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Little Donkey, mahonia and Season's greetings

Date posted: Friday 24th December 2021

Little Donkey, mahonia and Season's greetings

A very sweet starring appearance this afternoon of these two outside St John’s Church, before the 4.00 service. ‘Little Donkey’ and all those childhood Christmas songs and carols bringing back the seasonal nostalgia.

As if the past days of dull, overcast cloud haven’t been enough to lower the festive spirits, we now appear to be in another virtual lockdown as omicron sweeps through the nation at an alarming pace. My heart goes out to all those in the entertainment, performing arts and hospitality sectors who were pinning their hopes on a good pre-Christmas bookings, only to be experiencing massive cancellations as folk decide to play it safe and keep away from busy, crowded venues. A sad post in the paper today about Christmas trees being sold off for £1 and, in one instance for as little as 2p due to customer drop-off at an alarming rate.

Meanwhile, it’s been mostly so mild that the bees are still out foraging and plants that would normally have been long over are still flowering – salvia, scabious and primula all out with the emerging cyclamen and winter flowering plants. Only one hard frost a few mornings ago and still a lot of flowering plants going. One of the very best for birds, insects and for fragrance is mahonia, with it’s sweetly scented yellow flowers attractive to bees etc, followed by the black berries for birds to forage, and it’s spiny, spikey leaves make it a good defensive barrier plant – multiple uses! The sarcococca is another wonderful winter time plant with it’s delicately intense fragrance, almost like lily of the valley. Daphne, winter box and other winter flowering plants have tiny flowers with intense scent but you have to get close up!

The robins continue their slightly melancholy winter song and the fieldfares are now arriving in large groups, foraging along Church Grove Passage. At this time of year the blue tits, great tits and often long tailed tits flock together and you can see and hear little groups of them along the walk into the park.

Here’s to a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful, Safe and Healthy New Year to all!