Posts tagged Seasonal Living
A Seasonal Year

Back at the start of December, I started a new hashtag on Instagram - #aseasonaldecember. It started with a longing to curate a set of images that embodied the natural changes in the month, images that celebrated seasonal outings and inspired others to live more wholeheartedly; it worked perfected. If you haven't seen the hashtag, there are some wonderful images to explore, and I've featured some of my favourites above.

To continue into the new year, I've decided to use a new hashtag with similar grounding - #aseasonalyear. Think documenting changes in the seasons in a very personal way, by telling stories through images and words that inspire and cheer others as we wander through the next twelve months.

I'd love for you to join in, if you like? In the mean time, wishing you a wonderful start to 2017.


June is... gorging on the soft flesh of ripe strawberries, al-fresco cooking, the crackle of midsummer bonfires, thundery showers, and the humming of bees.

Did you know? At one time the days from the 23rd to the 29th of June were all considered as 'midsummer festival', whereas now we tend to see Midsummer's Day as the 24th of June. According to John Stow, in London in the 1590s, doors would have been festooned with greenery: from white lilies to long fennel and green birch. Bonfires were the traditional way to celebrate the season, intended to bring peace and encourage neighbours to converse, and also to purify the air. As June is often the month we migrate outside (in the UK at least), it seems fitting to make time to celebrate the height of summer and nature's bounteous offerings. This year I'm hoping to revive the custom of a week's worth of revelry, with a midsummer bonfire, and green door decorations: will you join me?

Dates for your diary: The summer solstice - or the longest day - marks the turn of the year once again, and falls on Sunday 21st June. A precursor to midsummer, this final week of June means the daylight remains until past 10pm, so make the most of the light before it begins to slip away again.

June in words:

The bonny month of June is crowned With the sweet scarlet rose; The groves and meadows all around With lovely pleasure flows.

(Cornish Midsummer Bonfire Song)

Things to do at home and in the garden:

  • Leave part of your garden to grow wild. As a nation of lawn trimmers, we get used to neatly mown grass and not a lot else, but just leaving a small part, or the edges of your garden, to grow wild, will enable you to help a menagerie of tiny wildlife. Wild flowers are integral to our landscape (see here for more on this) and are an essential source of nectar for honey bees (something which we are passionate about with our newly acquired hive!), but so often we hack them down and only admire from afar. This year, make them a priority in your outdoor space.
  • Take part in 30 Days Wild. A new scheme for 2015, the plan is for everyone to make room for nature this June - no matter where you are or how busy your life! With tons of ideas for Random Acts of Wildness - record the birds singing for your ringtone, make a hedgerow brew and wild exercise to name just three - it's a fantastic way to introduce nature into your everyday routine without it becoming too onerous. Click here to sign up and receive the free welcome pack.
  • It's not too late to start growing some veg. For an easy salad, plant lettuce and radish seeds straight into the ground or in a pot. If you're looking for something more substantial, chard is easy to grow, looks wonderful on your plate (rainbow-coloured stalks!) and lasts right through the summer and well into autumn. Get planting.

Be creative: If you're thinking of celebrating midsummer, then you definitely need to try your hand at Midsummer Cushions - all explained in this month's letter for subscribers.

What is Seasonal Living?

If you looked out of the window now, I’m sure you’d see some indication of what season it currently is. Perhaps a cyclone of leaves is whirling its way down the street, shimmering gold, scarlet and ochre and rustling against the pavement? Or maybe your window’s already open and there’s a faint hum and the scent of freshly mown grass? Wherever you are in the world, whether nature’s year is drawing to a close or just beginning, change is always afoot, and while the animal and natural world adapt and evolve accordingly, as humans we often dismiss these transformations as irrelevant and unimportant.

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”

(Rachel Carson)

Seasonal living is all about recapturing this evolution, taking care to notice the delicate changes in our environment and adjusting the way we live in response. For me seasonal living is not just an ethos or an idea I return to every once in a while, but a way of life. When you live by the seasons, life is simple and seems to boast a deeper sense of purpose; if nature has existed in this way for thousands of years, then why shouldn’t we? Instead of resisting what we see as complications and inconveniences – the heavy snows in winter or the sticky heat of those few summer days, for example – it’s much less complex to simply embrace the weather and seasonal patterns we are presented with.

Implenting easy steps to create a seasonal life

If you’re on board with the concept, then implementing steps to create and live a more seasonal life is the easy part. Start slowly and adjust to the temperature and weather outside. Breathe in the air deeply and really take in your surroundings, noticing the sounds and smells of the season. Buy vegetables from your local farm and revel in the knowledge that you’re not only supporting local business, but you’re also eating fresh produce that hasn’t been shipped miles and miles just for you. When May arrives, eat all the asparagus you can manage for the month. In June, gorge on strawberries until you can take no more. Make the most of what’s growing in the fields around you or in backyards throughout the country and trust that nature knows what she’s doing when summer ends and so do the fresh tomatoes.

Ready for more?

Try seasonal activities and spend your time wisely. Once the nights start to draw out in the spring, take long evening walks and watch as the sun’s stretched fingers turn everything they touch a golden hue. Forget the oven and take the kitchen outside on those long, lingering, balmy summer nights. As the cusp of autumn arrives, start preparing for the months ahead by preserving summer surplus, foraging for berries and storing squashes. Finally, as winter encroaches, curl up and learn a new craft whilst indulging in hot drinks and hibernating under layers of blankets.

While seasonal living might seem like a chore to some, for me following the rhythm of nature feels like returning to an ancient and traditional cycle; it makes me feel calm and still and yet at the same time so voraciously full of life.


May is... the start of stretched out golden evenings, blossom petals fluttering like snowflakes, the drawing to a close of the 'hungry gap', and floral crowns.

Did you know? May should be seen as a time of great celebration, as it was traditionally a recognition of the end of the harsh winter months, and a nod to the unfurling of summer.

Dates for your diary: May Day (1st) is celebrated in villages and towns across the country, so get the maypoles out, decorate your flower garlands, and get ready for some morris dancing. Time-honoured British customs can be seen as eccentric in our modern age, so buck the trend and get involved with your local community! On the 8th, festoon your garden with bunting and play a few big band tunes to celebrate the 70th anniversary of VE Day. For ideas on how to honour the occasion, head over here.

May in words: 

"The world's favourite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May." 

(Edwin Way Teal)

Things to do at home and in the garden:

  • Plant lettuce seeds (in pots or modules) every couple of weeks for spread-out growth.
  • Scatter radish seeds into a flat tray and watch them sprout before your very eyes. See if you can resist eating until they're fully grow; I bet you can't.
  • Plan ahead for autumn and get those squash, courgette and pumpkin seeds sown. One small pot per seed, ideally in a greenhouse or polytunnel.
  • If your grass is looking a little tired, scatter some seed now the days are warming through (this is most definitely on my to-do list).
  • Now the warm weather is well and truly on the horizon, take the time to wash your windows. I use a mix of distilled white vinegar and water, a cloth, and some newspaper.

Be creative: if you haven't made a spring wreath yet, there's still time. For an easy tutorial head over here.