Six on Saturday: the C Word

You may or may not have noticed that it is beginning to look at least a little, if not a lot, like C********. A very grey and often damp week has given an opportunity to catch up on other seasonal tasks, starting first with creating a wreath for the front door. The garden generously offers up quantities of holly and ivy and although severe hedge pruning has reduced this slightly there is certainly still far more ivy around than is good for the garden. Having crown pruned the variegated holly last year the berries were way above both head and stepladder height, but having rediscovered the telescopic loppers it took the Golfer mere minutes to forage more than enough for my task and less than an hour for me to add them to a coathanger wire circle along with ivy leaves and ivy berries. You can see my method in this post.

It was the abundance of seasonal vegetation that encouraged me to begin making a wreath when we came to this house, so it has probably been one of our traditions for over 20 years; red cherry lights is another, although a little more recent. The latter needed to be replaced this year and it wasn’t easy to find exactly what I wanted – in fact, those shown below are ‘berries’ rather than cherries, but once strung still proved to be suitable. With 200 lights on the string, the reflection in the sitooterie windows more than doubles this. Unlike neighbouring properties whose gardens are lit like fairy grottos throughout the year, we are rather more restrained with our illuminations, and these are visible from our kitchen windows but only to small degree from any of our neighbours’.

Also making the garden glow but in daylight hours is the stand of cornus, now virtually naked, one of the stars of the winter garden. C ‘Midwinter Fire’ on the right has grown considerably since its spring cut, obscuring the dovecot folly behind it; sadly this didn’t stop wasps finding it and using it as a nest, and this one of the less pleasant jobs waiting to be tackled even though we know there will no longer be any live wasps in it. Anyway, I noticed that this cornus had not been cut back quite as severely as the others in its early stages and plan to rectify that next spring, even if it does restrict growth for a year or two, which it might not, as the amount of growth they put on in a season never ceases to amaze me.

I don’t know if moles are more active at this time of year, but as well as strings of molehills across local fields I realised that the little heaps of soil in the hedge border were not the result of me emptying the dregs from spent pots, but the work of A Mole… We have only once seen evidence of mole activity in the garden once, and it was minimal and short-lived, and although I like the idea of providing a home for wildlife this welcome has limitations – and what particularly concerned me was the proximity to the snowdrop border where a velvet-waistcoated visitor could wreak havoc… Fortunately, from the heaps in the hedge border it seemed that he or she was put off by the brick wall and headed back towards the hedge – and any attempt to access the snowdrops’ domain would face the same drawback so the Preciouses should be safe…in theory.

Ha! That picture just looks like a scruffy border and not a molehill at all, but the number of stones on the surface is a giveaway in my opinion, and the evidence has been rained on too…

More obvious is evidence of another seasonal visitor, an empty plate of food, our resident hedgehog(s) still returning nightly and eating his/her/their fill. There are several that visit gardens in the vicinity, and although one began building a nest in the shed they were probably put off by the Golfer’s industry and moved out so we don’t know where any of them call home – but they do dine out with us and one of our neighbours. There is even a hedgehog size hole cut in the shed door to welcome them in, and more than once the Golfer has gone to put the food out and found one waiting, knife and fork in hand…

After seeing Monty scooping compost with a wooden-handled scoop on a Gardeners World programme earlier this year, it immediately went on my Birthday/Christmas wishlist as a vast improvement on the uncomfortable plastic ones I currently use. I was not disappointed, and now hanker after one for the grit, another for vermiculite and of course one for perlite too…

That’s my seasonal Saturday Six and if you visit our host the Propagator you will find more sixes from Jon himself and others in the blogging stratosphere.


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23 Responses to Six on Saturday: the C Word

  1. Cathy says:

    A lovely wreath Cathy. I may attempt one after all this year. I got one of those Burgon and Ball scoops for my birthday this year too and love it! 😃

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Cathy – I had no idea what I was doing the first time I made one, but it seems routine to me now! Was your birthday a recent one too?

      • Cathy says:

        My birthday was in October. Seems ages ago now. I am going to attempt a wreath tomorrow….. I will have to post about it to give you all a laugh as my artistic skills are very limited! ðŸĪĢðŸĪŠ

  2. Nate says:

    You have hedgehogs! That is so awesome!

    • Cathy says:

      Even if we don’t see them, it is lovely knowing they are there – but we have seen them more often this year than ever before

  3. Noelle says:

    So the hedgehogs have both you and the Golfer well trained, I see. I wonder whether the Golfer will have a webcam for his Christmas present, and then you can sit and watch the nightly goings on in the garden?

  4. Heyjude says:

    So you’re not worried that the food and the hole into the shed aren’t used by rats? 🙄
    I have one of those scoops too, if only I remembered to use it!

    • Cathy says:

      Aargh! No Jude, we had not…🙄 But having seen ‘our’ hedgehog several times we are pretty confident it is not rats, although we do sometimes have them in the garden. And they would have found the bag of food by now too, I am sure…

  5. We are decorating early this year, to cheer ourselves up! Outside we only do white icicle lights under the eaves, but I love to see other people’s lights go up for the season too. You have reminded me that we have some variegate ivy in the hedge that I can use to freshen up our re-used door wreaths. Thanks. I had to smile at your hedgehog/knife and fork characterisation!

    • Cathy says:

      Ivy is great for wreaths as you can just wind it round everything else. I try to avoid variegated ivy and go for plain green because the holly is variegated, but it was whatever I could quickly find this year! Our tree goes up at the beginning of the month, roughly tying in with a birthday..

  6. I love your holly and ivy wreath with the red bow, it’s divine: thank you very much for the tutorial. The 200 lights in front of the sitooterie are spectacular, I love them. The cornus is divine but the bees have the right to live in the loft: the bees win. It is fantastic that hedgehogs come to eat in your garden and that the golfer saw them eating: I wish they nested in your garden would be wonderful, I love it. A good spoon like the one in the photo, I hope they give it to you for Christmas. Take good care of the golfer and you. Stay safe. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

  7. tonytomeo says:

    Ah, I remember those dogwoods!
    Are hedgehogs beneficial, like skunks? I have seen them only in pictures. They look scary.

    • Cathy says:

      There is nothng threatening about hedgehogs, Tony – they are no more than 20-25cm long and if they see you they will either freeze or roll up in a ball. They eat slugs so are very beneficial, and also worms and all sorts of insects. You can buy special hedgehog food for them (it’s like a dry cat food) and in the UK they are very much regarded with affection. Sadly, their numbers are declining.

  8. Pauline says:

    Lovely post Cathy, I enjoyed reading about your hedgehog, but not your moles, hopefully your snowdrops will stay safe!

  9. Chloris says:

    You are festive. My daughter and I are going to be wreath- making together next week. There are still plenty of holly berries about, I expect they will go soon. What a treat to have a hedgehog. I would love to see some here. We are plagued with moles though.

    • Cathy says:

      I have seen two hedgehogs at the same time together in the year, but our neighbour has seen a whole family (at night). Sorry to hear about your mole population 🙄 Good luck with your wreatmaking – hope the fieldfares bypass your garden and you have enough berries!

  10. I have the plastic “big scooper” too, but that Burgon & Ball version does look nice. I’ll have to look up the dimensions and may be treating myself to yet another holiday gift… hmmm 😉

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