Saturday, 10 November 2018

Tucking the garden up for winter ....

'Green Lane' in autumn colour
A furious hammering on the windows at the start of the day. Carrion crows are asserting their territory and angrily attack their own refections. We lay obstacles along their path to the windows for their welfare. They become so angry with their reflected image that they leave the glass bloody.

The last of the pelargoniums on the terrace
Female and male sparrowhawks stalk the bird feeders that have been attracting many goldfinches and greenfinches. The male sparrowhawk is smaller and slighter than his partner. Slate grey and salmon pink.

Resplendent cock pheasants square up on the drive, sparring and jabbing. Blackbirds have
finished their moult and have emerged from purdah. North European migrant fieldfares 'chack-chack' in straggling groups in the sky overhead.

Our few days absence saw us returning to a fully-autumnal garden. Beech, sweet chestnut, larch and silver birch leaves in shades of glowing golds, oranges and yellows. Tumbling and twisting in the wind.

North-facing earth sheltering
A wood mouse forages in the wood chip mulch on the edge of the Fragrant Garden.

I have planted overwintering onions, shallots and garlic in the Vegetable Garden. Moles have undermined the rich soil in this part of the garden, gathering earthworms. I have to compress the moles' deep mines with my heel before planting little onion sets (bulbs) or they would drop about eight inches into the tunnels below. I tell myself that I can't have tawny and little owls unless I also have moles. The polytunnel brassicas (spring cabbage, white flowering broccoli and kale) are thriving.

Now is the time to 'tuck the garden up' for the winter. The Head Gardener, like a dormouse with hazel nuts, to-and-fro busy stowing pelargoniums and cannas in the greenhouse. She has also ended a long-distance slog weeding and mulching the north-facing mounding that provides the earth-sheltering for our home.

Everywhere is sodden after recent rain.

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