‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’. I must confess we love Christmas here at Bumblebee farm. Because it’s a busy season for us we are into the swing of it earlier than most and by now are decorated and fully festive. The smell of pine cones, seasonal foliage, orange and cinnamon have been getting us in the mood for weeks. Almost all the prep is done – crates of wired cones, bunched twigs and cinnamon, dehydrated orange and apple slices and divine hydrangeas all ready to be assembled.
Hypericum cream is at the ready, as it’s the only thing that keeps my hands working; holly looks amazing but boy it hurts.
We lost another tunnel in the last run of storms but everything happens for a reason and I feel this is the ‘kick’ I need to implement the changes here on the farm. ‘There’s never an ill wind that doesn’t blow some good’ even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. We have to cut our losses for now but New Year and new beginnings to come.
The first flowers are appearing on the paper whites – I can smell them already – Amaryllis buds appearing, hellebores flowering, well especially Argutifolius – Christmas is definitely on its way; for me these are the seasonal beauties, easy to grow and long-lasting if left in their pots as opposed to using merely as a cut flower.
Amelia bless her was a bit unlucky and only managed to hatch one chick successfully but she’s a mum now and thoroughly enjoying it – but with sixteen hens two cockerels and eight to still be decided it’s enough.
Ringing the seasonal changes in our bird life brings large flocks of Fieldfares and Redwings in abundance. I love watching them, they have a very deliberate flight pattern, not as majestic as starling murmurings but impressive none-the-less. Our goldfinches are back again in numbers enjoying the knapweed and teasel seeds.
Our latest delight has to be regular visits from our smallest bird the Goldcrest, it’s a joy going out my kitchen door to a veritable chorus of these little darlings. I’m easily pleased really.
Strimming over the snowdrops and early spring bulbs still has to be done, but a must to really be able to enjoy these winter beauties. I do love seeing the bare bones of the garden in winter; it shows the bits of wisteria I missed with summer pruning but the nicer bits are the contorted willows and hazel that really come into their own at this time of year. This will be the last outside work for this year unless we have a storm disaster. I have to compartmentalise the workload for now and concentrate on indoor festive work.
Please do let some ‘mess’, as it can be a lifeline to small mammals and invertebrates, seedheads and gone over flowers can look very striking in winter sunshine, cobwebs are like living sculptures in early mornings with frost still on them, there is still so much beauty in the garden at this time of year – you just need to look at it a little differently, you’ll be surprised with what you may find.
I hope you have been enjoying the ‘Stetson&Stilettos’ series –by the time you are reading this, the Wicked Weddings episode it will have aired, so we hope you got to see it and enjoyed it. It will be on BBC later – when we know the date we will let you know. We loved doing all edible wedding flowers for the Bridal party and reception, honestly every single flower was edible. We are unable to attend any of our seasonal markets this year, as our order books are already full, it’s a wonderful complaint but we do apologise to those of you that would ordinarily have seen us there.
With that I will sign off and from all of us here on the farm we wish you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas.