Hanging Around

Friday’s snowfall continued late into the evening, as the temperatures plummeted further. A thermometer probe just outside the window measured a low of -8 degrees Centigrade overnight. Saturday morning brought clear blue skies and sunshine, as we skittered and slipped our way down the hill into the village to collect the paper.

The sun tried its best, but temperatures have barely, if at all, nudged above freezing for days, leaving careless sweeps of snow still hanging around the garden and fields. Yesterday’s watery pastel colours have today been smudged out with leaden skies, which brought a light dusting of fresh snow this morning.

Footprints just outside the kitchen door show that the birds have been boldly seeking food in this harsh landscape.

The cabbages remain perky beneath the weight of their blanket; the blueberry still resolute.

The holly tree at the bottom of the garden rather optimistically began to flower last week, though the creamy white petals of the first open flowers have withered and turned brown quickly in the snow, and the remaining buds look less rosy today than they did a few days ago…

From examining the structure of the open holly flowers (with prominent stamens rather than the green bump of an immature ovary) we have a male holly tree, so we will need to plant a female holly in the garden – within about twenty-five feet – if we want berries. Something else to ponder this winter as we start to plan the garden. Although we’ll need both trees to flower in early summer if we want berries for Christmas!

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9 thoughts on “Hanging Around

  1. Crikey — we’re into “sexing” holly trees now! I hadn’t thought about this before, assuming that holly was self-fertile. You live and learn…
    My garden is full of cat footprints. And my friendly young Robin has been hopping about looking very perplexed by the snow.

    • Indeed! I hadn’t given it much thought before, until I wondered why our tree didn’t have any berries last year and looked it up last week. Most holly trees are single-sex, only a small few self-fertile. So we’ll need to find a ladyfriend for our tree 😀 Which seems to be very confused about the seasons…

  2. Beautiful but chilly! I particularly love the first photo with the regular ridges of snow accentuated by shadows. Wonderful! Glad your cabbages are holding up – I knew you needed a male and female holly to ensure berries but hadn’t known how to work out which is which, so I shall file that away for future reference! Its what put me off planting holly in this garden, as I didn’t know where to put the second, and no one around here appears to have any.

    • Hi Janet, thanks. I vaguely knew you needed both sexes of holly and we obviously only had one, so no berries, but when I saw it flowering last week it reminded me to read up on how to tell which it was… still not sure why it’s blooming in winter, mind. It can hardly be the high temperatures! I’d love to have berries but I’m not sure where to squeeze another tree in… the holly we have is pretty big, it would have to be a standard or small bush to not block our views… but a standard would look strange at the edge of the vegetable patch! Maybe we should just use holly to fill in the gaps in the bottom hedge near the current holly and keep it hedge-sized. Presumably the cows wouldn’t find that quite so tasty either…

  3. Dear Sara – that first shot is a picture postcard and reminds me of everything I love about Wales. Hope you find a suitable lady holly for your male. I’ve noticed how garden centres often fail to supply species of both sexes e.g. Gaultheria. They ought to be sold in pairs!

    Laura

    p.s. found this link to Welsh hollies 😉
    http://www.welsh-holly.co.uk/hollies.htm

    p.p.s you were so right with the pear identification. Have given you a link with thanks 🙂

    • Dear Laura, Thank you; we had a glorious sunny Saturday when the landscape really sparkled. Thank you for the link to Welsh hollies too, so many beautiful varieties; it will be hard to choose!
      Glad to be of help – not at all sure about being knowledgeable, mind, just lucky! – but thank you for the kind words and link. Sara x

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