A walk in the park

Yesterday I made it out for a walk in the park after several days in school working in a windowless room on my Early Years School Evaluation Form. This form is the schools judgement of how well we believe we’re doing. This is then presented to ofsted when we get the inspection phone call. So I was quite happy to be outside despite a bit of drizzle.

The hedges along the park were a ladybird hot spot last year, but so far I had not seen many. Yesterday they had returned in force with lots of signs along the whole of the hedge.

Amongst the trees we found a decorated rock. Decorating rocks, then leaving them hidden places has been a craze this Summer. When you find them you photograph them a tag on facebook/twitter. I have mixed feelings about this activity. I like that it gets children out. But living by the seaside I’ve seen people taking buckets of rocks away. There is a legal side to this that many of them shouldn’t be taking the quantity they are as well as dismantling a habitat. But this probably deserves a whole blog on itself. People have always taken rocks and seashells as souvenirs from beaches, but the quantity people are taking is a concern.

Amongst the long grass area a robin perched on branch serenading.

Conkers are now falling. It looked like they’ve already been scavenged through, but I did find a few to take into school for my discovery area.

Now it’s time to get back to writing my school action plan and evaluation form. A bit nicer though working from home with a view of the garden. Red admirals and sparrows are back and forth across the garden currently.

Follow me on twitter

Bill Bailey’s Cabinet of Curiosities

Yesterday saw Alice and myself visiting the Hull Maritime Museum to see the temporary exhibit; Bill Bailey’s Cabinet of Curiosities. Bill Bailey is one of my favourite comedians, but he has also presented some wonderful natural history programs. His exploration of the life of Alfred Russell Wallace, the co-founder of the theory of evolution, is well worth keeping an eye out for on eye player. Watching Bill sighting the orangutans is great viewing.

The exhibit is, of the nature of cabinets of curiosities, a display of various items from the museums collections. Bill, in collaboration with Hull school children, has written whimsical fictionalised accounts of the origins of the items. A handful of dusty artefacts have been transformed into amusing centre pieces. The collaborations with local schools is a nice touch and some super imagination has been put into the installation.

An elephants foot.

The head of local Hull merchant looking very Lovecraftian.

The back massager 360

Alice wasn’t quite sure what to make of the peculiar exhibits.

There was also a little info reminding people that collecting many of the items on display is no longer an appropriate past time for the up and coming gentlemen in society. Collecting items of this nature is not only a social faux pas, but also illegal. It is worth contemplating the fact that wildlife crime is still common. Not just abroad but here in the UK as well.

Today was sadly the last day of the exhibit, so I’m glad I caught it before it went. The display was done in collaboration with Burton Constable. For those of you who missed out Burton Constable has a fine collection of curiosities ranging through fossils, taxidermy and a giant whale. So thank you to Bill Bailey and Burton Constable for putting on this whimisical display of wonders.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust magazine

This was my first week back at school. My outdoor area is still a building site and my garden area is looking overgrown again, so I’ll be needing to get out to tidy it all up.

I did get a nice surprise through the post. The Autumn edition of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust magazine came through the door.

I had sent in a few photos a while back and they said they’d use one, but not which. So opening up to the back I discovered my mouse photo. It was nice to see in the magazine.

As we have a family Wildlife Trust membership we get the children’s magazine. This season they covered stranded animals, animal poo, wood mice and Autumn. While Alice isn’t quite at reading point she enjoyed flicking through.

The main magazine has a good article on identifying different ducks and a feature on Autumn wildlife gardening I think I’ll enjoy reading. The magazine is a nice perk of the membership. I’m happy to of contributed in a small way.

mouse

Summer Falconry School

Today saw a large family outing to see one of my nephews help in a falconry display.  This was the culmination of a Summer attending South Cave falconry for lessons.

A few of the birds.

The last time we visited was just before Alice was born and the vultures were due to arrive. It was good to see these spectacular birds that sadly are becoming more endangered. Vultures carrion habits are important for stripping dead animals which helps stop disease spreading. Yesterday was vulture day and it’s worth spending time admiring these birds.

Alice took my dad round to explore. As well as the birds of prey they have a petting zoo. Alice seemed quite interested in the wallabies.

We saw the birds in flight.

Nephew Jacob helped with the display.

Jacob pictured with the kestrel he has been flying over the Summer.

