How to go Veggie? Click this link

Want to go veggie banner

Monday, June 29, 2009

Highlights of my gardening week.

I learned to string onions..... in a fashion ~ my fashion! I did google the procedure, had an attempt and this is the outcome. Aesthetics don't really matter too much..... it's all our own produce and we're chuffed to bits and I brought some more down from our allotment earlier today, so there will be a second string of onions going up in the greenhouse to dry off.

We called this little plot our 'Beatrix Potter Garden.' There are three rabbits in there but you can only see one now as the others are hiding. I began work on this small patch about six weeks ago and you can see how much it's progressed since then in an earlier post. The nasturtiums are running rampant in the old metal watering can and the runner beans have reached the top of the bamboo wigwam. It's fantastic protection for the smaller birds, frogs and field mice.

This is the fairy garden I first planted up in March of this year. Some of the moss has rooted.... other bits were tossed out the pot by the blackbirds and some is probably lining birds' nests. It still looks pretty though and I'm pleased with the clumps of moss that have become established. Other plants in the pot include a Rowan (Mountain Ash) sapling, a miniature rose, Sisyrinchium californicum (they're closed up in the photo, but are gorgeous when they open up in full sunlight) and the pink flowers are Rhodohypoxis, a name which I dislike as it sounds like some kind of disease. That gorgeous little flower deserves a much nicer name I think!

Despite the appearance, this photograph wasn't taken late at night. I took it with the light facing me, hence the dark dramatic image. It's Angelica, which is a herb that grows to over 6 feet tall. To the right of the picture is an obelisk with a crystal hanging from the centre. I like hanging crystals from trees, etc. as the reflective light is pretty.

Just to prove I can be artistic (not really as the camera does it all!), here is a close-up of a poppy.... the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum. I haven't had to sow these for years as the seeds are well and truly mixed up with the contents of our compost bin which means the poppies can turn up anywhere. I don't mind as they're stunning with their silky lipstick pink petals.

Other highlights have been 'Woody Woodpigeon' frightening the life out of me in the greenhouse and scattering many of the potted plants (him I mean, not me!), the Deppy family also giving me the heebie-jeebies as they scuttle about in the greenhouse and hearing our resident wren singing.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Evensong in the garden

Last night, just before dusk, I took a stroll round the garden. Above me, perched right on top of the Weeping Willow tree, there was a bird singing its little heart out. At first I thought it must be a blackbird as they like to position themselves at a height and seranade the world with their strong, melodic vocals. However, when I stepped back and looked up it was a tiny wren!

Facts I found out about the Wren

* Its latin name is Troglodytes troglodytes. Big title for a tiny bird.

* There are over
10 million wrens in the U.K. alone!

* Their vibrant song can be heard
a kilometer away!

* When a Wren sings if you look closely then you can notice it shakes with effort because of the high pitch and loud capacity.

* Wrens are one of the smallest birds and measure nine to ten centimeters long (9-10cm) and weigh eight to thirteen grams (8-13g)

* A wren chick eats 500-600 meals in a day! The mother barely get time to feed herself.

* The male builds several nests and the female chooses one in which to lay her eggs.

* The wren lays 2 clutches of eggs per breeding season, 5-8 eggs in each clutch.

Although vast numbers of wrens die during a severe Winter, the large number of eggs they produce helps maintain their population.

Some Biology

The reason a bird a small as the Wren sings so loudly is because the syrinx is a resonant cavity which maintains or amplifies the notes.

A couple of years ago we found an empty wren's nest in the garden so we're hoping they're nesting here again. It would be wonderful to see the babies!

Own up.... who said, "Awwwwwww" when daddy couldn't get the twig in the nestbox? :D

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sulking in the rain....... just sulking in the rain.... lalala

This photograph was taken a couple of days ago (Saturday) when it was 'bucketing down' with rain. The poor collared doves must have sat here for an hour or more just waiting for the rain to stop. They look pretty miserable, don't they. They're sitting in the birch tree which is part way down our garden. I took this photograph from the bedroom using the zoom lens. You can't see the rain in the photograph but, believe me, it was wet.... Wet..... WET!

My favourite flowers in the garden at this moment seem to be all pink. Here is a new bud on the climbing rose, 'Cecile Brunner', which is growing up one of the arches in our garden. This is a stunning rose and well worth the money paid for it, as it blooms from late May right up until October. The tight little rosebuds are often used in corsages for weddings.

This is another bloom on the 'Cecile Brunner' rose. This one has started to open. The wonderful thing about Cecile Brunner is that it's an evergreen rose and the foliage is mid to dark green with bronze tints throughout the Winter.

This is one of my all-time favourites for Summer 2009! It's Anemone de Caen in a hot pink!

........ and here's an even closer look!

It's lovely how certain colours seem to dominate the seasons. Early in the Spring flowers seem to be mostly yellow..... in the Summer it's pinks and blues and the Autumn brings us glorious oranges and bronze, whilst Winter brings forth the shiny red berries of the Rowan and Holly, etc. Nature has its very own fashion show!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Meet Deppy

He's in the first photograph..... honest, he is! If you look closely in the bottom right-hand corner of the photo (or click on it to enlarge), you'll see him. For years we've enjoyed watching the antics of the field-mice in our garden and this is the first time I've been able to capture one on film... digitally I mean. It's not a fantastic photo but I was pleased all the same that he stayed still long enough to have his portrait taken. Every other time I've attempted to photograph one of the field mice, just as I click the button on my camera it scurries off and, sure enough, on checking the picture I'm left with a boring composition of some foliage and an empty space where little mousie should have been. Now at least I have a boring composition with a fat little furry creature in it!

I'm guessing this particular one must be an adult because he's quite large..... or maybe he's just been pigging out on the mouse and hamster food I got for them from the pet shop! We've seen a few baby ones too which isn't surprising since field mice reproduce several times per year. The babies are so sweet. Perhaps this one is an expectant mum.

The little character in the photograph is called Deppy, but then so is every field mouse in our garden..... they're all called Deppy! It's our generic name for them. When we spot one we say, "There goes a Deppy." And if we see a baby, it's a baby Deppy. You might be wondering why..... the second picture tells all. Both these wonderful creatures have huge brown eyes.

Align Center

See what I mean!