Ken’s Tales of Flora & Fauna (No. 6)
Whilst we are spending more time at home due to the lockdown restrictions, many have turned to their local areas to relax and those lucky enough to have a garden are getting to enjoy them whilst the sun shines. Here our Managing Director, Ken Gillingham, shares tales from his garden idyll.
Some November days can be damp and raw, especially with low cloud cover and this month is no exception. There have also been chill winds from the east, making it feel much colder than it is.
Most colourful late autumn foliage has fallen now, including from the apple tree near the end of the garden. The 350 year old huge oak tree in the meadow behind the garden has been toughing out the weather, as oak is one of the last trees to shed its leaves. However, during November the leaves slowly turned golden and almost overnight, they surrendered to a gravity they have been resisting since their unfolding in spring.
This is the best month for planting tulips, any earlier and they can start to grow before the cold sets in, leaving them vulnerable over winter. There are two large pots which stand either side of our front door which contain colourful plants in the summer. They died back in the autumn and have been removed, the soil topped up and tulip bulbs planted in their place. A number of the pots on our patio
have also been given the same treatment. We now await the spring to, hopefully, see a splendid display of close to 60 bulbs. The raised flower beds in the garden have also been tidied and planted with 30 large allium bulbs, the size of a regular onions.
Down at the base of the hedgerow, mammal activity is minimal as the small animals snuggle in burrows or nests to avoid the cold. As I sit at my desk writing this update, a female kestrel is sitting atop one of the taller trees in the garden, pondering where its next meal is coming from.
Now there is a lack of natural food such as insects and seeds, the bird feeders are being rapidly emptied by hungry birds. They are demolishing 12kg of seeds and nuts each week but are fantastic just to sit and watch as they visit the feeders throughout the daylight hours. The wood pigeons sit patiently on the trees for waiting for the feeders to be topped up. Rare visitors last week were a flock of long tailed tits who have the nickname of “flying lollipops”. Check out the photos to see why.