Greenfingers - January 2017

It’s early December as I write this, and the list of gardening tasks due for completion this month is dwindling as I tick them off. Clearing the pond was a major task and took the best part of 3 days, and fortunately I didn’t fall in. There remains some duck weed on the surface, so I might well take up Deb’s suggestion to remove any ice after a frosty night, as this traps the weed, making its removal simple and effective.

The flower beds have been cleared and tidied, so only a light trim of the beech hedge and pruning of the apple trees remains. The potted hyacinths have been brought into a light and reasonably warm porch and watered to bring them on for Christmas.

image025The 2016 RSPB bird count last January was a non-event as we saw not a single bird in the garden for the hour we watched. So the feeders have been kepttopped up this year, and so far it’s working well, with an almost continuous flow of birds. Talking of which, I enjoyed a very pleasant walk along the canal to the Daneway at the beginning of December, taking in a dipper, buzzard, jay, redwing and a couple of kingfishers, as well as many robins and wrens. The frost-hard ground made the going easy, with some areas of the valley quite cold, extra frosty and quite magical. At one point on the towpath was a spindle shrub, covered in seed heads, and looking amazing.

The gardening club enjoyed an entertaining talk on Snowdrops during November, but there was no sign of them on the bank at the bottom of the Knapp during my walk as it’s a bit too early. But I did notice that a large number of trees have been felled along the valley floor, where I have previously watched goldcrest perform acrobatics in the conifers.

Venus will be at its greatest eastern elongation on January 12th, visible as a bright planet in the western sky after sunset. HNY from PS

Pete Smith