The week began with warnings that “winter is coming” and ended with it being here in spades. At least we had a warning and were able to spend time doing final garden winterizing. An early frost had finally killed the pansies in pots as well as a beautiful heliotrope and so the last of the terracottas pots could be emptied and stored away for the winter in a dry place.

The pump that drives the bird-magnet waterfall was removed from the pond, drained and similarly put away in a dry corner. Rabbit guards were put around the trunks of several vulnerable trees and shrubs with especial attention paid to the Euonymus that was ring-barked by a rabbit last winter but amazingly threw up several new shoots this summer from ground level and now has a healthy bunch of stems some two to three feet tall. We installed a solid wood “fence” (more of a wall) around this. Fingers crossed.

Thursday night a cold front moved through the region and the temperature fell from +7C to -9C in the space of a couple of hours with a very light sprinkling of snow. The next day the lawn was carpeted with falling leaves from the trees that finally gave up and let them drop.

The American Goldfinch flock is building up numbers again and we are hoping for a good show this weekend as it is the start of the annual Feederwatch season.

We had forgotten to set up the heated bird bath and Friday morning the pond was frozen over so water for the birds was a bit limited. Mourning Doves were seen out on the ice walking around and then three of them flew over to the handrail on the deck where they settled around the bracket on which the heated bird bath is usually fixed and sat there for quite some time giving the house reproachful looks. By the time you read this the bath will have been installed. For those worried about frozen wings on the birds using the heated water we have never had a problem but we put a large flat stone in the middle of the water which is used by smaller birds for drinking and generally prevents bathing parties and deep dunking. Euro Starlings occasionally splash around in mid-winter but MODOs just sit around the rim of the bath with tails in the water while they “warm their bums”.

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The first snow-flakes

Not the garden, but a wonderful sunset at the end of the road