Saturday, November 28, 2009

Photo(s) of the week

Two photo's of the week this week!

I've chosen this one because the philosophy behind the slogan seems apropriate , although I'm getting a bit fed up with lemonade and would like a couple of oranges please! and I picked up the cute little double primrose at the Country Market this week, the Bizzy Lizzies have just about given up, but the Fuschia and Sage cuttings seem quite happy.

I've chosen this picture of the Bamboo by my kitchen door being blown about in the gale force wind because we have had a lot of strong wind this week!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Photo of the week

This weeks photo's a bit of a copout again this week, but it just seems to sum up the week!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Visitors to my garden no. 1.......Bank Vole

It's a shame that the only way I find out which small mammals visit my garden is courtesy of the cats. I'm not actually sure if they are visitors or in fact resident, is it in fact me that is the visitor to their territory? Anyway the Bank Vole caught on camera and in Smudge's mouth last week was a juvenile as they are darker than the adults. The average lifespan is just over a year, with the population peaking in the autumn before the winter takes its toll.
Voles haverounded faces, short ears, small eyes and a tail no more than 1/2 the length of head and body. They live in burrows and move along hidden runways in grass. Bank voles prefer hedgerows, scrub and burrows in gardens and woodland where there is plenty of undergrowth. As the bank vole has a diet of seeds leaves and berries which do not wear their teeth down, their teeth stop growing on maturity , whereas those of the field vole grow continuously thougtheir lives.
Population is at its lowest in April/May before the breeding season starts in late spring & summer. A female vole can have 4/6 babies every6/8 weeks. They are weaned at 14/28 days and are able to breed at 6 weeks although those born in late summer wait until the following year.
They are hunted by birds of prey, owls, stoats,weasels, foxes,badgers, pine marten, wildcats and snakes.
Vole populations build up over 4/5 years, as numbers increase they become more aggressive to each other and stop breeding succesfully, possibly due to stress.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

photo of the week

Never mind photo of the week, I think this must be photo of the year!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Plant of the month-pt2


The Kaffir Lily flowers in autumn and reaches a height of 2ft.. It is a perennial and should be divide every 3 years in spring. It likes a moist soil with good drainage and a PH neutral to slightly acid, a sunny or partially shaded position ou of the wind.

Can be grown from tubers or seed. Tubers should be planted 5cm deep in spring. Mulch in the first winter to protect from cold and every spring to keep soil cool. Fedin spring and twice more while growingand water well in dry conditions.
 Seeds should be sown before the last frostof spring and covered lightly with topsoil.
Varieties include Mrs Hegarty, Sunrise and Vicountes Byng with pink flowers and Major with bright crimson flowers

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I decided it's time to put the net curtains back up and  to stop hiding behind the hedge now that most of the leaves have fallen. So inbetween the showers last week I decided to tidy it up a bit, this is what it looked like before I started,

And this is how it ended up!

I'm not sure if it's an improvement or not, I feel really exposed now.
The next job is the Wild Cherry tree which  looks a bit like the leaning tower of Pisa. It has grown at a weird angle because the Ash tree above it  takes all the light in the summer. I thought I'd pollard it, so that it shoots out again,level with the fence.
I also bought some bulbs, Anemone st. Brigid, Anemone de Caen, Allium Moly & Brodiaea Fabiola and managed to plant them along the front path and in a couple of tubs.
Today I bought another couple of cyclamen and put them by the honesuckle in the back, were I origionally meant put the ones I bought last week, I'm hopng to ge some more next week again.
Looking at the back lawn, it looks as if it needs another cut, but the ground is much too wet at the moment and we had the first frost of winter yesterday morning.

Friday, November 6, 2009

photo of the week

Rain on the windowpane

Not much of a picture this week, you're probably thinking, but the rain on the window just about sums the week up.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Plants of the month pt.1

Pyracantha (Firethorn)

 Pyracantha brings a blaze of colour to the dull November days. It is evergreen with glossy oblong leaves. In the early summer it has white, frothy flowers followed in the autumn by a multitude of berries, either red, orange or yellow depending on variety. Orange Glow,which is the variety in my garden, can reach a height of 15 ft. Owing to it's vicious spines it makes an excellent boundary hedge, to deter burglars. It is equally at home trained against a wall, (although it is not a climber, so it will need support), or freestanding as a specimen bush.
 Fully frost hardy, it is easy to grow but although it appreciates a sheltered site in sun or semi shade it will tolerate a north or east facing wall. Having said this my one has been growing against the east facing wall of my shed in a positive wind tunnel for at least 10 years and seems quite happy. It appreciates a fertile, well drained soil although again my soil may be well drained but I think the chicken manure I dug in when I had potatoes next to it has long since been exhausted! When pruning, cut back outward growing shoots after flowering, so concentrating all the strength against the wall.
 Young plants should be planted mid autumn to early spring, about 2ft. apart. Propogate by semi ripe cuttings in late summer or by seed. The seeds should be overwintered indoors and plated out in a cold frame in spring.
 The main disease is Fireblight, but this is easily controlled by pruning. The varieties Mohave, Shawnee and Teton are resistant to the disease.
 The Pyracantha is immensly attractive to wildlife, the berries being a great favorite with the birds, although the red vaieties are more popular than the orange and the yellow least attractive of all. The flowers attract a large variety of insects and bees. The Holly Blue butterfly lays eggs on it and the caterpillars eat the flowers and berries. It also prvides good nesting sites for birds.
 On the negative side, the berries may cause stomach pains if eaten and the spines make pruning and weeding quite hazardous, but apart from this it is one of my favorite plants in my garden, I think it gives really good all year round value and is the first thing I see when I open my kitchen door.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I thought I had left it too late to buy Cyclamen this year, but on Tuesday I found 3 Cyclamen Silverado, which according to the label should fower late winter, early spring.

I planted them in front of my backdoor, by the table and chairs, so that I can see them if we get any days warm enough for a cuppa outside.

I'm hoping my little sleeping dragon will frighten the slugs away!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sunday in my garden (shed)

It was a wet and windy day yesterday, so I spent some time in my candlewokshop in my garden shed.
Here is a selection of the candles I have made there.

From the window I get a good view of all that is happening in the garden without disturbing any visitors to the bird feeders.There is usually a steady stream of sparrows,and  bluetits with the occaisional great tit. So far this year I haven't seen any chaffinch or greenfinch.
Inside the shed there is a gathering of snails who seem to delight in eating the labels from the candle perfume bottles! Also, as I found to my expense, it seems to be a favored place for sleepy wasps, one of which I woke up as I picked up a packet of dye!
The gas cooker I use to melt thewax makes it nice and warm even on the coldest of days and the shed is filled with whichever perfume I am using at the time_ Pine at the moment ready for Christmas.