Oh wow, it’s December already. Have you got your advent calendars out? Have you got all your spring bulbs in? I’ll be honest, I’ve been beavering away on this task on and off all week to meet the end November deadline, but there are still a few left. Most are tucked under the soil though. Oh, except for that order I placed yesterday for 70% off sale bulbs that I couldn’t resist. Anyhow, here are my Six things on a Saturday. You play don’t you? If not, it’s easy to join in by linking to The Propagator’s blog and checking out the many and varied contributions about gardening ‘stuff’.
As we reach the end of National Tree Week (25th November to 3rd December), my first ‘Six’ today is a celebration of a favourite specimen. It is an Indian Bean tree on the lawn at Wimpole Estate. With it’s leaves now fallen, it has been revealed in all its gnarled glory and is dripping with ‘bean’ pods. Over the years storms have twisted its spreading limbs rather more than it could bear and annual tree inspections have forced the removal of some of its damaged branches, but it remains an energetic and much admired presence at the edge of the parterre. Long may it stand.
2) Hot Lemon Drops
The chilli plants I potted up and brought inside at the end of October have stopped flowering. However, the existing fruits continue to ripen, making the kitchen windowsills look festively decorated. This year I’ve particularly enjoyed growing Aji Limon or the Lemon drop chilli. True to its name, it has a very definite citrus tang to its heat. And it is a hot one (15,000-30,000 SHU on the Scoville scale apparently). I tend to nibble the ends and then hand the rest over to Steve!
3) Hazel catkins revealed
The butter yellow tones the hazel leaves have been brilliant this autumn. With recent gales stripping off the last of the foliage, we can see the evidence of seasons moving on and once again anticipate the cheerful sight of clusters of dancing catkins. They are there, ready and waiting. Look at it this way, Winter’s days are already numbered.
4) Meadow residents
I’ve been planting bulbs in the wild meadow: Wild daffodils, camassias and Byzantine gladiolas. I have been surprised by how many chafer grubs I’ve discovered in the process though. I add more bulbs to this area every autumn and I don’t remember seeing so many pests last year or the year before. I hope that they are not going to become a problem.
5) Winter Honeysuckle
As I walked passed the garage this week I noticed some very welcome winter scents. At one corner I have a clipped viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’, which, on following my nose and looking, is fairly covered in flowers. On the other side of the door there are a couple of winter honeysuckles (Lonicera fragrantissima) and I was surprised to see that they have started into flower already too. My attention was drawn to the bushes because they of the number of insects buzzing around them, including several types of hoverfly.
6) Crab Apples
For the last couple of months Sadie, our dog, has had a tendency to get distracted by fallen damsons on the driveway when she is sent outside to do her stuff. However, in the last week she has changed her browsing area to beneath our crab apple tree. She loves apples and since we hit zero last week the apples have started to drop to the ground. The birds are also evidently pecking at the fruits. Blackbirds and pigeons so far, but the field-fares and thrushes won’t be far behind. So I’ve been out today, collecting a bowlful while they are still there. This will be turn into an amber jelly for Christmas dinner.
Have a good week!