A Happy New Year to all our Readers

25 January 2024

A Happy New Year to all our Readers! 

 

BBH in the snow
On the Bonfire

It’s always a good feeling after the Christmas and New Year excess to get back out into the garden and begin a new growing season. January is a good time to clear out dead and diseased branches from ageing trees, weed raised beds and gather up anything that has been blown down by the winter winds. It may be cold and frosty but by the time you have sawn through some branches, hauled some heavy logs about and spread some barrowloads of compost onto your vegetable beds, you are positively glowing and as warm as a piece of toast. So it was last week when we had our first bonfire of the year. We gathered all our dead organic material in one place until we had a large pile and then moved it across, bit by bit, onto the actual bonfire. This one burned its way through fifteen builder’s bags of dead branches and fallen tree debris, plus several barrow loads of pruning, hedge cuttings and logs. Needless to say it was quite warm working next to it and the smoke does permeate all your clothes and hair but it certainly cleared away a mountain of stuff and the remaining wood ash is great for our currant and gooseberry bushes.

Bonfire burning the leaves
In The Depths of Winter

In the depths of Winter and especially when the ground is frozen hard, we are often followed by hopeful Robins. They come incredibly close to us in the hope that we will uncover some tasty titbit for them if we happen to be disturbing the soil in any way. Recently we have been cutting down some Elder trees that have self seeded around the garden and the Robins have not wasted a second before darting in among the roots and soil as we tussled with the tree-stumps. When we stop for lunch they often follow us and this one decided to pose for a special photograph last week!

Robin on Unicorn
Are you ready for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch?

Are you ready for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch? All you have to do is spend an hour watching the birds in your garden (or other suitable place) between January 26th and 28th and record how many different types of birds land there and the biggest number of each type at any one time. Last year, over half a million people took part counting a total of 9.1 million birds. This is a really good example of Citizen Science in action as the results really help us to understand what is happening in local bird populations and it is fascinating to see which birds are the most common and which are in decline. Either way, do your best to feed birds at this bitterly cold time of year and if possible create a source of fresh water for them as well. They need it for drinking but also for washing themselves to keep their feathers clean, waterproof and airtight.

 Go to rspb.org.uk and click on Big Garden Birdwatch for information.

Written by Margaret.
Margaret is the Head gardener and leads the Gardening team.

 

Catherine Bradley.<br />

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