Well finally we got some snow. It had missed us and snowed to the north and the south of us but finally down in came. We had a good 3 maybe 4″ in the end. Prompting endless photos of snowy scenes
The snowball fights and twilight sledging in a deserted field were such a welcome relief from the bordem and monotony of lock down. We smiled all weekend.
It christened my new trees nicely. I treated myself to a Prunus mume ‘Beni- Chidori’ a japanese apricot. I dont expect any apricots but I fell in love with the blossom on this tree at the start if my horticultural journey 16 years ago and finally bit the bullet. The blossom is so simple and so vivid. It arrived with buds on it that are starting to swell enticingly. I don’t expect it too be long before it is out and pictures will be taken.
Attracting wildlife into your garden is essential for the balance of goodies and baddies on your plot which is a key to success in gardening. I have been trying very hard for the last couple of years to extend the wildlife that visits our garden. My first date with, my now, fiance was,shovelling well rotted manure into the two raised beds that were the only signs of life in the paved back garden. I think the attempt at growing veg was a cunning rouse, which was ultimately successful. After trying his hand at veg growing he has now, graduated to his first allotment. a sanctaury during lockdown and veggies and fresh air to boot.
This is probably for the best as over the last 2 years I have been steadily taking over more of the beds with more floriferous plants and shrubs. Being a plantaholic it was inevitable. I have also taken up more slabs to create borders and as I stare out of the window in between writing, watching the snow melt away in the rain, I am trying to work out which slabs can go this year .
But back to the wildlife. For christmas this year we bought a bird feeder, one with the weight response ledges to it, so if anything heavy lands on it such as a squirrel, pigeon or crow they cannot acess the food. we promptly hung it in the boder close to next doors Cherry tree and near my Miscanthus caberet and nothing happened. I was excepting it take a week or so for the birs to get used to it and to stop it smelling like humans but nothing, no visitors at all. So I thought what else could we do to to improve the gardens attractiveness to birds. I had done a lot of single flower and adding lots of purple and blue flowers over the summer, geraniums, verbenas, thalictrums,and the increase in Bees, hoverflys and butterflies had been amazing.
There are no cheap or quick ways to get instant height into your garden though which is, I concluded the way to increase the bird visiotrs to the garden. to give them some height, somehwere to perch and feel safe. there are sevreal shrubs and grasses to provide height more quickly but the problem with starting a garden from scratch is that everything takes a such a frustratingly long time to grow. so to complement my Prunus purchase I have gone very cliche and purchased 3 Betula utilis ‘jaquemontii’ they are 10-12cm girth so they have pure white stems already and I intend to keep them very well pruned so they provide shelter and cover for the birds but do not completely block out next doors light and do not overtake the whole of the borders. more on the pruning of them in the weeks to come. for now, bring on the Big Garden Bird count this wekend and I hope the investment pays off. To add to my wildlife credentials I have also been planting a hedge on the edge of the drive at the front. A mixture of Acer campestre and Viburnum opulus which should look stunning in the autumn and again eventually create some good bird habitat. hopefully this will counteract some of my gulit at buying such big non native trees.
In other news, my 2 years in my care, Amarylis bulb has flowered again and earlier than last year so I am taking this as a victory. it was still a couple of weeks after Christmas but that is better than the two months it was late last year. Heres hoping next year I can get it to flower on Christmas Day. It was really difficlt to get it to die off. I fed it after floweing and then left it to dry out and die off for June and July but I had to cut the last years growth off it, still green, even afte two months of no water before replanting it. So I need to work harder ad inducing a dormant period this summer.
the house is also full of the scent of Hyacinths. I know everyone says it from Montdy Don to all the garden centres but it is true those few minutes of effort in October, November do reap phsycological rewards that far out value the price of the bulbs and compost. I have daffodils in pots outside waiting their turn to come inside once the hyacinths are over to eak out the dispaly before the bulbs in the garden take over. I am a little mortified that I ruined soe of the allium bulbs I planted in the boder last Autumn. I forgot about them when planting the trees. It does pay to label these things at least for the first couple of years while you get the positions in your head. Anyway thatls it from me for now.
I hope you have pruned your wisterias and chopped down your grasses, ordered your seeds and are ready for the assult on the Feburary jobs list just as soon as the rain stops for long enough. I am off to contemplate just how long it would take to harvest 250g of dandelion leaves. I had a cop of The Urban Forager by wross Lawrence for Christmas and was intrigued y the Danelion Saag Aloo recipe until I thought about just how many dandelion leaves that was. Maybe next week. Happy Days in the Garden x