It’s December. The unseasonal weather continued across November, the rodent numbers kept increasing and when it rained it did so with a vengeance. The method of delivery is very varied, there is the misty rain that we barely notice, that sneaks through clothing and drenches, and about which we become aware at the moment that our teeth start to chatter. There is the driving rain that makes the face tingle and then there was last month’s offering, the bed pan rain. That rapid soak, that has me thinking of an upstairs window pushed up to allow for a bucket or pan to be thrown out, damaging, drowning and very cold. Our recently dry landscape once more has become very soggy.
But, tis the season to be jolly, as we deck the halls with all sorts in the name of Christmas. So, here are a few bits to ponder. Year on year none of the rules change, but as a brief reminder, keep all watering of plants, especially seasonal ones, tepid and very modest. Keep house plants especially Poinsettias free from direct draught and with the exception of Poinsettias keep them at modest temperatures. The Poinsettia is a little tender and so will enjoy the living room heat, the rest will last longer without. Allow Hyacinths to get there in their own time, look for bowls that are planted with the same coloured bulbs for best effect and again lay off on the heat. When selecting your Christmas tree, check its freshness by rubbing the lower needles and seeing how easily they come free. Do have it in mind that the traditional Norway Spruce loses needles quite quickly, so don’t rush to get into the house. After two weeks it is a ticking bomb that will shatter at a touch. There are many thoughts about water and cutting the stem afresh before taking the tree in. I cut mine and stand the tree in a bucket of water in the garage to rehydrate the plant. It does make a difference. Trees like the Nordman are much less likely to spill needles, but they don’t smell the same and they do cost much more.
And finally let’s call a truce over Christmas. Yesterday I was in London and it rained. I took shelter beneath the arched gateway that is Marble Arch and as I stood, I detected a movement on the pavement at my feet. Looking down I realised that I had been joined by a mouse. He too looking for shelter and had no intention of being moved on by me. We actually looked at each other and then looked once more at the rain and awaited its passing. It was surreal.
Happy Christmas to you all, man and beast.