The SAD lamp is at full whack, I have twinkly fairy lights decorating pretty much every available surface and enough candles to get us through a winter of power cuts but even this isn’t enough when we’ve had the dullest November since 1929 (Met Office) and December is continuing in the same vein. I’m now resorting to trawling through photos of the spring and summer in an attempt to alleviate the relentlessness of the grey. This is admittedly a risky strategy as gazing at images washed with colours and warmth and then staring out at rain splattered windows and a murky sky could, rather than raise the spirits, make me retreat under my duvet until March.
It wasn’t as if it was a summer which would go down as a classic in terms of weather, a rather typical cool affair and an August which was another wash out. Looking through the photos, one day does stand out and not just because the weather was so perfect. As a belated birthday day out for Wellyman we decided to revisit Hidcote, a garden we had last been to over 10 years ago, and combine it with a trip to a garden that for some reason had up until that point passed us by, Kiftsgate.
It was the end of June, beautifully warm but not too hot and not a cloud in the sky. Hidcote was a joy. The 10-year redevelopment plan undertaken since our last visit had made a huge difference to the visitor experience and the planting. There was a nice touch as we bought our tickets and wandered into the house where Lawrence Johnston, the creator of Hidcote, used to live. It was staged as if it was the 1930s with music playing and fresh flowers in vases. You could imagine Johnston had just popped out to play a game of tennis or wander around his garden. Visitors are free to plonk themselves down on the squishy sofa and drink in the atmosphere. You can also grab a racquet and a ball and take to the tennis court if you want. I remember from our last visit this being an empty, unused space but now it has a net and equipment for visitors to have a game. We had a go, although to call it tennis would be much too flattering, but it was fun. I know the National Trust has come in for some stick in recent years for its policy to be more inclusive by encouraging guests to immerse themselves in a visit. For some it’s the Disneyfication of our culture for me it was a few simple touches which made it a more enjoyable experience and which brought the place to life.
As for the gardens, well, they were stunning and much improved. Hidcote is one of the National Trust’s most popular gardens and one of the country’s best examples of an Arts and Crafts garden. Why’s it so popular? Probably because it exemplifies what most of us think of as the classic English garden. Interestingly though Hidcote was created by an American, albeit one who fought in the British Army and became a naturalised citizen, and owes much of its design and the formal layout to Italian gardens. The planting was voluptuous as you would expect for a garden in late June and it’s this billowing planting, spilling from the formal beds, that makes Hidcote so special. Of course, the stunning setting and beautiful honeyed stone of the Cotswold house help enormously too.
Looking back the photos have reminded me how it was such a fabulous year for roses and they looked incredible at Hidcote. Perhaps my favourite spot and an area which had seen the most change since we were last here was the lily pool, plant house and the flowers beds surrounding the two. Johnston’s original plant house had fallen into disrepair and was removed in the 1950s but the National Trust have built a new one, which has meant the return of sub-tropical plants to the gardens. The planting in the beds surrounding it and the lily pond was just beautiful.
Then came Kiftsgate which is literally just across the road from Hidcote. Even though we’d lived in the area years ago we had never visited this garden. We had arranged to meet Harriet a friend we had met via Twitter who lived nearby. There’s something extra special about sharing a garden visit with people as equally obsessed by plants as you. I’m sure we’ve all visited a garden with a non-gardener before and realised the different wavelengths you’re both on when they glaze over at the first mention of a plant name. Then there’s the wanting to linger by a particular planting combination or ducking down to search for plant label to turn around and see your companion disappearing off at a great lick in search of tea and coffee. It can be a painful experience for both parties. I’m lucky Wellyman shares my passion but it was an added bonus to wander around with Harriet.
Kiftsgate has many similarities to Hidcote. It was created by Heather Muir at the same time Johnston was creating Hidcote. Heather and her husband weren’t gardeners and there was a blank canvas when they moved to Kiftsgate. It was Johnston who encouraged Heather to create the structure of the garden. There’s an Italianate flavour with formality in the layout and the steep bank with its dramatic view across to the Malvern Hills terraced in the 1930s by Italian gardeners. The garden is now gardened by her granddaughter Anne Chambers.
