The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies. Gertrude Jekyll

Annie's Little Plot

Annie's Little Plot

Sunday 23 December 2012

What's that yellow blob in the sky?

Oh yes its the sun, I'd forgotten what that looked like! The cloudy, foggy skies of the past few days along with the shortest days of the year have combined to create a gloomy few days here in Huddersfield. It was lovely to get out in the garden this morning just for a few minutes and see the sunlight on the garden even if all I was doing was topping up the bird feeder, checking up on things in the greenhouse and looking, hopefully, for signs of spring.
This picture was taken last spring but its what we have to look forward to.
There are some signs though, ever the optimist, there are just the very green tips of the snowdrops in the front garden, the buds of the Hellebore flowers nestling at the bottom of the plant, the fat grey, wooly buds on the Magnolia, the odd hardy flower on a primrose, the dainty decorative leaves of Cyclamen coum and the mottled leaves of the Arum italicum.
In my greenhouse, the Broad beans that I sowed a few weeks ago are starting to poke through. It makes me very happy that I'm already preparing for next year.
I've not been up to the allotment for a few weeks, this is what is awaiting me. A big pile of muck in the communal area that needs moving to my plot. This is to share between myself and another fellow plot holder, we decided to share a delivery from a local farmer. It will last me years I think!
We did start moving some last time I was there and its has gone down but still needs sorting.
Anyway I'm off now for 2 weeks so I'm sure I'll get some time at the plot. Its been a hectic couple of months really and I'm ready for a break. Doing some work on the plot will be just what I need. I'm just trying to sort some things out before my dad comes out of hospital so him and my mum get the help they need for them both to recover from a difficult time. Its certainly brought our family closer together and makes me feel very grateful for having such a loving family.
So finally Happy Christmas and best wishes to all my blog friends who I've befriended in the last few years. Have a good break if you are able to and here's looking forward to another year of seed sowing, growing and harvesting in 2013.

Sunday 2 December 2012

A chance seedling

I've not been online much in the last few weeks, my dad's been poorly so I've been driving up and down the M62 visiting him and helping my mum. Not that there is much to blog about at the moment. Its too wet to do much at the allotment though I've had a delivery of some manure which needs moving to my plot so that will keep me busy when the weather gets a bit drier.
I'm trying to get ahead with my Christmas shopping and did have chance to visit the lovely Christmas markets in Manchester last week. My friend and I were walking on a cold frosty evening in St Ann's Square where there are a few trees all lit up with fairy lights and I was amazed to see masses of small little birds flitting in and out of the trees. Though hard to see what they were as they wouldn't keep still but it seems that they were flocks of Pied Wagtails which roost in the trees. I think they like the warmth from the market stalls and the shelter of the city square. It was a lovely moment.
At home I'm also enjoying watching the wildlife in my garden. The birds are busy making the most of the seed feeders and the blackbirds and thrushes are feasting on the windfall apples from my two apple trees which I've not got round to clearing away, good job I was too busy.
I have a plant that arrived in the garden, a chance seedling that has grown and grown but now its one of my favourite plants in the garden and its much loved by the garden wildlife. 
I didn't know what it was for ages but then there was a recent article in The Garden magazine (October 2012) on Cotoneasters and I spotted it there. Well its definitely a Cotoneaster though I'm not quite sure of the species, I will have to do some more research but as you will see from the wiki page there are hundreds of species.
I guess it is not in the right place, it is close to an old apple tree and a Holly (another unplanted seedling which is growing very big now), but I can't bear to get rid of it and I doubt I'd be able to move it. So why is it so great, well it has lovely fresh spring foliage, it is smothered in flowers in late spring/early summer and though the flowers are small they are much loved by bees.The whole plant is buzzing with bees at that time of year. Apparently they are particularly useful source of nectar in a time when there can be a short supply, the 'June gap'. Then in autumn they develop bright red berries and I've enjoyed watching the blackbirds eating the berries this week. In fact it was probably them who helped plant it there in the first place!! The leaves are also turning a lovely orangey colour too. How's that for value.

It has a lovely arching habit too.
I be looking out for other seedlings of this plant in the garden and give it pride of place next time.