30 Days Wild: Idea 17-pick up litter

Today might not be the most glamorous act of wild but it can make a huge difference. Wildlife can suffer very badly with waste humans have left. More an more plastic has made it into our oceans. It is now thought that this may be having an impact on us through the water we drink and the food we eat.

Just picking up one or two pieces of rubbish during the day could save an animal. My local community is aiming for the plastic-free beach. They have set up a beach hut where on weekends you can go pick up a litter picker and a bucket to collect. Across the country, there are many 2-minute beach clean stands. I keep a set of work gloves under the pram for if we find anything on our strolls. It doesn’t take any time out of the day but helps make a difference to the community and wildlife. Our beaches are much cleaner since these initiatives began. On recent strolls, I’ve hardly found anything. The main find being cig butts.

Six on Saturday: 15.6.19

Well, the last week has been dominated by rain and doesn’t look like we’ll get much time in the garden this weekend. But it’s helping reestablish the lawn again after building work. It’s time to look at my six. If you fancy taking part in six on Saturday check the participant guide.

1. The view from above

It’s a while since I did the view from above. The view shows you my worn lawn. The builders had boards and we had to move some of the patio furniture and pots onto the lawn so I’ve been working repairing it. The ground has been spiked and new grass seed has been put on. I could do with adding a layer of topsoil but I haven’t managed a trip to get some yet. The rain is helping a lot and I can see some shoots in the bare patches.

It also shows lots of the plants flopping over under the weight of the rain. I’ve managed to stake a few but got some more work to do. The foxgloves and chives down at the bottom near the blue bench are very curvy.

2. Allium Schubertii

This allium is rather spectacular. Like a firework mid-explosion. I’ve got three near it’s other. They are under quite a bit of strain with the rain. But still very interesting alliums. However, I found out that these are bulbs at their peak. They sold at the peak and then subsequent years they will diminish. So if I wanted this show each year I would need to replace them each year. One to look for in the bargain bins next year. They are a bit lost in the sea of forget-me-nots. I think they’d probably benefit from being in either a clear space of having something dark leaved around them.

3. Aeonium schwarzkopf

This poor little aeonium has suffered a lot. It was given to us by my brother in law as a tiny cutting. It was left out through the beast from the East and survived with a few leaves. This year I brought it in where it then suffered from lack of light instead. I supplemented the light with grow lights in the evenings but it still looked unhappy. I moved it back outside last time and is looking much happier again. It is actually looking quite good currently.

4. Japeto-Japanese fixed pull saw

I took out a couple of shrubs last month and needed to use my pruning saw. It did the job but it had definitely seen better days. So it seemed like a good time to buy a new one as I have a few more shrubs to come out and the cherry tree could do with a little trim now the blossom has gone. I’ve bought a Japanese fixed pull saw from Japeto. Many regular readers will know I like my Niwaki purchases. Japeto has a very similar range of Japanese tools such as Hori Hori but at a lower price. They even offer a price promise if you can find similar products elsewhere. Time will tell whether it offers the same quality. It comes with a wooden sheath for wearing on the belt. I like the feel of a nice wooden handled traditional tool. I will update how it performs if the Biblical downpour ever stops.

5. Hosta Lakeside little tuft

I had a quick trip to the garden centre but as I was travelling on the bus couldn’t get much. I was hoping for some bluer leaved hostas to add more contrast in the ongoing front garden developments but they only had quite an expensive halcyon. But I did buy this little hosta. I’m planning to use this for a pot display. It only grows about 15cm but combined with a few other plants I think I can make a good combination.

6. Seagull chick

At last, but by no means least, our garden has had a new resident for the last week. This seagull chick fell out of its nest last week and has been wandering back and forth between our front garden and the neighbours. Seagulls are apparently bad nest builders but will still feed their young if they fall out. I talked to the local animal rescue centre. They said to put it back if you can. As we’re not sure which of the many seagull nest it came out of and it’s too high anyway we can’t do this. The other alternative was to put in on a shed or garage roof but we don’t have any at the front so it’s had to stay on the ground. It’s been spending much of the time with the rain sheltering under a stone in my garden with an overhang and under a plastic box I’ve left for it turned over. Alice was quite taken by it but I’ve a suspicious feeling if I let her get attached to it we’ll end up with a house like Gerald Durrell’s childhood.

