A rest for the gardener
Now, at last, the gardener can rest a while in the dark days of winter as the year’s end approaches and the New Year lies on the horizon. Gardens that months ago were brimming with a heavy crop of fruit and vegetables long since harvested, now lie cold and empty waiting for the first rays of the sun to warm them in the Spring. But are they really empty?
No, for in that bed of soil myriad earthworms, small insects, amoeba, helpful bacteria and fungi are working away, digesting organic matter and turning it into rich, fertile top soil for future growth. Did you know that there are more micro-organisms in one teaspoonful of healthy soil than there are people on the planet!
As it gets colder, this activity slows down so it is a good idea to add a mulch of compost or leaf mould to your beds and borders – an extra blanket for the winter as this will help to protect your soil, especially if we get a heavy frost.
Help our feathered friends
Do you put food out for the birds? Scientists have reported that feeding garden birds has contributed much to helping certain species recover their populations which had been under threat. In freezing weather and when there is lying snow, our native garden birds depend on our feeders and bird tables for a readily available source of food.If you do feed them, please try to keep your bird tables and feeders as clean as possible to limit any spread of disease, especially during the current bird-flu scare.
Another way to provide winter feeding is by growing plants that produce berries such as Cotoneaster, Rowan or Holly. A mature holly bush or cotoneaster covered with berries will feed your birds for a number of weeks and provide much entertainment if you are able to sit in your lovely, warm armchair to watch them feeding!
Thank you to all
This has been a busy year in the gardens of Bannockburn House. There is always a lot to be done and we could never have achieved as much without the help of our loyal garden volunteers, our three Kickstart young men, Bannockburn Rugby club and the staff and contractors who have helped us this year whether it be cutting down holly hedges or planting bulbs, picking cabbages and salad leaves for ‘Ladies of the Rock’ or watering fruit bushes and young orchard trees, weeding, digging, transplanting and sowing, cutting grass, painting garden seats and wood working.
If you are stuck for a New Year’s Resolution then why not make 2022 the year that you become a garden volunteer at ‘The Big Hoose’. You won’t regret it! Email [email protected] for more information.
Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year to you and yours.