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Thank heavens for winter-flowering plants. These hardy specimens often have tiny, inconsequential blooms, but they more than make up for them with their powerful, sweet fragrance. I rarely notice the flowers of Sarcococca hookeriana, but I’m always
. Like long-tailed tits, goldcrests eat insects and spiders, but specialise in tiny morsels such as moth eggs. Their beaks are designed to pick out insects from between pine needles. In really cold winters they will occasionally come to garden feeders, so keep
. Undeterred, I thought I’d try something else for 2013: yew, Taxus baccata. I’m very fond of yew; I love seeing gnarled old trees in graveyards, exploring the patterns and fissures of their bark. Left alone, yews can grow for centuries. One specimen
off in summer.
Chives, which refuse to grow in my shady garden; I miss them in potato salads.
Borlotti beans, for drying and storing in jars, then adding to winter stews. Butternut squash and several varieties of pumpkin, for hearty autumn soups
for food. Rather than hibernating, they’re spending winter fattening up and will be set free in a few weeks. Sadly, many of Sue’s hedgehogs – including a tiny one called Sheba – have been attacked by foxes.Unlike badgers, which are known predators