05:43 Tuesday 23 February 2021
I woke at daybreak, as usual, on Friday and thought I’d left the landing light on but it was a glorious sky lighting up the front of the house and when I flung open the lounge window to air the living room I could hear the joyful chirruping of house sparrows. The weather soon turned overcast and rainy (“Red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning!” as they say) so I cheered up the bedroom windowsill with some fake purple crocuses in a novelty teapot!
More crocuses are coming out in the front garden, golden ones, and the clumps of snowdrops in the woodland glade have opened up enough to be visible from the kitchen window.
Downstairs, meanwhile, we have been appreciating the letterbox flowers from our daughter, sent via Bloom & Wild. They generated two vases full and as they perk up and open, they look better and better each day.
I particularly enjoy testing my botanical knowledge by naming the blooms before checking the accompanying booklet. This time we had olive and eucalyptus foliage, roses, snapdragons, freesias, lisianthus, alliums, carnations and tulips with bulbs attached (to be snipped off for planting). It turned out that the alliums were a substitution for nerines – that sometimes happens if they can’t supply the flowers advertised in the bouquet chosen.
I did get the last lot of tulip bulbs belatedly planted, by the way: the ones snipped off by my daughter from her own letterbox flowers. The weather had turned milder so I lifted a round stepping stone, surplus to requirements, in the woodland garden, dug a hole and popped them in. I lifted the slab thinking that there would be a bare patch underneath and so I wouldn’t be putting the tulips where something else had been planted. I did the same for my three new bulbs: I had another paver placed in the woodland where I didn’t need it. If they should grow and flower what a bonus it will be!
My daughter & son-in-law had also been making the most of the milder weather to get out into their garden, tidying up, finding snowdrops and other bulbs under all the dead leaves and over-grown shrubs, collecting a big tub of home-made compost and potting on their herb seedlings. Here are the photos via WhatsApp:
On Thursday morning a pair of fluffy little long-tailed tits flew to the beech tree. I managed to fire off a few shots with the good camera as they flitted from branch to branch before streaking away.
I also saw a male chaffinch in the river birch at the back. I was alerted by the white streaks in its tail as it flew in and the binoculars confirmed this rarity to our garden. I shall have to show you an old photo taken April 2018: it was too far away for anything better.
This bird had alighted in the thuja tree, long since cut down.
Finally, the heron didn’t get all (if any) of my fish! Two of them swam into view on Saturday: an orange goldfish and a red comet. There may be more lurking out of sight. And is that fuzzy black shape one of the black babies swimming over the top of an even fuzzier goldfish?
I noticed it only when I was downloading the camera. The other orange shape is a floating leaf. I shall be keeping my eye on the fish pond and netting out the leaves!