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NovemberIn the Garden This Month
This month belongs to fireworks and not just of the pyrotechnical kind! Nature’s own autumn fire bursts can rival any man made display, creating searing spots of colour through gardens, in parks and woodland before the ground becomes a tapestry of leaf colours and shapes, leaving bare branches until next spring. Evergreens then come to the fore; standing sentries in the winter garden, providing protection for wildlife and festive foliage for our houses. Clipped Box and Yew take on a new dimension on frosty mornings, dusted with white.
Not everything sleeps this month. On still, sunny days the sweet scent of winter shrubs will be everywhere and the flat yellow flowers of Winter Jasmine start to appear on naked, bright green stems. Bird tables and feeders become more crowded as different species jostle for a place and the ground feeders including Chaffinch and Dunnocks clean up below. Blackbirds and Thrushes plunder the last of the berries from shrubs and trees – just when they seem to have left them alone.
Once the leaves have dropped from the trees, it is easier to spot birds as they flock together for the winter months. Many winter visitors arrive now and estuaries and wet lands become even more crowded. Starlings flock together in huge numbers and put on their aerial displays each evening before they roost for the night.
Hedges and verges are mostly bare now, but the seed heads of ‘Old Man’s Beard’ and the twisting vines of Black Bryony with its poisonous, bright red berries are clearly visible.
Hedgehogs and Dormice will have hibernated by now and bats will be seen less as they cut down on their activity through the winter. They will still take to the wing on warmer evenings. Toads and frogs will be in hibernation as well – frogs at the bottom of ponds and toads under stones or logs until next spring.
A walk in the countryside is a delight at any time of the year but winter holds a special magic and you will be surprised at what can still be seen!