The iconic image of Kiftsgate is the reflective pool with its bronze gilt leaved sculptures hovering above the water on the site of the old tennis court. I liked the change of pace it gave the garden and the modern minimal feel which was such a contrast to the rest of the garden. As for planting, well it was a feast for the eyes. From roses and geraniums to the stunning yellow border. Something that really caught my eye were the mounds of honeysuckle. They didn’t appear to be climbing varieties that had been trimmed but they were growing like neat shrubs. The plant list suggests it’s a bush form of Lonicera belgica but I can’t find any reference to this online. Has anyone any ideas?
I loved this Pennisetum ‘Red Buttons’ which had been used en masse lining the edge of a path in the same way lavender is often used.
It’s a day that, looking back at it now, prods me in the direction of what I want from the coming a year. To experience more gardens, spend more time with friends and meet more people who share my love of plants.
Chelsea Flower Show is packed with so much to see that it’s a bit hard to take it all in when you’re actually there. Scrolling through the photos once I got home and seeing the coverage on TV always makes me wish I could pop back for another visit to soak it all up in a slightly less frantic way.
Where else would you see an orang-utan, a rose-bud encrusted gorilla, a £200,000 conservatory, bump into Christopher Biggins and see World War One commemorated with plants? The person dressed up as an orang-utan wandering around the World Vision garden seemed a bit random. The attention to detail on the rose-bud gorilla was incredible – there was a lavender elephant too – but I did wonder how anyone would have the patience to create such sculptures and whilst they smelt amazing, I couldn’t work out who would buy one. That’s a thought which quite often creeps into your head at Chelsea. As spectacular as the Khora dome-roofed conservatory was it’s hard to imagine who would part with £200,000 for such a building. But those hospitality tents at Chelsea aren’t there just to feed and water the plant lovers who visit over the course of the week. As Ed Cumming’s wrote last year in The Telegraph, Chelsea has become a place for big businesses, politicians and dignitaries to network. Who knows, perhaps Khora’s order book will be full by the end of the week.
The Fresh Gardens are smaller spaces with a more contemporary feel. The’ In the Mind’s Eye’ Garden for the RNIB was fantastic. Designed as a sensory garden it had water, textural planting and vibrant colours. The colour combinations in some of the borders might not appeal to everyone as there was a lot going on but it was designed with those with visual impairments in mind where extra colours and contrast are important. I was so pleased this won ‘Best in Show’ in its category. The quirky House of Fraser Garden really caught my eye. I loved the colours on display and the idea that textile design can be inspired by nature.
In the Great Pavilion I came across this beauty, Silene diocia ‘Firefly’. I wonder if it would make a good cut flower?
I thought the Heucheraholics stand commemorating the First World War was outstanding.
The Hillier’s exhibit was something else. They take their displays at Chelsea to another level with trees as tall as the pavilion and so many plants packed into their space it was quite breathtaking.
The Chelsea Florist of the Year competition and the row of dresses decorated with flowers and plant material was really inspiring and I took an epic amount of photos of the incredible detail.
And who could resist a photo on this cutie? He was one of the dogs brought in to check the showground for explosives before the Queen arrived. Tail wagging, he was lead into the gardens sniffing for anything untoward. They’re obviously trained to not to eat anything they shouldn’t. Imagine if they got a rogue dog in one year who took a fancy to some violas or who cocked his leg on a box ball.
My favourite part of Chelsea has to be the Serpentine Walk in a leafy area where you’ll find the Artisan Gardens. In this quiet secluded spot it’s much easier to appreciate the gardens and plants. I wish the RHS would devote a separate space to the Fresh Gardens. In my opinion, the Fresh Gardens suffer from being just off Main Avenue in front of the Great Pavilion – there’s just so much competing for your attention. It’s often hard to know what’s a garden and what’s a trade stand. I thought the planting on Jo Thompson’s ‘Town Square’ Garden was so beautiful but it all got rather lost in amongst the giant potpourri animals and expensive barbecues. How different it would have been if Jo’s garden had been placed in a similar setting to the Artisan Gardens.
So that’s it for another year but there’s plenty for me to take away from Chelsea 2014. I’ll be seeking out plum and wine coloured flowers for my cutting patch next year. I’m hoping to take inspiration from the floral dresses for the book I’m working on and, thanks to Mr Kazuyuki, I want to learn more about Japanese gardens.
