Saturday, January 30, 2010

photo of the week

I'm cheating this week as I've got two photos.

 I've chosen this one of the fungi growing on one of the 'stepping stones' across the front lawn for two reasons, the main one being I like the picture and the other is to see if anypne out there can identify them and tell me if I should worry about them being in my garden.

And these are the first snowdrops to appear. One day there was no sign of them and the next they looked like this!

Monday, January 25, 2010

After the snow

Isn't it nice to have a nice sunny day to go and potter in the garden again? I went out this morning to take advantage of the beautiful weather and discovered my Cherry tree had got a catkin!

 Needless to say I spent more time laughing at Smudge as he tried to catch the Sparrows who seemed to be teasing him than actually working.

I thought I had lost my Helebores, but this one seems to be quite happy  although there should be two more to keep her company.

The Aquilegas are growing new shoots aswell, These are popping up all over the garden and make quite a show when they are in flower. The bees love them.
And here is where the Thrush has his dinner at the bottom of the garden. He doesn't seem to have a favorite type of snail judging by the collection of shells, or maybe he was too hungry to worry.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

photo of the week

This little tortoise is waving goodbye to the snow and welcoming the daffodils and hopefully spring

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

First of all a big thankyou to everyone from Blotanical who has 'faved' my blog, and for all your comments. I'll get back to you all personally, but at the moment I'm just blown away by your comments.
I was reluctant to start a blog on my garden as I don't feel as though I'm knowledgeable enough to be of interest to all you more profficient gardeners out there. I eventually decided to start it as a personal notebook. In the past I have kept a diary, starting in January and  carrying on until, on a good year, possibly May! I find it really interesting to look back and see what was flowering ( or not) at a given time and each year I wish I had carried on with the diary for longer. Well this is meant to be my inspiration, and now I know there are people out there actually interested it is a big incentive to keep going. Thankyou all.
Here are some of the photos I've taken since the last entry.

This is the front hedge taken through the window. The Geranium flowers are on the windowsill inside. I'm trying to keep them going over winter and have taken a few cuttings for next summer.

This is the Willow tree at the end of the back garden where the Bluetits line up for the feeders, naturally no one is about when I have the camera with me!

A Teasel provides both winter interest and seeds for the birds.

A brave little Primrose with hopes of Spring around the corner.

And a snow covered quiet corner where my first dog is buried. It's my place I go on sunny days to ponder on lifes ups and downs.

And finally, this Thrush caught the snail in the Yellow Flag Iris and very obligingly hung around to eat it while I went to fetch the camera.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My Bird Garden

What little timewasters the birds are! It was suposed to be a busy day yesterday but there I was sitting looking out of the window instead of giving myself a kickstart.
I put out some new types of food. one of the peanut feeders has sultanas and blackberries aswell as peanuts and I've filled the Niger seed feeder up to try to tempt some Goldfinch into the garden. So far this has not attracted any attention.
What was causing the interest was the mixture I scattered on the ground - mealworms, bread, elderberries and blackberries.
A Thrush and a Blackbird were disputing the mealworms. The Blackbird proved the bolder of the two and the Thrush withdrew. But then the Starlings appeared and Mr. Blackbird wasn't so brave! However the Starlings were more interested in the bread than the mealworms and Mrs. Blackbird proved braver than her husband! Mr. Blackbird and a Robin went to the Ashtree in the front were they had to make do with leftovers from the day before and a fatty cake.
At lunchtime yesterday I burnt the cheese on toast because there were 3 Redwing in the garden! I've not seen 1 before let alone 3! I don't know if it's the berries which have attracted them or if they just saw lots of bird activity here and came to investigate' but anyway they hopped around the edge of the garden underneath the Rosa Rugosa for a while and 1 has come back today but seems to prefer the cherrytree in the front.
There was also a collared Dove who paid a visit yesterday and a Magpie today.

Please excuse the quality of this video. Not only was it taken on an extremely cheap camera but through a not too clean window!

Friday, January 8, 2010

photo of the week

These little Anemone St. Brigid are showing a brave face, a good beginning for the new year I hope. There is a cutting from the clematis on the title picture under the cloche, I hope it has taken, it's brothers and sisters didn't.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Visitors to my garden pt 3... Bullfinch

