Thursday, 25 January 2007

winter aconites and snowdrops

Winter aconites are flowering in the garden and have done since the first week in January; I had thought this was rather early but looking at my gardening notes for 1993 I found that they were also out then. Snowdrops are in flower too, but this week of cold weather will hold them back a bit. I am glad of the frosty nights which are a natural part of winter but also glad that I had watched the forecast and thoroughly fleeced the fig and myrtles in the walled garden.
The nuts and seeds are crowded with birds getting food to keep the cold at bay; blue, great and coal tits, robin and dunnock foraging underneath and the splendid vivid colours of greater spotted woodpecker and goldfinch. A bird count is updated each year and is on display in the shop, showing what birds frequent the garden in each month. The teasels are left standing as long as possible for the goldfinches to extract their seeds (the downside is the plethora of teasel seedlings in the borders!) but I cut those down after the last gales had battered them about. The paths are littered with rose hips brought down in the high winds - a beautiful sight, their brilliant orange-red shapes jewelling the grey of the gravel paths. I am keeping a close eye on the tulip beds to make sure the bulbs are not dug up by pheasants again this year. They do so much damage with their large feet and claws, knocking over plants in their pots in the sales area and scratching around. Once we are open and there are visitors in the garden, most of the pheasants move off although there is always one each year that raises a brood of chicks, much to the delight of the visitors!

1 comment:

Rowan said...

I've just discovered your blog and look forward to reading about the garden through the seasons. You are lucky to have winter aconites, they are a plant I've never been able to get established in my garden here. I haven't tried them in the green though so must try and find a source as I think that may be the problem.