To me, waking up to look out on the spectacular sunrises against blue skies over recent days has been compensation enough against the persistent frosts existing outside in a return to winter; and the presence of a pair of Magpies, settled on my Damson tree in as I drew back the blinds, was a bonus, in adding a new species to my garden bird list
We took advantage of Sunday’s settled weather by accepting an invitation, from old friend and sculptressJackie Roberts who had flown in from her home in Malta to present her interpretation of the natural environment at her public exhibition, The Nature of Metal” at Dawyck Botanic Gardens, near Peebles. It was well worth both her journey and ours!
It was pleasing to find the lambs’ tail catkins of Hazel fully opened on the small tree in front of the newly refurbished restaurant there and which motivated me to purchase from the associated shop a few packets of certified seed potatoes, viz. Arran Victory, Kinjg Edwards and Edzell Blues, all older varieties which, to someone of my generation, bring back wartime memories of planting them in allotments when ‘digging for victory’. These ‘seeds’ which will be supplemented by s few selected ware potatoes, such as Golden Wonders from local fruiterers, will soon be laid out for chitting (sprouting) in a dark, frost free corner of my garage, ready to be planted out in April.
A short walk around Dawyck garden amongst the plethora of Snowdrops soon led me to find a few shrivelled stalks of the flower arrangers favourite, Ostrich Fern, amongst the plant collection, this unusual species thriving closer to home on the banks of the river below Leslie House and again by the burn in Balbirnie Park and well worth looking out for later in the year.
On Monday morning at home we heard an early contribution being made by Blackbird, Dunnock and Robin to the dawn chorus of 2012, before these same birds assembled around our back door, as we raised the conservatory blinds, in anticipation of whatever crumbs we ‘d share with them, while an assortment of tits took advantage of the fare in the nut baskets hanging overhead.
Tom Gray writes for the Glenrothes Gazette