2014 will be the year I sow when I’m meant to sow. My little plants won’t be ravaged by slugs. I will actually get round to planting some lilies in pots by my front door, after 7 years of saying I would but never actually doing it. I will ‘Chelsea Chop’ when Chelsea is on, rather than remembering in late June when the time has passed. In 2014 I will try not to sow too many seeds in my trays. I will then attempt to be ruthless when thinning and potting on. I will endeavour to put seed labels back in their home in the greenhouse rather than festoon them in a multitude of places. This will avoid the ‘hunt the plant label’ diversion which turns a relaxing afternoon pottering into a frustrating few hours with little to show for my effort. I will clean and sharpen my secateurs and flower snips after use, rather than waiting until they wouldn’t cut through jelly. But, most of all I will learn to accept that gardening isn’t about rules and perfection, it’s about fun and love and fresh air and butterflies. It’s about squeakily-fresh French beans, the sweetest of podded peas, sun warmed strawberries and buckets full of flowers. And if I don’t manage to keep any of my gardening resolutions then it doesn’t matter . . . Well, apart from the lilies one, because I REALLY do want to grow lilies this year.
Wishing you all a ‘Happy New Year’. I hope 2014 is a wonderful year for you all. Happy gardening! WW x
I spent this weekend in my native north-east. I haven’t lived there for about 18 years now but I’m always interested by the responses I get when people ask where I’m from and I say County Durham. To be honest I gave up saying County Durham a long time ago, after too many blank expressions. I tend to say the more vague term, the north-east now. I did once have a very odd and confusing conversation with someone who, it turned out, thought County Durham was in Northern Ireland.
I’m often taken aback by the perceptions of the north-east in general. I was chatting with a builder once who thought there was no need to improve the road network in the north because why did anyone want to travel up there anyway. He had left southern England once in his 40 odd years of life for a trip to the Lake District and you could tell it had been a traumatic experience for him, one not to be repeated. I’m not sure where he classed as ‘north’ but I got the feeling it was a few miles outside High Wycombe. The idea I come across most is that the region is still blighted by its industrial past. Of course, there are places where this is true but there are also areas that are as stunningly beautiful as anywhere else I have ever visited.
The Durham Dales are a part of the North Pennines and are as idyllic as their Yorkshire counterparts but lacking in the hordes of tourists. One of my favourite spots is the area around Middleton in Teesdale, with the quintessential dry stone walls of the dales dividing the land and fields dotted with barns in various states of standing. This must be one of the few rural areas where these farm buildings haven’t been converted into smart homes, here they still provide homes for owls and bats, and provide the perfect focal point for photos. The river that rises high on the fells and cuts its way through the countryside is the Tees. In stretches it’s gentle and meandering but in the area around Middleton its path is interrupted by a series of impressive waterfalls, the most dramatic of which, the imaginatively named High Force, is England’s highest.
On Saturday we walked from Holwick Scar, a dramatic rock formation looming above us down to the river, and then along a stretch of the Pennine Way past Low Force up to the viewing point overlooking High Force. A short detour was required fairly early on when a couple with a dog walked through a field full of cows and calves. Predictably to us but seemingly not to the couple the cows became distressed at the sight of the dog. Very close to being pinned against the wall they emerged unscathed. Annoyingly for us though we were meant to walk through that field but walking past a herd of snorting and agitated cows which included an enormous bull didn’t appeal. Fortunately Wellyman had a back up plan and after retracing our steps we found an alternative, cow-free route down to the river.
One of my first memories of a school trip was to this area. It was a foul day with low cloud, rain and a wind howling across the fells. I remember the teachers trying to impress on a bunch of cold, bored 7 year olds the importance of the landscape. I must have been a bit of a strange child as I was the only one who seemed to enjoy that trip and the bleakness of the countryside. I’ve had a soft spot for this place ever since. On this visit though the sky was blue and the landscape shone in its full glory. For any lover of wild flowers it’s heaven. This quiet tucked away corner is one of the most important natural landscapes we have, with nowhere else in Britain having so many rare habitats in one place. The species rich upland hay meadows are some of the rarest habitats in the UK and some of the best examples can be found here in Teesdale. The meadows are breathtaking. Before the intensification of agriculture in the mid-twentieth century the sight of great burnet, eyebright, orchids and lady’s bed straw swaying in the breeze would have been typical. Now it is a rarity. The fluffy white flowers of meadowsweet filled the air with their heady fragrance and huge clumps of thistles could be smelt before you saw them. Needless to say there were bees and butterflies everywhere. I haven’t seen so many honey bees in one place since I did a beekeeping course last year. The fields teemed with devil’s bit scabious and its lilac pincushions and with delicate harebells, and tucked in amongst some stone steps were the small leaves and flowers of one of our rare native alchemillas.
Walking up towards the waterfalls we entered the Moor House Nature Reserve. This is a landscape created by the last Ice Age but the remarkable thing is that there is still a tangible link with this period. Rare alpine/arctic plants still survive here, long after the ice sheets have melted. The most charming is the spring gentian with the bluest of blue flowers. I have yet to see this in flower but it’s on my list of things to do next year. I did however see the mountain pansy. At first I spotted one by the side of the path and then as I started to look more carefully they were dotted about everywhere.
This part of Teesdale is also internationally important for its juniper population. One of Britain’s small number of native evergreen shrubs, juniper is under threat. Once used to flavour meat and gin, juniper berries are now imported for these uses as changes in land use and overgrazing have pushed our native plants close to extinction. And now a fungal disease, Phytophera austocedrae is attacking the plant too. Moor House Nature Reserve is home to the UK’s second largest area of juniper scrub. On the side of sheltered slopes juniper grows into shrubby bushes, some up to 6ft tall. In less sheltered spots it forms smaller, prostrate-growing plants, gnarled and stunted by the winds that whip through here. Covered in berries which were just starting to turn black it felt quite a privilege to see one of Britain’s rarest plants.
There’s always a dilemma when you know of a quiet, unspoilt place and whether to share the well-kept secret. I’m passionate about many things and one of them is the beauty of my home county. I hope I’ve shown with this post that the north-east isn’t just a landscape defined by heavy industry, it’s one of beauty too, and that there are some true botanical gems to be found there.
P.s. If you do plan a trip to the area there’s the added bonus that one of the best plant nurseries I know is close by in Eggleston. To find out more read my blog post.
The last few days have been a real joy. After a week of grim weather last week I thought emigration was the only option. June was just around the corner and I was still wearing a woolly hat and two pairs of socks. Then Friday came, the wind dropped, the sun shone and I finally felt some warmth on my skin.
Us Brits have a reputation for being a bit introverted but I’m sure some of our national psyche is influenced by the weather. Just look around you on a sunny day and see how people are smiling, how relaxed they look. We seem to spend way too much time in this country huddled from the wind, rain or snow. I noticed the other day that after a spell of hard work on the plot I didn’t ache quite so much. Maybe it’s just my body becoming ‘allotment fit’ but I think finally being able to ditch the layers and feel some warmth might have had something to do with it.
The appearance of summer at last resulted in a mammoth planting session at the plot. The windowsills look bare after months of staring through a haze of greenery and the allotment is starting to take shape. The nasturtiums sown in March were planted out on Friday and we’ve already had our first flowery addition to a salad. The gooseberries and blackcurrants are laden with tiny fruit, and flowers on the tayberry and broad beans hold so much promise of tasty treats to come.
Saturday was devoted to fence building. At the end of the plot we have a small area that was fenced off in a rudimentary way by the previous tenants. A few weeks ago I leant on it and it collapsed. Not a case of too much cake, the wood had rotted and now it all needed replacing. Pallets were employed to construct a basic screen and with three left over the plot now has a second compost heap too. It did look a little like pallet city but after a lick of paint this morning they look much better.
The icing on the cake had to be a visit to some open gardens on Sunday. My lovely postie David mentioned that his village was opening up their gardens to raise money for the village hall and that his mum’s cottage garden would be one of them. Not one to turn down the opportunity to nosy around other people’s gardens and miss the chance to eat cake we popped along. We thought we’d only be an hour or so but four hours later it had turned into one of those unexpectedly lovely days. We walked further than we’d planned, visited all twelve of the gardens and met some really lovely people.
The village on the south side of a ridge overlooks the Black Mountains and the ancient forest of Wentwood. With unbroken sunshine the views were incredible. It’s a linear village with houses dotted alongside country lanes running down to a river at the bottom. What I love about open gardens is that you get to see such diversity. In many ways I find these gardens much more inspiring than any show garden at Chelsea. The location of the village means that many of the gardens are sloping and it was interesting to see how they coped with this. Terracing and raised beds were used to great effect. There was Church Cottage, a small sheltered garden planted in a typical cottage garden style. A wonderful lilac greeted us at the gate and narrow paths took us through a garden packed with perennials.