Alice walking with Amy and Jacob.

South Cave falconry deserve praise for the work they do looking after these amazing birds. Many are rescued from owners who didn’t realise what effort training would be. The Summer school has given Jacob experience’s he isn’t going to forget soon. So if you are in the Hull area please pay them a visit.

Summer Garden Round Up

We have come to the end of the Summer holidays. It’s time to go back to work, so before I do it’s time to sit back and admire the progress made in the garden this Summer.

Patio

On the patio the pots are doing quite well. I moved one of the fuchsias from the border into a barrel planter as it was getting lost in the border. It seems to be doing well for the change. The night scented stock is doing well bringing in some night time insects.

I put my new mitre saw to use making a corner of decking to cover where the cement ground is uneven. At the back is a dwarf cherry tree that was totally dehydrated at the start of the holiday, but re-potted,  some gravel on the top to keep in moisture and plenty of water over Summer has brought it back.

The poached egg plants are flowering well now.

Our newly refurbished table looks nice on the patio giving us a small table for a cuppa.

My parents have passed on another bigger table. This corner of the patio previously had planters built into the walls. However they’d been built without proper drainage. So the worry was that they were damaging the house. I’ve knocked them out this Summer giving us a much bigger space to eventually build our log store and seating area.

Borders

The rose campion has done well flowering throughout the Summer. Reading Margery Fish she wrote that it should self seed a small number of new plants. So hopefully we will still have a patch next year. I’m keeping some seed heads to try to grow some if it doesn’t self seed.

The alyssum is on its second flowering. Now an area is established like my forget me nots it should self seed around the borders.

The sedum is set for flowering giving the pollinators an Autumn food source.

There are still some daisies left to flower.

The pot marigolds are still going strong.

Planting for bees

The foxgloves, hollyhock and borage are still hanging on in there providing for the bees. I don’t think the hollyhock and foxgloves have much more flowering time left in them, but now they’ve established I should have more growing next year.

Shed shade

Next to the newly painted shed is a corner with plenty of shade. I have a variety of ferns doing pretty well. They’ll give me some year round greenery and they suppress the weeds in an awkward to get to corner. Having watched the fern-atic on gardeners world this week I was inspired to add some more. I’ve got two more British varieties to go in.

Roses

I trimmed back the roses in Spring quite severely and they’ve done better this year. I’ve had flowers from the pink rose through all of Summer and still flowers coming.

They do some from fungal infections though. I’m trying some advice from the Beechgrove Garden to spray with water and a few drops of tree oil. This works on fungus and helps protect the leaves. Just don’t do when it’s too sunny or the oil may burn the leaves.

Composting

The compost heap had been filled with rubbish while the house was rented. I’ve removed what was there and put in two bins donated from my dad. The slabs have been upcycled from the patio planter I removed so nothing goes to waste. While the bins aren’t as effective as an open heap they will still give me some compost to put some goodness back in the borders.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peak into my garden progress.

If you have you can follow for more updates on twitter.

Frugal Friday-Not quite shed of the year

This week I’ve started watching shed of the year. So far I’ve seen some pretty amazing Summer houses and some bonkers garden structures: a flight sim in a garage, a cinema in the garden, a nuclear bunker under a shed and a mushroom tree house.
My own shed however has been looking the worse for wear. We had discussed buying a new shed, but checking the roof it’s still in pretty good nick. A few boards at the bottom have rotted through, but it doesn’t really matter to the lawn mower and my garden tools.

So I had an afternoon up on the roof to refelt the roof. Less the relaxing experience of the 1961 song classic as a precarious scramble to get the sheets laid. While not the neatest job it will stop it leaking for a bit longer. It blends in fine with the trees and shrubs in that corner.

To improve the look of the thing its had a coat of culprinol natural slate. It looks pretty good and will prolong the sheds life a little longer. Not bad for a job done during Alice’s nap time.

Amy has been busy too giving a table and chairs a lick of paint too. Culprinol forget me not blue has given an old cheap table set a new lease of life. It matches our bench too.

Rather than spending lots on a new shed a bit of repair work has hopefully saved us money for a few more years. The paint was on offer at Wickes and we have plenty left for other projects.

Today also marks the start of Autumn so a good time for shed repairs. Check out old house in the shires blog on other Autumn jobs.

Follow on twitter.