Is it Autumn again or nearly Spring?

According to the met office we are a week off the start of spring which they count as 1st March even though the spring equinox is not until around 20/21st March.  I understand this is because they need fixed dates so they can produce those useful statistics that tell us how this has been the wettest winter on record.

The day started strangely with three little robins sitting on our new fence.  Now robins are supposed to be solitary creatures and very territorial . Seeing two together is rather unusual,  unless they are a pair,  so what does that make three?  What is more they didn’t seem to be taking much notice of each other. No fighting, no canoodling on the fence – just sitting there.  So I wonder if it was one male and two females, one female and two males or maybe three males or three females.  I can see I will have to keep my eye on them.

As it was the first dry day for ages I braved the cold and the wind to do a tour of my garden and get some photographs of how the plants were doing.  There are signs of spring everywhere: primulas will be flowering in a week or so as will the dwarf narcissi while many herbaceous plants are starting to grow – delphinium, monkshood, dicentra….There are buds on the roses and the honeysuckle has been sprouting for ages.  Unfortunately I still can’t see any buds on my new plum tree, but neither is it frothing so maybe it just hasn’t got going yet.

As it was still dry  after taking a few photos I felt I just had to do some more leaf gathering.  I can’t believe how many leaves have accumulated in my garden again – some on the edge of the herbaceous border, but most of them ’round the side’.  Last Autumn we put up two new compost areas for leaves having filled the two coal bunkers the year before. By November they were both full although the leaves have settled a bit now leaving a little more space. As it usually takes leaves a good 3-4 years to compost down to lovely crumbly soil I am wondering what on earth we will do next Autumn.  I really don’t want to resort to plastic bin bags – even if they are bio-degradable these days. That just means you can’t move them without them falling apart.

coal bunkers full of leaves

Coal bunkers full of leaves

Two new compost bins

Compost bins that were full in November

Anyway most of the leaves are up once more so I can look out for the little spring plants emerging: primula wanda, anemones and crocuses.

Before I finish for today I need to have a rant I’m afraid. A friend of mine kindly sent me some flowers as she had missed my birthday.  The flowers are absolutely beautifyul – it was the note inside them from the store that really got me.

no water

And here is how they were delivered!  Saving resources – I don’t think so.  And I now have to recycle all that cardboard – it would have been much easier to pour water down the sink!

flower box

 

Next Garden Post: End of Month View – February: Irises and Crocuses

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13 thoughts on “Is it Autumn again or nearly Spring?

    • Yes I don’t think I have seen three together in the garden before. There is always one who follows me round when I am digging and putting out bird food and I have occasionally seen two, but never three. I expect one will be seen off shortly. It is a shame it is not obvious from looking at them which is the male and which is the female.

  1. all the lovely leafmold you are making Annette, I know it means more work but as the piles have gone down and you seem to have 2 each time you collect them, could you put one in with the other the moving and turning will help them break down and you will then have an empty container,
    I agree with you regarding M&S, I use cardboard under a mulch to suppress weeds, it breaks down by the end of winter, Frances

    • Yes I think we will move the leaves from one new container into the other and maybe some of the compost from the bunkers will be ready to use. We have been making leaf compost for many years now, but I am sure we had almost double the amount of leaves last year. Maybe none of them got blown into anyone else’s garden last year. Interesting to hear that cardboard breaks down so quickly under a mulch.

      • Annette I try to mulch in late spring early summer at the latest so the cardboard has been there many months, we have a reasonable amount of rain in winter (an understatement the last 3 winters) I think it would take a lot longer in a dry climate, Frances

  2. Glad to read you’ve had some good weather Annette. I tend to think of spring when the clocks change – I get less confused then 🙂
    How wonderful to have all those leaves – how I wish my garden was surrounded by trees. I wouldn’t care how much time and effort it took to gather them up.
    Glad to ready your Primula etc are just about flowering. It’s all go down here too.
    Don’t believe all you read on that label. The reason they’ve changed their method is that the water used for transporting (most companies do this) often leaks out and damages the whole package, thus leading to complaints and them having to refund or resend. I know, I see it daily 😉
    They’ve just put it under the guise of saving the environment! End of my rant too.

    • Hi Angie, yes the trees are wonderful – I am planning a blog on them soon. On a sunny cold Autumn day it is great exercise raking up the leaves too. I am glad to have found out the real reason why M and S have stopped using water. I thought it had to be financial somehow, but thought it just took longer to pack with water round the stems. I was really incensed by the reason they gave for changing – saving water in Scotland – how ridiculous!!!

  3. Yes – I have been sweeping up more leaves, too, Annette, and like you I have decided to store as much as I could. After finding the wire cage full of roots as well as leaves I have resorted to bin bags this year I am afraid – but I think they probably rot down quicker in smaller quantities like this – hope so, as i will have no space to store this year’s otherwise!! Could the 3rd robin be a juvenile perhaps? Lovely to see 3 anyway

    • Hmmm. That could happen here as the cages are under the big copper beech. I probably should have put something like corrugated iron at the bottom of the cage. We kept the leaves in bin bags for many years and left them at the side of the garage, but even they got quite a few roots coming through the bags (also being under the same tree). The worst thing was that it was such a messy job emptying the bags when they were cold and wet and falling apart. I am doubtful that the leaves will compost down as quick in such an open environment but we shall see. I guess a lot of goodness could leach out with the rainfall too (but at least it will be feeding the tree). Our coal bunkers are ideal actually, but just not big enough for the huge amount of leaves we get these days. By the way, do you happen to know whether leaf compost is acidic or alkaline or does it depend on the leaves?

      • I suspect it will depend on the leaves – if you think of things that grow in the undergrowth of different kinds of woodland. I tend to throw handfuls around my rhododendrons and plants in the woodland edge border, because it seems the right things to do and probably because that’s what they would get in their natural habitats. I made sure I used heavy duty bags this year, as when I have used cheaper ones they disintegrate, as you know yourself!

    • Yes I am wondering whether I will complain directly to them instead of just moaning. Apparently it is because the water spills and spoils other goods, but why didn’t they say so instead of thinking we are all stupid and will believe it was to save the environment.

  4. Pingback: ‘All around the Blooming Heather’ | My Aberdeen Garden

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