I pondered about trying to write something without mentioning the weather but since it so strongly influences almost everything I do it would be impossible to ignore it. As I write there is high pressure bringing a week or more of freezing temperatures, some snow and icy,strong north/east winds. This is causing major disruption throughout the UK. Trying to find the motivation to do some work is not easy. Trying to find work which can be done without causing too much damage is difficult. There is now a sense of chasing my tail, in a month it will be Easter and if the weather does warm up then people will be expecting to have a range of plants to buy. Unless they have been grown in heated greenhouses then there could well be a limited selection available. If plants have been grown in very protected conditions then they might not survive being planted outside unless they are given time to adjust to the cold.

The other problem is the wildlife. The rabbits are digging here there and everywhere which includes the exposing of the roots of some plants. The muntjac deer is nibbling the stems and bark of many trees and shrubs. Something, mice? a bird? is biting off the buds of some of the hellebores but not eating them. A stray cat has been in the shed where George eats and sleeps and eaten all his food. The solution was relatively easy, I ordered a new microchip cat flap. After we had finally worked out how to get the thing to recognise his chip then we were in business so to speak and the other cat is now excluded. Also there is the squirrel(s) which come onto the bird feeder resulting in one old woman jumping up and down and screeching ‘bugger off’ at it.

On the plus side the snowdrops are/were looking good. There is a feeling that at long last they are beginning to become decent sized clumps. Some of the special named varieties are increasing better than others. The hellebores (those that haven’t been attacked) are flowering well, some of the pulmonarias are flowering and the willows are starting to show their catkins.

Is spring just round the corner? It can’t come soon enough.

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