A Walk Around My Garden and Back Fields -7 December 2019

Can there be anything more cheerful in winter. Hyacinths, planted in October and grown in the dark, now brought out into the light. Roots climbing out of the pots. Emerald green flower spikes. The promise of flowers- and scent- at a time when we need promise. I potter about all day in the sunshine, planting bulbs, poking about in plant pots, looking for life. I find snowdrops. The tiny white flowers, tight closed. But soon they will be lighting up the garden.

In the greenhouse, the miniature iris bulbs are through. I’m growing Iris reticulata Harmony, a lovely deep inky blue; Katherine Hodgkin, pale blue, and a new variety, Katherine’s Gold, a sport which is a pretty pale yellow form.

These pots will be placed on garden tables in spring, but for now, they’ll stay protected in the greenhouse. Mice are very partial to bulbs.

All jobs completed- pots tidied for recycling, and a few leaves raked into piles to be turned into leafmould- I set off for my daily walk out though the top gate and along the hedgerow path.

Oak trees and hedgerows are almost bare now. A chance to enjoy the beautiful intricate structure of branches. Hidden views are revealed, and if we are lucky, we see a barn owl, hunting in the late afternoon as food becomes scarce.

Just a few crab apples remain on trees. Blackbirds and mice have had a feast this year. It’s been a record harvest.

I find a patch of oak leaves turning a glorious gold. But why haven’t the winter gales blown the leaves across the field, like the rest of them.

Looking closely, I find leaf galls on the undersides of the leaves. They are types of Oak Spangle galls. I wonder if they can somehow manipulate the chemical composition of the leaf to delay senescence. I have seen tiny insects, mine caterpillars, do this in my beech leaves. There are so many mysteries, so much more to learn. Who knows if this will be useful to humans in some way in the future.

On my beech tree leaves, a tiny green oasis remains. Evidence of tunnelling by the moth larvae of Stigmella tityrella. Have you ever noticed these on your trees before?

I find a hazel leaf cozily wrapped around a twig. I gently peep inside. Who could resist? A tiny cluster of ladybirds are snuggled at the base. I carefully fold the leaf back and hope they stay safe and sound until spring.

Turning back, the sun is starting to set. I can see our trees in the distance. A blackbird sings in the hedge. It sounds so loud on a still afternoon when there’s no one else around to hear it. Just me. It will be dark soon, so I hurry across the fields. Suddenly it feels cold. How quickly a sunny day can turn to dusk. Luckily I know the path well and could find the way with my eyes closed. Which is just as well, as it’s pitch black by the time I reach home.

Thank you for reading. Please feel free to share my blog and help me spread the word. Are you managing to get any gardening done at the moment. Get in touch and let me know.

Links: More than Six on Saturday https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2019/12/07/six-on-saturday-07-12-2019/

Stigmella tityrella :http://www.leafmines.co.uk/html/Lepidoptera/S.tityrella.htm

Moths: https://ukmoths.org.uk/species/stigmella-tityrella

Galls: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/2018/07/galls-to-spot-this-year/

26 thoughts on “A Walk Around My Garden and Back Fields -7 December 2019

  1. Hi Karen. Lovely to join you on your walk again. The oak trees really do add some nice late colour don’t they, with such pretty golden leaves. I have never noticed that moth on beech leaves and will have a closer look. We have several lining the driveway – all still fairly young – and some have shed all their leaves, others barely any! We planted my larch ‘forest’ yesterday! Seven small trees just about 1.5 metres tall, but swallowed up in the landscape without their foliage! That was probably be the last job outdoors for this year. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you’ve got your trees planted. They will look wonderful when they have grown. I walked across the field and picked some cones from the larch in Polly’s Wood today. I cut some holly, rosehips and ivy in my hedgerow, and cut some cherry branches to plunge into buckets to bring into flower in the house for Christmas Day. Enjoy your week. Xx

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  2. You are much more organised than me with your bulbs. I have just found a tray of bulbs I intended to plant in the borders. Too late! They were excess bulbs from the borders last year but I could not waste and they have been hastily planted into pots to see if they come up in the spring. I know you can buy bulbs and plant them in pots one year and then put them into the ground for the following year. I don’t think it will work the other way around :). Amelia

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    • It’s been such a chaotic autumn with so much rain, I keep finding little paper bags of bulbs. Today I found some wild daffodils. Luckily they have been hiding in the cool potting shed, so are nice and firm and not soft and mushy. They have been hastily thrown into pots and will just be slipped out into the borders when they flower. Good luck with your bulbs. I once kept some a whole year in a cold place. They came up and produced bonsai size flowers. Quite pretty at the time. They then had a year off, after planting, before reverting to the correct size blooms. Plants are amazing. Xx

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  3. Thank you for the stroll in your garden. On a wild day with occasional heavy downpours of sleet, it’s been a pleasant distraction.

    Your bulbs are peeking through nicely…I’ve just had a little look out my study window, (where I’m wrapped up warm n cosy) but I don’t see any of mine showing through yet. Maybe next week. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Catherine. So glad to provide a distraction from the weather. I shall have to set too and clear some brambles and out of control euphorbia. The early snowdrops, I find, are already up and in bud! Next year we are keeping the area under the trees weed free as I’m trying to establish a colony of white foxgloves. This year the bobbies buttons or goose grass brought them all down. Keep warm and dry. Xx

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    • Thank you. Written with frozen bands as it was not only dark when I got home, but I’d let the woodburner go out! I’ve been collecting apple and cherry logs for the hearth. They are special treats for Christmas day. Natural scent like no room diffuser can ever match. Have a good week. K x

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  4. Isn’t it wonderful to see and notice the very slight changes that are occuring this time of year. It lifts my spirits. That and to know that there are only about 14 days until the day length starts to improve.
    Enternal optimist me.
    Suella

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I can’t wait for the days to start to get lighter again. I seem to spend my life dashing about trying to catch the last of the light. It’s good to be an optimist. Gardening and plants helps us along.

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