked to be in control of as many parts of as many things as possible.

I needed to know where I would sleep at night in an unknown place whether it was a bustling city or a well-hidden river land. A friend of mine once told me something like this: You are a small-looking girl, an easy target. Look where you are going when it’s dark. I never forget the advice. So I like to make sure that I am on the safe side of my travel.

I also liked to know the must-see attractions in a certain historic town or a France-influenced but British-owned island. The old I would map out the walk from the station or my hostel to such attractions. I could only rest assured if I knew how many left turns to take.

The truth is that I got lost (many times) regardless. No matter how carefully I planned, unexpected twist of fate seemed to find me around some dull-looking street corner.

Once I took a 10 days trip on my own from North to South of the UK, from the mainland to an island then back to the mainland. I was on buses, flights, trains, and ferries. All transportation was booked in advance. All tickets and hostel reservations were printed and numbered in date order. Maps were also printed with highlighted routes. I had a smartphone then, but I liked the traditional way. Battery might go flat, but ink stays for a long time. Regardless of my well-thought-through plan and half a forest that I’ve destroyed with all the printed paper, I stumbled. Somehow I managed to book the right bus back on a wrong date. The uptight driver didn’t let me on the only bus that would take me back before nightfall.

I had to spend my last pennies to pay for a different train and took a longer route through a beautiful city called Bath. It was only one extra night, but it got me realise the beauty of go-with-the-flow. I always wanted to see Bath but hadn’t got around to go, till that day. So there was I watching the city of Bath turning in for the evening and its reflection on the river under the magical moon light. It was a full moon  night. I caught myself thinking of the one man who had left the previous moon.

Two months later, I bought a one-way ticket to a faraway foreign land to start the travel of my life with him. For once, I had no plan. I didn’t even have an onward journey ticket, consequently almost failed to get myself on that first flight. I did make it there after two more flights and 24 hours of very little sleep. The important thing was that he made it there as well.

Sometimes when you walk with your eyes close and your heart wide open, you can find the best gift of life. Undoubtedly, there are bumps on the road. But it’s often on bumpy roads the most interesting stories of your life start. I know I have one written in the Penang island.

I am going on our next adventure in a few days. Instead of taking the map out, I am writing this to remind me of being spontaneous and enjoy surprising gifts that life brings.

Happy Travelling, fellows!