As a newbie to the world of blogging, I couldn’t let the year end go by without a heartfelt thanks to all of you who’ve liked, signed up to follow, fave’d or just visited my novice site over the past 2 ½ months. In particular, a huge thanks to those of you who’ve stopped by and commented on some of my pages – all your words of encouragement and support have been very much appreciated. It’s an honour and a privilege to have joined the Garden Bloggers – what a wonderful community of positive-thinking enthusiasts you are, a real tonic in today’s uncertain world. With your wonderful pictures, humourous stories, project descriptions and tales of how you co-exist, and relish your relationship, with the great outdoors, every garden blog that I have visited I have found fascinating, both within and beyond Scotland’s shores. I look forward to continued ‘virtual rambles’ round your gardens as we turn the corner into spring (or autumn, for some of you!). To everyone, a very Happy Hogmanay, and all best wishes for 2013.
Each morning over the Christmas break, I have started my day with a dawn walk along the drive with Sir Bruce and Ronnie, my canine companions. Sir Bruce has returned to spend his Christmas holidays with us. Hopefully some of his elder statesman-like ways will rub off on his younger, rather delinquent ‘nephew’.
So there we were ambling along when my ears were accosted by a dull thudding sound seemingly coming from the sheep field. I looked round but there was no sign of anything untoward except, er, sheep, which are (with apologies to sheep farmers everywhere) not the most dynamic animals on the planet – that said, we did have an earlier flock of sheep in our field which clearly had aspirations of winning the High Jump at London 2012, as they spent most of their short tenancy vaulting the fence to our garden, before being sent back! Anyhow, on we progressed a little further on our doggy exploration. A further thud sounded out, whereupon I looked around again to find two of the ewes staring at each other like a pair of over-sized sheep-themed bookends. One of them then proceeded to give the other a forceful head-butt. Curiously the recipient of said ‘Glasgow kiss’ just stood there, seemingly unaffected and rather non-plussed, while the protagonist prepared herself for the next bout…obviously they were in the process of settling some sort of arg-ewe-ment.
With the fruit trees now finished, I am, more or less, back on ground level and have spent the last week or so dodging the high winds, cold temperatures and sharp showers pruning the red, black and white currants. We have several elderly bushes of each which were in the garden when we arrived, and each year I have to resort to my well-thumbed The Fruit Expert by Dr DG Hessayon, as the reds and whites are pruned one way, and the blacks another – get it wrong, and no fruit! The birds are usually the main beneficiaries of the red and white currants as they are somewhat fiddly to pick, but we usually get a handsome crop from the blackcurrants, which interestingly exude an air of blackcurrant cordial even in mid-winter when pruning them!
And then the gooseberries, which, for some reason, and like a lot of other things, we have growing up our walls in fans. Not my most favourite task as the thorns are lethal and capable of penetrating 99% of all known gardening gloves. The reward? A marvellous, early spring, apple-green flush of leaves with flowers thronged by bees (and leaves thronged by caterpillars) in search of an early spring meal.