30th January
These pages are a rolling diary of the changes and events in the garden for the year 2021 in words and pictures.
January to April
New Year’s Day and unusually we have a light dusting of snow. The ponds are frozen over but mercifully not badly enough to affect the pump. The crocosmia is already showing signs of life, bit early for frogs but we live in hope!
16th January and the greenhouse has gone to a new home. Access to the stored wood is much better. We kept the aluminium tables as they are very useful and reasonably weatherproof! No plans as yet for a use for the flat space but the woodstore may need some protection from rain coming from the east.
Pond life! 22nd February left, frog spawn in both ponds. One clump lower pond, two in the upper. It is due to become a swarm of tadpoles mid to late March. They won’t be so pleased to see a tadpole predator right, 28th February seen swimming in the upper pond. I suppose it must have walked from somewhere to our pond, amazing.
Amongst other things 2020 was the year of the voles. 2021 is fast becoming the year of the moles. Molehills are appearing on all four boundaries and so far success with stopping them is at zero. The ground itself is very soft after the high winter rainfall making it easy for the little burrowers to make new tunnels. The idea is to set traps on their main routes but that isn’t easy. I’ve put traps in several tunnels but all so far have been used as dumps for excavated soil, filling the trap and making it useless. Even the field behind us now has an impressive array of molehills. The sheep aren’t bothered.
29th March. The ponds are suffering badly with algae produced from the many leaves rotting at the bottom of both. We’ll take steps in the autumn to ensure this doesn’t happen again as removing them is a long tedious business. But what I thought was bits of stick trapped in one of the fibre optic plants which has fallen over is actually toad spawn! Closer inspection has found more of this in the other pond too.
The borders of the protected area are now home to rescued irises amongst other plants, now in newly-dug beds along the border wire. The rectangle of longer grass is where the new fruit cage will be erected. We hope that later this year, if we can source one, we’ll have a new greenhouse put in to the right of the bonfire pit. Current delivery times are around six months…
Two new trees have been added recently, on the left is a Cheals Weeping Cherry planted on the 14th April and on the right taken on 30th April is an Acer Seiryu planted a bit earlier in the year. We hope the Acer manages to reach three metres in height eventually although that could take ten more years!
The erythroniums (left) have fared very well this year, thriving when left alone by the rabbits. Also the ring of bluebells have avoided being eaten by the deer and are looking magnificent, seen on 25th April.
The citrus trees have overwintered very well in the polytunnel, and it is filled with the scent from the new blossom. Radishes in full production and many veg plants potted on growing on the hanging frames. Less good is the health of the bees. Only one hive has survived the very cold and damp weather, at one time in 2020 we had nine active hives.