The winter of the half Havisham

So far this has been a mild winter here in the mild middle. We have had a couple of frosty nights, but rarely consecutively.  Several times I have been thinking I should fleece the greenhouse, but it has never quite happened as the temperature has risen again time and time again.

Then, at last, the temperature has taken a definite drop.  The other morning there was a layer of snow on the car, none on the ground, but just cold enough for it to linger on the cold metal.  It has been dryly cold these last few days.  There has been a crispness to the air that I enjoy in the winter.  Damp cold is sombre and seeps into the bones, whereas dry cold days are perfect for getting out and doing things.
The weekend arrived and I went out to the greenhouse to commence fleecing.  The greenhouse is much tidier these days after a serious summer clear-out (is it? you say, crikey what was it like before.....)  I have had some plants sheltering in there since October.  These are the precious plants I know need some cosseting to get through the winter.  They are not as the tender as the ones that have to come into the conservatory as I do not heat the greenhouse; but they do need some help to get through the deep cold.

I was struck as I started to move plants around to make them huddle for warmth, that I had considerably fewer than I have huddled in previous years.
This photograph from December 2014 shows the usual state of fleecing.  I have always likened this to being visited by Miss Havisham.  Now I know that Dickens did not write of her visiting greenhouses and fleecing them in a philanthropic manner.  Yet I think if Miss Havisham did have a greenhouse this is what it would look like, every day.  I imagine her whirling with fleece spreading out from her open arms, like she is spreading winter over everything.  Even as I write this I realise all these years I clearly think she is related to the White Witch in the Narnia stories.  The principle of both is pretty much the same:  they create a controlled environment where everything stops apart from what they allow.  I am not claiming the same principle when I am fleecing.  I am protecting and caring for 'my precious' plants (enter Gollum, stage left....)

Back to reality and another thing to note is that this year I am fleecing the greenhouse a good six weeks later than usual.  I checked back in my garden journal and I routinely seem to do this mid to late November when usually the first deep frosts arrive.  I am just hoping that this does not mean we get a long elongated winter.
I fleeced up the bottom half of the greenhouse, utilising the short bamboo stick that is invaluable to poking around the back and making sure that all is tucked in.  This is very much a 'going to sleep' process in my mind.  I would make shushing soothing noises to the plants as I do this and I would say sleep well to them, but that would be silly wouldn't it.......

As I finished the fleecing and looked back I thought to myself, this is the year of the half-Havisham.  The greenhouse is not as fully fleeced as usual so this must be the term for it.

Sleep well my pretties (Wicked Witch of the West is that you?), I will wake you the other side of spring.