Six on Saturday

The snow and ice which blanketed the Cotswolds last Sunday is still here but only for a few more days according to the forecast. It has created beautiful wintry scenes but has also brought traffic to a standstill on side roads like ours. Fortunately, the Amazon deliveries have been getting through!

It is truly amazing that anything survives in temperatures of -7 degrees and I am waiting with baited breath to survey the damage. Some losses may not be evident until next year so I will keep my fingers crossed.

My major concern is for my National Collection of Tradescantias which is currently covered by a 4″ duvet of frozen snow. They are reputedly hardy to minus 10 degrees and I hope there is some truth in the theory that the snow actually helps to insulate them from the harshest night time temperatures.

This illustrates the reason to leave seed heads for the birds over winter. The Agastache, Rudbeckia and Echinacea have been a great source of food for Goldfinches and Tits over the last week. They are hard wired to do this, seemingly preferring the natural resources to the many birdfeeders I have around the garden. The Rowan and Pyracantha berries have been stripped by Blackbirds, Redwings and Fieldfares as well as the odd Wood Pigeon, and I have seen more Thrushes in the last week than at any other time of the year.

Funny how everything becomes black and white in the snow! These roses should have been pruned by now but are a thing of beauty on a cold frosty day.

David looks very fetching in his white hat!

Have a great weekend

Hopefully back here on Christmas Eve!

David

11 thoughts on “Six on Saturday

  1. Lovely David, thank you.

    I’ve been enjoying the birds this week too. Seen my first blackcaps of this winter, and the wren, which we usually hear but rarely see. The most shocking sight was two mistle thrushes fighting over our apple tree. Very vicious….one pinning the other to the ground at one point! Nature red-clawed we imagine. There has only been one sitting up top since. We hope it is our resident and not a usurper. It is clearly on the alert for trouble, flying around more than usual and puffing itself up aggressively. It’s the mistletoe on the apple that it’s defending of course.

    As for the plants.. I wish I had taken your advice about shaking snow off shrubs more promptly. The pretty osmanthus, so brittle that branches snap even when weeding under it, now has a vertical split down its central stem. Not a very big one, but I could have lost the top part of the shrub. If only it grew more quickly!

    For everything else we just wait to see. Hope your tradescantias have survived. Surely it can’t have been -10 under that blanket of snow.

    Have a merry Christmas when it comes, Jane

    • It was certainly a tough time for garden birds last week and your Mistle Thrushes scrapping for ownership of the food was no doubt mirrored wherever there was a shortage. The RSPB reckons a little bird like a Wren or Blue Tit can lose a third of its bodyweight overnight so it is truly a fight for survival in this weather.
      My Photinia hedge is springing back into shape this morning with the thaw beginning, no hope for the shrubby Salvias though. Hot Lips is more Blue with the cold Lips!
      Merry Xmas.

  2. We can only hope that the cold clears some of the bugs away which seems to be the conventional wisdom!
    And I’m sure the National Collection will come through just fine.

    • Good point Ian, that is one benefit of a proper winter. Fruit trees should also be better for it. The thrushes managed to find lots of hibernating snails to crack open, my path is littered with broken shells this morning!

  3. Nice to see the birds enjoying the seeds. I also leave everything standing and have seen little birds taking meals there. Lovely! As for the cold, I am amazed that anything lives outdoors in winter! We will hit temps around -20 C his week, and that is not the lowest we will see before all is said and done. we will easily see -30 C. When I lived further north, one time we had something close to -50C and that was amazingly cold – we were warned to stay indoors. Yet in the spring, everything came back, plants and animals know what to do.

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