It seems that the words of the Christmas Carol ” In the bleak midwinter” are a bit too real for comfort.
We have had the frosty wind moaning, the earth as hard as iron, no gardening can be done when it is like this.Water is like a stone – the birdbath has to be defrosted each morning and the pond is frozen over. Snow is falling, snow on snow, and on ice as well – yes it looks very pretty but the only way out of our village is up a steep hill and it hasn’t been gritted for the last couple of days -are we going to be cut off, just as well the freezer is full!!!
Since the last sprinkling of snow that we had a couple of weeks ago I have been able to get into the garden and prepare most of the shady borders and the little woodland ready for the snowdrops and hellebores, which will be flowering, hopefully, in six weeks time.
One of our hellebores is flowering already, but most of them have their large buds waiting at ground level. Preparing all these borders means clearing away all the leaves, tidying up the dead stems and returning a mulch of leaf mould round everything Why do we do this , because the layer of leaves is so thick that we can’t see the snowdrops. One year I wondered where all my snowdrops had gone, I looked under the blanket of leaves, and there they were. The leaves had risen up on top of the snowdrops as they had grown and were hiding them all.
At the moment the woodland has thick snow covering anything that was rashly thinking that flowering time had arrived.
At least now with snow everywhere we can’t see the wretched molehills! We noticed one good thing about the molehills just before this lot of snow arrived, when we looked out of the window one day, we found we had a snipe in the garden, probing the molehills with its long beak, looking for food – pity it didn’t find the mole ! These birds are usually found in marshy areas but obviously these areas must be frozen solid at the moment. The bird must have been flying overhead and decided that our molehills were the next best thing.!
And of course a bonus of the snow is that it hides any weeds that I havn’t had time to clear.
This is another snow cloud coming towards us and there is more snow forecast for tonight. We will just have to wait and see how much more we get and hope that we will be able to get out tomorrow.
It is only the shady borders that we tidy at this time of year. The sunny borders still have their old stems and flower heads in place for the insects to overwinter in and all the fallen leaves are still in place. These borders will be cleared and tidied sometime in the spring, ready for when they are flowering once more.
The red berries on the purple berberis hadn’t been touched until now. Today, every time we look out of the window we see either thrushes or blackbirds gorging themselves on them. How sensible of them to leave them for when the weather is really bad and they can’t find their usual food.
On Christmas Eve , we noticed that a few Redwings and Fieldfares had arrived to join the local birds and were now fighting for the berberis berries. The bush was soon stripped bare.
If anyone is reading this, then I wish you a very Happy Christmas and Happy Gardening in the New Year!!