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Great Haseley and District Horticultural Society - December 2017

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Over the last couple of months, we seem to have been under attack from all kinds of wildlife.

  The green woodpeckers are endlessly digging holes in the lawn in their quest for grubs; I guess that is providing some aeration and removing pests and they are pretty birds, but they do make quite a mess.  One morning we woke to find several larger holes in the lawn and were puzzled as to their origin.  They were too big for the woodpeckers, way too small for badgers and didn’t really look like rabbit damage.  In the end we concluded, given that the quantity of fox droppings around, this must be fox damage.  We frequently see foxes in the garden and the meadow and they are very healthy-looking.  This is in direct contrast to the foxes we see in North London around where our children live; those are mangy and look in terrible condition; it does seem to be better to be a fox in the countryside.

Talking about North London, when our son and his wife moved into their home, I described the major job of clearing the tiny garden which clearly hadn’t been entered for some years.  This gave our son the growing-things bug and he applied for an allotment only to be told that the waiting list was 37 years!  In due course, he and his wife became friends with another young couple along the road who not only had an allotment, but also found it too much and allowed him to tend part of it.  This small area has given the young family fruit and vegetables grown in raised beds for several years now.  This summer I was admiring his completely unprotected sprouting broccoli and asked why the birds had not destroyed the plants; the reply was that there are so many cats around them that there are virtually no birds!  Amazingly, they don’t seem to have much of a problem with caterpillars, either; perhaps the green spaces for growing are too far apart in urban areas for the butterflies to move around much?  Suddenly, the council decided to rearrange the allotment system, evicted those not caring for them and halving the size of the resulting vacant plots.  Our son has chosen the least weed-infested plot available, which is almost directly behind his garden, and started work; he even has inherited a shed which contains furniture for sitting out!  There is much excitement and his three-year-old has insisted on a sign which says “Daddy and Tom’s allotment’.

The squirrels have finally finished their nut picking for the year. Neither of us are very fond of walnuts, but my other half sees the theft of his nuts as a personal thing and spends much time thinking up new anti-squirrel measures, none of which have worked so far.  Who knew that squirrels could run at electric fencing and simply pass through without so much as a second’s hesitation?  The saga no doubt will continue next autumn.

We have been very fortunate with our November weather with quite a lot of sun and fewer dark, miserable days than usual.  Even though we have had frosts, there are a lot of plants still flowering which means winter will, hopefully, seem shorter this year!

Liz Moyses

For membership details (cost only £5 per family per year), please contact the membership secretary, Carys Lindsay
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