Snowdrops and aconites in abundance, and not a hint of really cold weather yet – warm for January, and wet.




Moles on the rampage

There have never been so many molehills. They are all over the grassy areas in this mild late January. Last year, we wondered whether to confront the problem or live with the moles. Time now to confront them.

Just heard on Gardeners’ Question Time that an unwanted Christmas present in the form of Chanel No 5 sprinkled down the holes sends them away. But for the rest of us, apparently a mothball in each hill can be pretty effective. To be tested.

What killed the carp?

Found the remains of a large carp on the bank of the pond, with a trail of scales and fins from the water. Where was it from and what ate it? The first question we solved but the second is still puzzling.

The fish was at least 30 cm, more likely 40, judging by the head and the other uneaten parts. The carp that found their way into our pond from the next door (we are linked by a reedbed) were tiddlers by comparison.

But our neighbour later came round to inspect it and revealed he had recently put a 15 year old specimen from his fish tank into his pond. It seems to have jumped the barrier between us, or been dragged over by whatever caught it.20140110-235224.jpg

The fish seemed almost too big for a heron, and in any case it had been eaten by something with a bite, while herons swallow whole. An otter? But the stream across the road from the garden is tiny and seasonal. Perhaps a cat? It would have needed a ferocious swipe of the paw to hook out that size of fish – tiger not tabby. Our bet is that the fish jumped and accidentally landed on the bank, where a cat or a fox found it.