In which the larches needle the Grumpy Gardener

Needles everywhere

Think before you plant!  I wish I had done that more than 25 years ago when I planted a number of larch trees in my garden.  Some of them are now about 35/40 feet high and are lovely, particularly when spring’s green growth starts to split open.  But oh my goodness, do they make a mess.

We’ve known about it for years but this autumn the needle drop – millions of short orange/brown splinters about half an inch long – cover everything.  And I mean everything.

They are inches deep in some part of the garden.   They coat the paths and patios and block out the light for the pond.   They cover the drain grids.   Mrs GG is adamant that I walk them into the house and even the bedroom.  They don’t, of course, stick to her shoes – only mine.

They are in my car and I even scooped thousands of the little blighters from the electrical control box that operates our gates.  That’s all bad enough but the very worst feature is how they manage to infiltrate every single vegetable growing in my garden.   The nearest larch to the veg cage is a good sixty yards (I don’t use this Continental measurement) but, none the less, there they are in the sprouts, broccoli, spinach, kale and leeks – millions of them.   The really rotten thing is that I have nobody to blame but myself.

Acorns galore

I have no idea who – if anybody- formally declares whether it is or it isn’t, but by my calculations 2020 is a major year for acorns.   Last weekend I shovelled up four builder bags of them from beneath just two mature oak trees down my drive.   I can tell you that such a bag full up of acorns is really heavy to move about.   We’ve got a bit of space and I dumped them behind some trees – four mountains of potential oak trees.

Within 24 hours guess who had discovered them.  No, not the squirrels but a pair of cock pheasant.  I’ve seen them pecking about on tops of the heaps and they spend a lot of time there.

And up in the sky

We do have a new resident in the garden – a lovely mature buzzard.   He arrives around 7.45am and perches on one of the larch trees where he surveys the entire landscape.  Everything else keeps well out of his way.  He occasionally flaps down onto the ground where he appears to be feeding – on what I do not know – before flying back up to his perch.   He flies off on occasional forays into the countryside and usually leaves us around 3.00pm.

Last weekend I was helping Mrs GG peg out some washing when we both heard a crow calling from overhead.   Looking up he was annoying a red kite that appeared to be circling the garden on a thermal.  It’s only the third time we’ve seen the red kite over the garden and it’s a lovely sight.

I’ve got an awful job coming up that, with a bit of luck, I’ll be able to put off for a week or two.  All the bamboo canes that we used for the runner beans and tomato plants are now standing, dirty end up, against a wall.  When I eventually run out of excuses I’ll get a bucket of hot water with a strong dose of disinfectant in it, pinch one my wife’s kitchen sponges that has a green abrasive pad on one side and a pair of her rubber gloves, and set to work scrubbing off the old soil.  I’ll leave them outside to allow the frost to do its work, before drying off in a shed for next season.


Soon be time to sit by the fire.  Goodbye from the Grumpy Gardener and enjoy a safe Christmas and New Year.