Sunday, 13 July 2014

Alien abductions

Fred the frog has been evicted from his blue box at the top of the garden and gone to live in the pond with his fellow amphibians. I felt it was neccessary to address his social exclusion and hope he will find the new accomodation more roomy and interesting.

I've removed some of the duckweed from the top of the pond and now you can see a little of what is going on underneath. I find this works best with a torch at night. The frogs don't seem to notice the light but I can't help thinking of those films where a brilliant light shines down and people are abducted by aliens. Who knows, maybe the aliens are fulfilling a similar pastoral role to the one I have just conducted on Fred. 
The plants in pots have been re-arranged so that the bird feeders on the beech tree I keep in a pot don't hang near anything else due to the unprecedented amount of bird poo emanating from the hordes of starlings attacking the seed and mealworms hung there. I am constantly squishing water jets on plants and garden furniture in an effort to clean the stuff off. It's the price you pay for having so many lovely birds visit your garden, I suppose. Well, that and exorbitant price of the mealworms!

Plants seem to be flowering and going over very early this year. The orange hemerocalis has already finished although the yellow one is still going strong and the japanese anemone has strong buds ready to open soon. The hostas are more chewed than usual as I have cut down the chemicals I am using in the garden this year. I've used copper tape around some of the snail's favourite plants like the hostas and the few bedding plants I use to add some colour on gravel. I've netted the tomatoes and strawberries and placed their pots on gravel too.

Friday, 4 July 2014

The window box

The breeze has turned to wind and the sky has clouded over. Mr and Mrs Sparrow are taking advantage of the absence of the starling squad to get at the mealworms in the window feeder.

When we first put the window feeder up in the spring the only bird using it was a feisty robin diving in and quickly pinching a mealworm at a time. It took a couple of months before the sparrows caught on and started coming for supplies in the breeding season, at which point there was often a queue of sparrows and the old argumentative flutter. Since the starlings got the hang of it they are the ones most often feeding there. I can tell whether a sparrow or a starling has landed in it by the volume of the clunk without looking up.

I'm quite used to them being there now and they don't mind me sitting here on my computer as long as I don't go too near the window.

Recently we went on holiday and I told Himself there would likely be a row of birds on the windowsill peering in wondering where he was. When we got back there was a starling perched on the windowsill looking around as if he was wondering where all the food had gone.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Spare parts

       
The spare gunnera in an old dustbin next to the house
It's amazing how quickly the pots dry out in this weather. I fed and watered them today. The gunnera was drooping rather sadly so it had ten minutes of water and feed. I wouldn't want to keep a gunnera if I was on a water meter. As it happens, I have two. One in a bog garden and a spare one growing in a dustbin up against the house wall just in case we have such a hard winter that the main gunnera gets killed by frost. I do cover them both  up nice and cosy before the first frosts at the end of the year.

The old tall cordyline








A couple of years ago I lost the cordyline I had growing by the pond. It was at least twelve feet tall at the time and I couldn't reach it to cover the crown. 

 
The new double cordyline





The harsh winter killed off the top and the trunk became damp and mouldy  and eventually the bark fell off. The smell of damp, rotting wood was very strong.

I was gutted when I had to cut it down but fortunately, within a few months, it had sprouted from the bottom and two of the four shoots have thrived so I now have a double trunked cordyline growing instead. It's doing very well and growing fast, probably because it already had a good root system underneath. I still have a spare one in a pot just in case, though...