The drawback to bird gardening is that you can only enjoy the results when the birds allow you to!
 I burnt my breakfast this morning, trying to get a photo of  the first Bullfinch I have seen in my garden this year. Needless to say I failed, he sat just out of range until the smoke wafted out of the kitchen and reminded me of the task in hand . By the time  i had rescued the sausages he had disappeared.
But I supose that is part of the attraction of trying to attract birds to my garden, there is always an element of surprise.
The male Bullfinchhas a black cap and chin, blue-black wings with a mark of pink on each wing, the back is pale blue-grey and the rump white. The underparts are a rich pink. The female is much paler, with a browner back. Juveniles are like browner females with no black cap.
The Bullfinch will spend most of it's time in hedges, thickets,shrubberies,bushy gardens and woodland with thick undergrowth. The nest is made in a thick hedge and 4-5 eggs are laid in May. they will hatch in 12-14 days and the young will leave the nest after 12-16 days.
Diet consists of mainly seeds, berries and buds. The young are reared on caterpillars.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

As I've said before, I'm quite proud of myFuschia cuttings - most of them that is. They mainly come from an unnamed variety which has been in a pot in my garden for years, she wasn't bought as a hardy variety but she must think she is to have survived for so long. she was looking a bit tired this summer, so I thought I'd take some cuttings in case she succumbed this winter.

This is the first batch of cuttings, mainly taken from the above plant, but with a couple of 'wild' pink flowered ones from a hedgerow.
Once this batch was up and running I got a little bit carried away and took a few from the golden leafed plant pictured below, I think she is Genii, but I may well be mistaken.

These are my little Genii cuttings, I'm going to try training them into standard plants. I've never attempted this before, so it will be interesting to see if it works and how long they take to make respectable plants. The book says Genii makes good standards, we shall see.
I'm feeding all my little babies with a home made concoction of nettle and comfrey leaves left in a tub of water for a few months. The water is then strained off and used as a plant feed. I'm using it in a mister as a foliar feed. I'm not sure how effective it is, but it doesn't seem to have had any bad effects yet.
Not content with this success the bug was still biting. There is a caravan site on one of our regular dog walks, one of the caravans has a collection of really outstanding Fuschia in the hedge.
So after the site had closed for winter, I decided to take some cuttings from here. (Yes I know it's stealing, but they were going to die back for winter anyway). I took 9 altogether, 3 from each of 3 different varieties and planted them up in 3's in large pots with polythene bag propogators over them. It was probably a little late in the season by this time, but I kept a check on them through the polythene and they seemed to be doing well. Yesterday I decided to take the polythene off and this is what was underneath. Justice has been served!

Any ideas what the unidentified seedlings are?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

We had more snow today, so I took the camera out to try and capture the mood.

This was the view from the front door.

This is the Cherrytree that the flocks of sparrows dominate, (funny how they all disappear as soon as the camera appears).

This is my little Baytree, which flavours my stews and casseroles. ( The shutter didn't open properly).

And this is my baby Dragon, hatching out of his egg into the snow. I hope he learns to breathe fire soon or he will freeze.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

My Winter Garden

Laura says my garden is a fairy garden, but at the moment it looks as though Hivere, the Winter Giant has stomped all over it! The archway with the clematis on has collapsed so that only the Little People can actually get to it.
There area few bright spots where Ettienne the Goddess of Summer is fighting back, the daffodils and bluebells are starting to shoot. The cyclamen have little buds peeping from under their leaves and the Kaffir lillies, Mahonia and Elephants Ears are bravely flowering on, although I think the snow may have finished the pink Kaffir lillies.

But the thing I love best about the garden at this time of year are the birds. I don't care how many plants are flowering or have leaves and stems with 'winter interest' if there is no movement, no sudden fluttering from branch to branch, no singing and chattering over the feeders and roosting sites the garden is dead.
I have one seed feeder in the cherry tree in the front which is dominated by flocks of sparrows. A blackbird lurks around the lower branches to catch anything which is dropped. I also scatter seed and berries collected in the autumn and kept in the freezer and when it is really cold I throw out some mealworms aswell. There is also a cheeky little robin who visits aswell and some bluetits and chaffinch.
The ash tree provides a roosting place for a collection of 'blackbirds', with the jackdaws at the lower levels and the larger crows and rooks higher up. The ivy covering the trunk provides roosting/nesting places for the sparrows and robin.

There was a time a couple of years ago when I thought that the sparrows had pushed the bluetits out of my garden, but they seem to have come to some agreement because the seed feeder and the peanut feeder on the collapsed arch in the back is dominated by bluetits who line up in the willow tree at the end of the garden and swoop across to take their turn, with the occaisional greattit, coaltit,chaffinch and starling.
There is also a thrush who visits my garden, although I rarely see him, only the empty snail shells by the stone he uses as an anvil.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Photo of the week

I've chosen this photo taken through the living room window this week for 2 reasons, the first being that it shows the progress of my Fuschia cuttings but the main one is the way the sun is shining on the bamboo making it stand out from the snow laden cloud behind. More photos of snow to follow.