Hedgehogs in the Pampas Grass

The garden is bleak. Leaves rot on slimy paths, sunflower skeletons collapse against broken garden chairs, abandoned balls wait for dogs that don’t visit and snivelling chickens hang around the back door, hoping for company. Above all this the Pampas Plumes soar towards the sky. ‘Look at us’ they say. ‘See how we glow in the sun. Autumn is wonderful’.

Pampas Plumes in Winter

The point of Pampas Grass.

It comes from South America and sits like a great big pile of spikey nonsense. It takes up too much space and nothing else grows nearby. But in November it is worth it for these plumes.

It is known as a symbol of Autumn Joy and Hedgehog Protection.*

Pampas Grass
Hedgehog Protection

In November hedgehogs seek places to hibernate while we are trimming hedges, clipping lawns and tidying away all possible cover. Enter Google with How to Build a Hedgehog House. A hedgehog that survives winter, is one more hog in this world so I made this.

Hedgehog house

And then I noticed the tunnels into the pampas grass, the ones where the chickens go to hide their eggs. These tunnels are just the right size for hedgehogs. 

Research reveals that a pampas is the equivalent of a hedgehog housing estate.  There could be several dozen hedgehogs sleeping in there. Snoring even. They are known to snore quite loudly. Maybe they will shatter the lockdown silence when they get going. Nobody moved into my brick house, but hopefully the pampas is full.

Tunnel for Hedgehog to go into Pampas Grass
Opening to the main tunnel on the left. Look carefully for faint hedgehog footprints in the earth.
Autumn Joy

Autumn begins with bravely admiring the golden leaves, and crispy sunshine, but grey days lurk like Grokes. Beware feeling guilty about not being happy, as it takes up all your time, and then it gets dark. Take a leaf out of the Pampas grass and notice pleasing events. It helps not to be fussy about the level of joy you get from them. Any old joy will do. I found a few.

A good book

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. Essential reading if you have a nagging feeling that life would have been better if only you had done it differently.

Bad reality TV

I recommend ‘Cruise Ship Disaster’. Watch that for the joy of knowing that you are not tossing about in the North Sea on the end of a winch. ‘Heathrow, Britain’s Busiest Airport’ also works, if you don’t like queues.

Not getting stung

By a Portuguese Man of War

Red Rock Dawlish
On Tuesday, the beach looked like this. We decided to go in.
Swimming in November with dark skies
By the time we got in, it looked like this. We got out again quickly.
Portuguese Man of War on Devon beach
Found a Portuguese Man of War on the way out. The joy of not being stung when you could have been.
Kind burglars

The dead washing machine has been waiting for a lift to the tip since September. This week it disappeared!

Bits of washing machine left behind
Here lies the spot where the washing machine was. Just a panel and a pipe remain. The joy of not having to worry about going to the tip any more.
A quote

Moments of joy are slippery things. Here is a nice quote to hang on to if they elude you.

In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will be singing.
About the dark times.
– Bertolt Brecht, The Svenborg Poems

Maybe one day we will sing about Cummings and his cardboard box.

*That was a lie about the symbolism of pampas grass. Completely made up.

4 thoughts on “Hedgehogs in the Pampas Grass”

  1. Another glorious read Blossom! I do love pampas grass, and will now forever think of it with snoring hedgehogs tucked in beneath!

  2. Love the ‘made up’ pampas grass fact!!! I always thought they were planted on the front lawns of 1970’s ‘swingers’ as a…. sign…. that is also very probably a ‘made up’ fact!

  3. I am late to your blog but loved reading this about Autumn
    Facts,fibs and all
    Very inspiring
    Thank you

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