New Year and Garden Messy, Weather Wet

We/ve still experiencing mildish weather but a fir amount of rain so getting into the garden has been affected.
However, some jobs have been possible.
The biggest was finally to finish off reducing the height of the pear tree in the middle. It had become overrun with ivy and wasn.t producing any worthwhile fruit. The amount of ivy round the top mad it rather vulnerable to strong winds – especially as we have had gales recently and it is close to my greenhouse.
So the tree is no only around 12ft high after spending a few hours up a ladder trimming branches and the ivy, before finally cutting through the trunk and felling the top section so it is now half the height it was.

Cut down pear tree

Cut down pear tree with holly hedge behind

As a useful by-product, cutting down the tree has improved the amount of direct sunlight reaching the kitchen during the winter – I’m sitting there writing this just now so can vouch for the fact as the sun has (yes it is sunny today) just crossed the zone where the pear tree foliage would have been.

There’s still a lot more hedge pruning to do though especially on the LH side (looking away from the house), which is mostly holly for the section alongside the vegetable garden (see photo above), so is quite a prickly job, and as you can see in the photo is not so much a hedge more a line of small trees!

Elsewhere, the broad beans are well on thanks for the mild weather (see below) – we’ll see whether they survive the cold weather which is bound to come. Also, the garlic is sprouting nicely.

Broad Bean Seedlings

Broad Bean Seedlings

One job I finally got round to the other day while the weather was fine was pruning the fruit bushes, blackcurrants, redcurrants and blueberries. One of the blackcurrant bushes I’ve had in a container had died and I managed to pick up a couple of new plants (‘Ben Lomond’) the other day so I need to get them planted up as soon as possible.

One longstanding task that I have finally started is a major clean-up of the greenhouse – I’ve been promising myself to do it for ages. One thing I’ve uncovered while clearing up the distant corners is that I have many, many more plantpots than I will ever use – like many gardeners I’m loath to throw away pots that new plats and seedlings come in o they just accumulate. I can’t remember the last time I bought any pots, well not small ones anyway. Reluctantly I may have to through a whole lot out – though I haven’t managed to do it yet……

Wildlife

Well the usual relocation of squirrels carries on, though I seem to have reduced the local population enough to mean there is only the occasional visitor at the moment. I am still fighting the campaign against mice in the greenhouse, though the rate has slowed to only a couple a week now.

Birds have been a bit more busy over the last few weeks, the blackbirds are now seriously disputing territory in the garden and it is still too soon to see where the boundary lines are drawn.

A few long-tailed tits have been visiting some fat balls in a feeder over the last few days and the great tits are visiting the sunflower seeds. The dunnocks have reappeared to eat crumbs I put out, and I even saw a house sparrow the other day, the first for quite a while. I guess it’s because the weather has got colder and natural food  is harder to find.

Needless to say the robin makes an appearance fairly quickly if I’m in the garden for more than a couple of minutes, and sits nearby chuntering until I do something that might produce food for it – as soon as it thinks it is safe it will be down pecking away.

 

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