The Snow Came And So Did The Birds

Apparently it has been the coldest March since 1962 with the highest snowfall since 1979. With a garden that has been white over for the latter half of March you will find it of no surprise that very little gardening has been done. The whole garden became one giant blanket of white, first the snowdrops disappeared, then the daffodils, the lavender, the dogwoods, in fact everything was covered. It soon became apparent that I wouldn’t be getting much done outside for a while.

When the weather is not at its best and the ground is covered with snow or a hard frost I tend to put food out for the birds on the garden steps. March was no exception to this rule, only difference being I could not see the steps in question. I actually had to dig myself a walkway in which to reach the foot of the garden. I was by no means going to attempt to get to the bird table as I probably would have needed waders or similar to make my way through the snow. We got the usual birds coming to feed as well as one or two guests. One morning we had a thrush eating suet mix with the blackbirds. There have also been a couple of pied wagtails and one or two finches. The strangest thing that I saw in the garden recently was the blackbirds flying at the fatball feeder. After several attempts they even managed to grab hold for long enough to get a beak full. I think that along with the apple and dried fruit, they had acquired a taste for suet mix. The feeder that was lower down for them to reach was covered by the snow never to be seen again.

Last month I mentioned that the blue tits were visiting our bird box on a daily basis. They continued to do this right up to when the snow arrived. Apparently the reason why they have been pecking at the box is to check that it is secure enough against predators and to hold the nest, although if they keep this up I am not sure how much of it will be left. We haven’t seen the blue tits for a couple of weeks, hopefully as the weather becomes milder they will return.

Meanwhile, the onion sets that were due for planting out in the kitchen garden have been planted into cell trays. I would also normally direct sow the seed for leek in March, but found that I have had to sow these into a pot instead. Both of these have been left in the greenhouse and will be planted out once the plants and conditions both suit. As for the parsnips that I started off indoors, mainly to check the seed was still viable, I have missed the time slot in which it needed to be sown outside. I have started another batch, so hopefully by the time these start to show signs of growth the snow will have melted and the soil will be warm enough for these to be sown.

At Shepley Woods

Outside the snow has mostly melted and the plants are beginning to reappear. There is still plenty that needs to be done and any set back in sowing will soon be caught up once the weather improves. Unfortunately, as the snow disappears we may be left with one or two casualties in the garden due to the weight of snow of evergreen shrubs or branches, or those slightly frost tender specimens that have found the prolonged cold spell just too much. Looking on the bright side though, you can always use it as an excuse to go and buy something new from the local garden centre or nursery.

This article was compiled by Karen Ashton, Client Manager at Balance Accountants.

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