Greenfingers - February 2020

Greenfingers0220There are two sightings missing from the 2019 garden bird list shown. A great spotted woodpecker and a mistle thrush should have been included, so the total was 32 over the year. However, there were some notable absentees: song thrush, green woodpecker and fieldfare, which we usually see. The siskin and owl were new to the list, and others have been seen regularly, but frustratingly, haven’t landed in the garden. Also, the waxwing I dream about has yet to become a reality.

The mistle thrush was spotted eating mistletoe berries on one of the crab apple trees, but had gone before I could point my camera.

In the garden, snowdrops may be divided once the flowers have finished as these recover and spread quickly if planted in the green. Stroud potato day is on Saturday 1st February, so time to start chitting. If the soil is not too wet, prepare your vegetable beds, and sow tomato, chilli and pepper seeds in a propagator or indoors.

Prune wisteria, cut back deciduous grasses and remove dead grass from evergreen grasses. Sow sweet pea seeds in a cold frame and pot up lily bulbs, dahlia tubers and cannas. Root cuttings can still be taken from Verbascum, Acanthus and Phlox. I tried a garlic spray on the Verbascum last year which seemed to dissuade the mullein caterpillars from turning it into lace. I’ll try it again this year, and on the Solomon’s seal. 

Remove the old leaves from Hellebores and clear the beds to allow the spring flowers to be seen to best effect.

A new interstellar object in the form of a comet was discovered in August last year by Gennady Borisov, a Ukrainian astronomer. This object is in a hyperbolic orbit which means it will not be captured by the sun’s gravity and will not return. The first interstellar object to be detected was an asteroid, Oumuamua, which visited the solar system in 2017.

Pete Smith