Things to do in the Garden – Jan 2023

Another mild start to January which has encouraged snowdrops and other bulbs to start growing earlier than usual. While we enjoy some milder dry days there are lots of small jobs to do in our gardens, some ideas are listed below.

Plants to buy this month

• Snowdrops and hellebores. Buy plants in flower, so you can choose the blooms you like

General Garden maintenance

• Clear soggy leaves, algae and moss from paths, patios, decking and steps
• Top up bird baths with fresh water and feed birds high energy food to help them through the cold weeks ahead, remembering to scrub the feeders regularly
• Repair wobbly or damaged fences
• Give your lawn mower a basic service while not in use
• Put up bird boxes in sheltered spots, on tree trunks, sheds or walls
• Clean and sharpen your tools, including hoes, secateurs and shears. Spray metal tools with oil
• Sprinkle an all-purpose fertiliser along the base of hedges and around shrubs
• Trim back ivy, Virginia creeper and other climbers
• Give empty pots and seed trays a thorough wash and scrub

A coal tit facing right on a tree stump

Flowerbeds

• Plant bare-root roses, shrub & hedging and ornamental trees, as long as the ground isn’t frozen
• Clear away and compost soggy, collapsed stems of perennials
• Remove larger leaves of established hellebores to reveal the flowers
• Press mistletoe berries into the bark of apple trees to establish your own mistletoe plants
• Clear leaf debris from small alpines
• Move dormant plants that are in the wrong place to more suitable sites
• Check for rot on stored bulbs and tubers, and ensure dahlia and canna tubers haven’t totally dried out

Pruning

Yellow secateurs

• Continue pruning climbing roses, while they are dormant
• Prune apple and Pear trees

Greenhouse

• Sow winter salads in a greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill, for harvesting in a few weeks
• Tidy up the greenhouse, disposing of any broken pots & old compost etc
• Move potted strawberry plants under cover to encourage early fruiting
• Prepare your greenhouse for spring – look at ventilation, shading & heating
• Ventilate the greenhouse on sunny days to prevent humidity building up

Police Budget Consultation is Now Open

Boring title isn’t it! But this is relevant to the 2023-2024 Council Tax proposal so we thought we would publicise it.

Here’s a copy from the email sent to us by the Norfolk association of local councils:

Police Budget consultation now live – Have Your Say

Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Giles Orpen-Smellie has launched his Police Budget Consultation.

Residents of Norfolk are being asked if the PCC should increase the police precept of council tax for the coming year.

Last year, the PCC toured Norfolk talking to people about policing in their communities. During the two-week consultation, Giles Orpen-Smellie will continue visiting libraries and community centres to discuss the challenges Norfolk Constabulary face in a financially challenging environment.

The consultation is a legal requirement that the PCC must carry out each year. 

Having discussed funding with the Chief Constable Paul Sanford, Giles is seeking the community’s support for a precept rise of 5.2%.

Based on a 5.2% increase, a Band D property would pay an extra £14.94 or 29 pence per week and a Band B property would pay £11.62 a year or 22 pence a week.

In the published information Giles said: “Resources are limited, demand for policing services is growing and policing cannot compromise. The policing family is bigger than the officers on the front line – it takes a range of different services to support them, including police staff, members of the Special Constabulary and other vital volunteers.

“Significant savings have already been made but, put simply the police need the tools to do their job and if we are to maintain the same level of service as last year those working behind the scenes need to be funded.

“I have discussed with the Chief Constable every possibility to save money across current staffing capability and activity and I can assure you that the constabulary are as efficient in using your money as they possibly can be.

“I recognise that no-one likes to pay more tax but the choice before us, sadly, is either to pay a little more or to risk reducing the policing service available to the public.”

Paul Sanford, Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary said: “Our detectives now investigate more rape and sexual offences than any other crime with our public protection unit teams working tirelessly to manage offenders within our community.

“Policing has always been the service of first and last resort.  Our duty is to serve our communities to the best of our abilities, but at the moment this means handling situations outside the criminal realm, which we are feeling the impact of, now more than ever.

“When other agencies struggle to deliver their own service, we end up filling the gaps.

“While we will continue to work hard to maintain our service, you can trust, that we are only seeking an increase because we really feel it’s necessary.”

Have your say
The consultation will run until 5pm, Monday 16 January.

More information and the consultation survey can be found on the website: Police budget 2023/24 consultation | Norfolk PCC (norfolk-pcc.gov.uk)

Printed copies of the survey and consultation documents are also available and can be requested by contacting the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk (OPCCN) in the following ways:

Post: OPCCN, Jubilee House, Building 7, Falconers Chase, Wymondham, NR18 0WW

Telephone: 01953 424455

Email: opccn@norfolk.police.uk 

Road Closure – Framingham Earl Road next to the pond 16-23 Jan

This work will allow a new short section of footpath (and refuge for pedestrians) to be built adjacent to the Pond. Once complete, it will serve as a starting point for future improvements to access and seating at the Pond. More details on this will follow later this year as designs are developed for consideration.

Verbatim from the official notice:

To allow footway construction work at 76369 Framingham Earl Road, Yelverton to be carried out, it will be necessary to close the 76369 Framingham Earl Road from its junction with C374 Church Road, westwards for a distance of 55 metres. The work is expected to take 7 days to complete, weather permitting. The road will be closed from 16 January to 23 January.

Due to the nature of the work there will be no access past the works for vehicles, cyclists, horse and riders and pedestrians while the work is underway.

A fully signed official diversion route will be provided.
The County Council thanks people for their patience while this essential work is carried out.
For Further Information
Gary Overland (Highway Engineer) highways@norfolk.gov.uk
Up-to-date information about roadworks in Norfolk is available on the County Council website at http://www.norfolk.gov.uk/roadworks

Gardening Tasks – Dec 2022

With so much rain in November, most of our gardens are very wet underfoot so working in them has been a challenge on most days! Early December is meant to be drier and more settled so are likely to have our first serious frosts to welcome the start of Advent, which will certainly help conjure up more festive spirits leading up to Christmas.

Although there isn’t the urgency to do things in the garden, we can continue with some tidying up, protecting any tender plants and ponds and helping the wildlife in our gardens.

Watering

Plants need less water at this time of year, however, check regularly to ensure that any container plants and pots in the greenhouse don’t dry out completely.

Plant Protection


Protect tender palms and tree ferns. Pack a few handfuls of straw into the crown, tie up the leaves or fronds and wrap the whole plant in horticultural fleece or hessian tying it off securely at the bottom. Try not to use bubble wrap for this purpose as on warm days, your plants will sweat and rot.

Houseplants

Move houseplants away from warm radiators and into a sunny, cool place where they will be happier in the Winter months.

If very severe frosts are forecast, float a football on the water in concrete lined ponds. When the water freezes, the ball will absorb the ice pressure rather than cracking the concrete sides. Fish may suffocate if ice persists for long, so melt a hole by standing a metal pan on the surface filled with boiling water. Try not to break up the ice as when the broken ice falls into the water, this lowers the water temperature further and cancels the insulating effect of the frozen surface.

Feeding Birds

Keep your bird feeders topped up with a variety of seeds, nuts and suet products to give our garden birds a boost through the cold Winter days and ensure that water is available.

A coal tit facing right on a tree stump

Relaxing and planning for next year

Even with the run-up to Christmas and New year, hopefully you can find some quieter times where you can perhaps read some of the gardening magazines you never found time to read earlier in the year and look at those seed catalogues and planting ideas for next year.

Happy Christmas!