You will be receiving this on Christmas Eve … whether you pause to read it immediately is another matter but whether you do or not Jean and I wish you all, gardeners, wildlife gardeners or just occasional visitors, all the best for Christmas and the days and months that follow. Apart from one faithful reader living in the more “rural” parts of the north-western bit of Australia (+43C a few days ago I believe) and a couple in the Solomon Islands (not far from the above but with added humidity) we think it is fair to say that all our gardens are under a good snow cover right now and our only expeditions we make away from the fire are to top up the bird feeders for our feathered friends.

So – the penultimate report from the garden for 2017. The week started and is ending with good snow falls and very low temperatures indeed but with some freezing rain mid-week to make things crusty. House Finch numbers have fallen off recently though a singleton appeared for the weekly Feederwatch count and may have a chum or two lurking in the trees. We are not, though, seeing the little flock that has been with us even as recently as a couple of weeks ago. We are enjoying hordes (not hoards, had to check) of American Goldfinches at the feeders plus gradually rising numbers of Dark-eyed Juncos … neat little sparrows that were once known as snowbirds.

On the horticultural side, the bare sticks of the regrown Euonymus are poking out of their protective “box” that will keep the rabbit away this year we hope. We look forward to fine, strong growth in the spring but it does look rather utilitarian at the moment … though nothing can beat the stick and hessian “gun emplacement” that protected a magnolia tree and graced our front garden during the tree’s early years with us … a gun emplacement that worked as the magnolia is now up the second floor office window and a blaze of flowers once the snow has gone.

There are so many good things to look forward to. Merry Christmas.   

22 December – Good Friends

Not our garden … but very close nearby