News and Events

January 2022 – Jobs to do in the Garden

Happy New Year to you all!

After such an incredibly unseasonably mild end to December and start to 2022, we could be forgiven for thinking that Spring was just around the corner! Sadly, I fear this is not the case and our real Winter has yet to arrive.

The upside of this is that we still have those bitterly cold days to look forward to, staying warm by the logburner or fire, while planning the projects in our garden for this year. 


Many plants are likely to need protection and maintenance at this time of year. Brush any snow from evergreens and conifers to stop the branches from being weighed down and breaking.  If wet weather has made ornamental grasses fall flat, start cutting these back to give them a fresh start. Check any fleece or straw is still in place covering tender plants such as tree ferns. 

Stop ponds and bird baths freezing over by leaving a tennis ball to float on the water.

Clearing, Weeding & Mulching

Remove any remaining dead top foliage from non-shrubby plants, fork over the soil between plants, burying any weeds. If feasible, continue digging heavy soils to be broken down by Winter frosts.  After plenty of rain, start mulching beds and borders with leaf mould, manure, compost or shredded bark – a layer 5-10cm deep is ideal.


Thin out all dead and diseased branches from established trees and shrubs. Winter prune Wisteria by cutting back all young shoots not required to within 3inches of the old wood. This will encourage new growth and increase the size of your plant.


Feed new plantings in late January with slow-release fertiliser such as Blood, Fish and Bone, but leave the application of faster-acting fertilisers such as Growmore until early March when the soil starts to warm up. 

Your garden birds will really benefit from your help at this time of year, so ensure you put out a variety of foods and water to give them a great start to their nesting season.

Tidying up

January is also an appropriate time for tidying your garden for Spring and maintaining or repairing your garden furniture and decking.

Tidy up the garden shed, cleaning, sharpening and oiling your gardening tools ready for action.

Recycle cut trees by shredding them for mulch or compost. Repair and stain or paint fences, pergolas and wooden furniture if weather conditions permit.

Scrub slippery garden decking and paving with hot soapy water, or apply path and patio cleaner. On dry sunny days ventilate greenhouses and conservatories and wash the greenhouse glass to let in more light. 

A Christmas Message from St Mary’s Church Yelverton

Christmas: The best kept secret?

According to ‘Bono’ the lead singer/songwriter of my favourite rock band, U2, ‘a secret is something you tell one other person’ (from the song ‘The Fly’, 1991). As I reflected on that claim, I began to see that there is some truth within it. How often have you heard people say to you (or you have said to them!) “don’t tell anybody, but…….”.

As we approach Christmas and the celebration of the birth of Christ, I wonder if the message of Christmas is becoming a secret? As the decorations go up and the lights are turned on, I wonder what is actually being celebrated in the minds of many? The true meaning of Christmas seems to be increasingly a secret as the sacred and the secular move further apart. But perhaps this is all part of God’s plan and we see this in the way he chose to reveal himself to the world.

In the nativity story in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, the angel visits Mary and Joseph individually with the message of the incarnation and the need to trust in God; only one small group of shepherds are visited by the angel on the hillside and encouraged to visit the new-born child lying in the manger. And in the Magi, we have another small group who alone seem able to interpret the mystery of the events unfolding before them, which fires them into action.

So perhaps the story of Christ, which began with the Word ‘in the beginning’ and continues to this day, has always been a secret to be shared with one other person? A secret to be passed on in love and in the trust that God will work through that sharing.

So who is the person you will tell the secret of Christmas to this year?

With every blessing to you and your loved ones.

Fr Chris.

Norfolk County Council Budget Consultation for 2022-23

There is currently a consultation open on the Norfolk County Council for the 2022/23 budget, where you can provide comments, including on the level of Council Tax and adult social care precept.

Some relevant paragraphs taken from the document, including the link to the comments form:

We now want to hear your views on our council tax and budget approach to help our elected councillors make the right, even if tough, decisions in agreeing a balanced budget for 2022-2023.

I wanted to alert you to the webpage where we published our budget consultation on Thursday 25 November. You can find out more at and have your say using our online feedback form.

Our consultation closes at midnight on Thursday 30 December 2021. Please note that if we receive any consultation responses after this date we cannot guarantee that we will be able to take them into account.

Voluntary Norfolk – Call for Volunteers

Voluntary Norfolk is looking for volunteers to support the NHS and vulnerable people needing extra help in the community. We have a wide variety of volunteer opportunities and are happy to work with you to find the volunteering role that is right for you, fits your interests, skills, location and availability.

You can click the below image for a PDF version:

Current volunteer vacancies, include supporting carers and the people they care for; volunteer drivers to assist patients in accessing key healthcare appointments; meet and greet, admin support and stock room roles in community hospitals and GP surgeries; marshals and administration roles at Covid vaccination centres; volunteers to help people with a newly diagnosed long term condition achieve health goals and improve their quality of life; volunteers to help clients use smart phones and computers to connect with family and friends and, of course, telephone befrienders to reduce isolation and loneliness.

All our volunteers are friendly, approachable, have a sympathetic manner, good communication skills, and are determined to help and support others living in Norfolk.

If you would like to have a conversation about the volunteering opportunities available at Voluntary Norfolk, please get in touch.

Email us at providing your preferred contact information, phone 07385 378740 and speak to a volunteer coordinator or leave us a message, or fill in the volunteer registration form for the relevant service you are interested in via this link:

We look forward to hearing from you and thank you for your help.

Gardening Tasks to do in December

After such a stormy end to November and with the shorter Winter days, we are now spending less time out in our gardens. However, there are still things to be done as the weather permits and the year draws to a close. We can continue with some tidying up, protecting any tender plants and ponds and helping the wildlife in our gardens.


Keep your bird feeders topped up with a variety of seeds, nuts and suet products and make water available.


Although it makes sense to water plants sparingly at this time of year, check regularly to ensure that any container plants and pots in the greenhouse don’t dry out completely.

Protecting Plants

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.

Indoors, move houseplants away from warm radiators and into a sunny, cool place where they will be happier.

Protecting Ponds

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 cancel the insulating effect of the frozen surface.

Relaxing and planning for next year

If you can, take some time to sit somewhere warm and comfortable and read some of the gardening magazines and books you never found time to read earlier in the year and conjure up some wonderful plans and planting schemes for next year.

Merry Christmas!

Church Meadow Lane Closure – 6th to 8th Dec

Church Meadow Lane, Bergh Apton, will be closed, 6th to 8th Dec 2021, next to the crossroads down the road from Green Pastures.

From the official notice:

…Anglian Water connection works are required at the C375 Church Meadow Lane from its junction with C374 Bergh Apton Road for 20m south-westwards in the PARISH OF BERGH APTON …