Lower Glyn Farm is a 9 acre garden with a more naturalistic feel which merged into the surrounding 80 acres of woodland. How many gardens can boast a cricket pavilion, bought on eBay and now positioned by the side of a lake? The owners use it for parties; I imagined writing there.
The Lodge was the garden of my postie’s mum. A real plantswoman, she was a great source of information and I came away with the inspiration for a small part of my own garden. I’ve been wondering what to do with it for a while but Sambucus nigra and a species rose will form the basis for a new planting scheme. She was such a lovely lady, she even gave me this lovely plant.
It was heartening to see new gardens being created by young families and in most growing fruit and vegetables was clearly a fundamental part of wanting to garden. There were orchards, both old and new, and the local wildlife must have been happy with a range of bug hotels, log piles and ponds to set up home in.
The combination of the sun, gardens and apricot upside-down cake made for a memorable day but there was something else. There was an enviable sense of community in this small village. The school and chapel both closed in the late eighties and the village hall is now the hub of life here. We met people who had lived and gardened here for over 40 years. For someone who has moved so frequently and doesn’t really feel like she has roots anywhere I find this remarkable. The strange thing is, an afternoon wandering around these gardens, meeting such warm and friendly people made me feel like I am finally starting to connect with somewhere. Whilst I might not live in this delightful village, Monmouthshire is such a beautiful county, it’s a place I love, a place where I’d liked to stay, for a little while longer, at least. Funny what plants can do.
I would like to thank Jo at Jo’s The Good Life for giving me an award for my blog. It is very much appreciated. I only started blogging a couple of months ago but I love it and it is so lovely to read your comments and when you like something I have written. I love knowing there are people who are as potty about plants as I am.
In the spirit of the award I would like to nominate 5 blogs that I really enjoy reading.
Please take a moment to stop by these blogs to have a read if you don’t already do so.
Over at Garden Faerie’s Musings, Monica got to thinking what was the story behind blog names and so she has written a post encouraging people to share why they chose their blog name. I’ve loved reading about where people have taken their inspiration from, whether it be a book, a relative or the landscape around them.
So I thought I’d share with you why I became ‘wellywoman’. To answer Green Tapestry’s question about whether I have wellies permanently welded to my feet, no I don’t, although there are times here in Wales when I feel I should. There’s a reason why the countryside is so green, it does rain quite a lot.
I wanted to have wellies in my name because when I’m wearing them I’m doing something I love, whether that is working in my garden, tending the allotment or walking in the countryside. From mid March to mid October I’m probably in my wellies everyday. I used to garden in walking boots because they were so warm and comfy but they were such a pain to get off in a hurry, for example needing the toilet or to answer the phone without treading half the garden onto the kitchen floor. Invariably my jeans would get wet and muddy and I was also suffering from a lot of insect bits on my legs. And then one Christmas Wellyman got me some lovely green Hunters. Now I wouldn’t be without them.
I love going to the allotment in my scruffy jeans and wellies because it isn’t about your image and what you look like. Don’t get me wrong I like nice clothes and shoes but I am the sort of person that gets dressed up and then ladders my tights and leans against something ending up with a dirty mark on my dress or cuts my finger but doesn’t realise until I’ve left a trail of blood over my clothes. I was in awe of Joanna Lumley and the white trousers she wore for her travels around Greece for her recent TV programme. I think I’m more of a paint and mud splattered jeans and wellies kind of girl.
I was actually going to be ‘wellygirl’ but discovered someone from Wellington, New Zealand already had this name. Although they hadn’t posted on their blog for a long time which miffed me slightly. So that’s when ‘wellywoman’ came about. To be honest, I’m in my mid thirties now so ‘girl’ was probably stretching it a bit anyway.
So that’s the story behind ‘wellywoman’. I just want to say thanks to Garden Faerie for this great idea. Why not go over to her blog and share the story behind your name.
Echinacea – from the Greek echinos meaning hedgehog.
Digitalis – from the Latin for a finger, referring to the flowers which look like fingers of a glove.
Antirrhinum – from the Greek anti meaning resembling and rhis, a snout referring to the shape of the flower.
