Heyford Gardening Club – December 2020


I can tentatively announce that we hope to have a talk via Zoom from Philip Aubrey on “Ponds and Water Features” on the 7th December. This is the third attempt at getting a talk from Philip, the previous occasions being sabotaged by travel problems and the first lockdown. We hope that this will be third time lucky! Full details will be announced in due course.

Autumn Pleasures
This autumn so far has been rather soggy but the lack of cold weather has meant that many plants are still performing in November; we have a red dahlia full of flower, our raspberries are producing an occasional handful of fruit and the Eleagnus x ebbingei and the winter flowering viburnums are filling the garden with scent. I sowed some calendula seeds in August with a view to having them flowering in the spring but they grew so well that they began flowering at the end of September and are still in full swing.

Last year our winter jasmine produced no flowers at all despite a healthy amount of growth, and I suspected our horde of sparrows of having eaten the buds. However this year we are getting a show of flower so perhaps they were innocent. On the negative side I am seeing a lot of greenfly about the garden as the weather is mild but there are fewer predators around.

The joys of of being untidy
On my allotment I have a bucket which I use to steep comfrey leaves to make plant feed. When I came to remove the rotted leaves I discovered several maggots with long tails living there. These are “rat tailed maggots”, the larvae of one of the larger species of hoverfly. The “tails” of these grubs act as snorkels as they live in stagnant water where there is no oxygen. As these flies are useful pollinators I replaced the decaying vegetation and will have to wait until spring for my fertiliser. On another occasion I was splitting a log, part of which was decaying only to discover a very large grub in a hole in the wood. This looks to me very much like the larva of the stag beetle, a creature which is becoming rare because so little wood is allowed just to rot away naturally. Hopefully this particular grub will be able to eat its way further into the log which I left for it.

Things to do in December and January
Just take time to think about the past year and its successes and failures and use that to make plans for the coming year.

Don’t forget to take advantage of any good weather to look at the garden and see
how the shoots and buds will be already presaging the coming spring.

Mark Newstead



For more information visit the Heyford Gardening Club & Allotments page


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