Signs of life in the garden

First snowdrops Feb 2014It’s been a wet, wild, mild winter. Lots of storms and rain, but no snow – in fact, only a few hard frosts. Totally different to last year, when it snowed and snowed. The sun actually came out a few times this week, and I managed to get into the garden to look for signs of life. And lo! Amid all the sogginess, the snowdrops are coming out.

Rhubarb on its way

Rhubarb on its way

And – joy of joys – things are also happening in the veg patch, where the wrinkled rhubarb leaves are coming up. We have two – one is Timperly Early; I don’t know what the other is, it was a gift from my parents’ allotment.

Our building work has covered over half the veg garden; part of the rabbit fence was damaged by a digger, and another bit blew down during one of this winter’s many gales. So the veg patch is looking pretty folorn. We’re planning to move it to a corner of field nearby. It’s a bit daunting – the new patch is just tussocky grass at the moment – so we’ll see if we can get it fenced off and some beds made before spring really gets going.

Hellebore in a shady corner

Hellebore in a shady corner

We also had to take down part of the fence around the garden last year, to get the digggers in. As a result, we’ve lost a lot of plants to rabbits – and some to the chickens, as they’ve been able to get in as well. This hellebore seems to have survived the massacre well enough.

It was a seedling from my Mum’s garden – they grow like weeds for her, and cross-breed madly. I planted about 20 of her hellebore seedlings last year, but the rabbits and/or chickens have either dug them up or eaten them. I’ve learned my lesson, and I’m not planting out any more young plants until the rabbit/chicken fence is back up. Although I will miss James the hen (yep, she’s a girl, despite the name) tapping on the door when she wants a treat…

Knock knock cluck cluck

Knock knock cluck cluck

7 responses to “Signs of life in the garden

  1. I do like chickens and wish I had some of my own. I did not know rabbits like Hellebore. Thank you, I will have to keep a lookout on my own from now on. Our neighborhood has gotten rabbits in the last few years.

    • Hi, and thanks for visiting! Well – I’m not sure, but I don’t have any evidence that the rabbits ate the hellebore. I think they’ve done more damage in my garden just by digging. We had a rabbit family living in the corner of our front garden this summer, and they loved to dig. Larger plants are OK (hence the well-grown hellebore surviving), but the little stuff just gets kicked about. And by the time I notice, they’ve often dried out! The chickens are brilliant to have in the garden in some ways (fun to watch, and great at scratching over newly composted areas), but again, they do kick little plants about. Mind you, I have quite large, chunky chickens. I have friends with much more dainty bantams who seem to live very happily in gardens…

      • I love the bantams too. Our city forbids chickens, but if I ever move, I will have chickens on garden patrol for unwanted bugs. I could sure use them next Spring for slugs. I do know they dig up plants, but I think their insect eating habits would benefit the garden, as would their free fertilizer.

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