The botanical names for plants have a bit of an image problem. My Dad thinks I’m being ‘posh’ when I say a Latin name, lots of people are put off by the idea of learning them because they think they’ll be difficult to understand and pronounce and what does it matter anyway whether you know the Latin for a plant. But I find it a fascinating addition to my love of plants and it can prove quite useful to know a few words of Latin when it comes to understanding plants.
Several years ago I decided to go back to college and study horticulture. Initially I did a garden design course where the tutor was very keen on us learning the Latin names for plants. I then went on to do some RHS courses where learning the Latin names was an essential part of curriculum. I’ll admit I didn’t enjoy having to learn a huge number of Latin names on the off chance they would be on the exam paper (they weren’t) but it did open up a fascinating world.
Before the mid 18th century a plant could be known by many different names. This meant it was difficult to know if you were talking about the same plant and this became even more problematic with the trade in plant material and different languages. Even today bilberries are known by many different names across just the UK, including whinberry, wimberry, blaeberry and whortleberry. Imagine if that was the case with all plants. Well we have the Swedish botanist Linnaeus to thank for the way we know plants today. In the mid 18th century he set about classifying the whole living world. I wonder if he sat down at breakfast one day and actually thought, ‘I’m going to give everything living thing 2 names and put them into related groups’. That is quite a task, rather puts my sorting through my seed packets into perspective! He devised a system whereby the first name or Generic name is like our surname and then the second name, the specific epithet, is like our Christian name.
A lot of the names are derived from Ancient Greek but were Latinised and what a lot of people don’t realise is that there are actually using these ‘proper’ names quite often. Cosmos and Clematis are both from Greek and Verbena is the Latin name for Vervain.
Apart from the idea that one man devised a system over 250 years ago that works so well, I love the idea that if I know just a few pieces of Latin I can understand a bit about that plant when I see its name on a label. For example, Chimonanthus praecox comes from the Greek cheima for winter and anthos for a flower and, if as to emphasise this plants main attribute even more, praecox means early, referring to its early flowering. I could see this label on a nondescript plant in a garden in summer and know that it did its thing in the winter. This isn’t to say the names are always quite as useful, those named after the person who discovered them, for instance. But, if you know that siberica means from Siberia then that will give you some understanding of the conditions that plant grows in.
So embrace the Latin, you never know what you might discover.
I can recommend the book Plant Names Simplified by Johnson and Smith, published by Old Pond Publishing.Available from Amazon. It is an excellent little book which is really a glossary containing over 1000 entries of plants commonly found in gardens.
I recently posted about my visit to the arboretum at Westonbirt in Gloucestershire and my love for trees so Flighty at flightplot kindly sent me a link to www.thetreeyear.wordpress.com. It is a blog to celebrate trees in this, 2011 The Year of the Tree, allowing people all over the world to blog about a tree or trees that are close to their heart. The idea is to pick a tree/s and study that tree throughout the year. To record how the tree changes through the seasons, what wildlife uses the tree, what plants grow around the tree, in fact anything that tells the story of a year in the life of that particular tree.
What an amazing idea. I love it. Anything that makes us take a closer look, to appreciate our natural environment is so worthwhile. Unfortunately, I have come to all this a little late in the year but I still wanted to contribute so I want to introduce you to my crab apple tree.
I don’t know what variety it is. The tree was already here when we bought the house. It is such a beautiful tree that gives me a lot of pleasure.
In Spring it is smothered in whitish-pink blossom that has a beautiful fresh scent. I will always stop to have a sniff – a smell that embodies Spring. As the blossom fades fresh green leaves unfurl. These zingy fresh leaves provide a perfect background to the Spring flowers bursting into life. Then, as Spring merges into Summer the tree has a quiet spell allowing other plants to steal the attention. Occasionally I will notice that little green fruits are beginning to swell, a taster of what is to come. As daylength shortens and temperatures start to drop, the fruit now the size of a small sweets, become streaked with red. Then, by the middle of autumn, the whole tree is covered in glowing red balls of tiny apples. This is how the tree looks now.
I’m not the only one to appreciate this tree. The birds love its myriad of branches, providing them with somewhere to perch, safely hidden from predators. The RSPB recommends crab apples not just because they provide valuable food for birds in winter but also because they are home to over 90 varieties of insects. Bees love the tree as well when it is in blossom, gorging on the nectar.
That’s all for now but I will post again between now and the end of the year with other stories and photos from my crab apple. Take a look at thetreeyear for more tree tales.