Well, that’s it for this week. Check out other peoples sixes through the Twitter hashtag #sixonsaturday or through the Props blog. It isn’t looking hopeful for doing much gardening this weekend but I am going to try and fit the overflow pipe to the front garden water butt. With all the rain it has been overflowing. But this is helping give the new plants a good watering. Hope you all enjoy your weekends!

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Living Seas Centre Flamborough-Birthday Party

Today we’d been invited to our neighbour’s daughters birthday party. She works for the Wildlife Trust at the Living Seas Centre in Flamborough and the party was held there. This made a nice change from going to pick up a new disease at another soft play party. Pretty much every time we visit soft play Alice returns with a new cold. I hadn’t visited the centre since it was updated. We tend to go to Bempton on the way to Amy’s dads as it is just of the route. So it was good to get out and see the centre. The plan for the day was rock pooling followed by food.

As we walked down the lifeboat was being towed back to the boat Lifehouse. It’s been a bit of a grey day but luckily not too windy as Flamborough can be unforgiving a bad day. Everyone was dressed for the occasion wellies and waterproofs.

The tractor gets a hose down as it comes back to wash the salt off and stop it rusting up.

The group making their way down to the rockpools.

The birthday girl and her dad.

Alice had a good go walking across the seaweed. She needed a bit of carrying to get down to the shore but did pretty well as one of the youngest. Not easy rock pooling when it comes higher up on you than everyone else.

She needed a few snacks on the way to prevent the grumps. She’d had an early morning and we’d tried filling her up before heading out but clearly not enough. Can never keep a two-year-old full for long.

The guides from the Wildlife Trust were very knowledgeable pointing out different finds as we went.

Alice braved giving the crab a stroke though she wasn’t quite ready to hold it.

We’d been supplied clipboards with ID guides of different things we might find. Between the guides and the group, I think we saw everything on the list.

Alice liked the current artwork outside the centre and enjoyed pointing out all the creatures she could name.

Back at the centre Amy and I warmed up with a cuppa while Alice checked out the tray of finds.

In the centre’s education room, Alice enjoyed crafts colouring and making a plate butterfly model.

Alice enjoyed a jammy dodger.

Alice liked the viewing window watching the birds investigating the bug hotel. Lots of dunnocks and blue tits going in and out of a nest box.

We went outside to gather round to sing happy birthday to the birthday girl.

We had a lovely time and Alice was sorry to go with the usual screams as we drove off telling us she didn’t want to go home. The centre has a good set up and worth visiting. There are regular events for both children and adults if you fancy having the expertise of one of the Trusts guides. With 30 days Wild set to begin it’s a good time to be planning a trip to a reserve. I hope the birthday girl enjoyed herself and we were thankful for the invite. A much more civilised way to spend a kiddies birthday party.

Six on Saturday: 29.9.18 patio plants

Over the next few months we are supposed to be getting the outside of the house rendering redone and the patio redone. It is currently just concrete with large parts cracking and falling apart. The plan is for the wall to be sorted and pavers down.

On the patio the plants have ended up being a fairly random selection. The alpine and succulent planters have thrived, but the other plants have ended up being plants that didn’t suit the border. As such, there is really any cohesion to them the main garden is largely wildlife friendly, cottage garden flowers and plants. I’m looking to have more foliage and a few more exotic looking plants on the patio. Rather than lots of cluttered small pots a few bigger one. The patio plants seem to suffer with the sea wind, so I’ll need a few tough specimens on the corner to protect other plants.

So here are six plants probably staying on the patio.

1. Tree fern-Dicksonia antarcita

I planted this tree fern in the border, but I don’t think it got enough water, so I’ve taken it out of the fern corner and put it into a pot. I can wrap it for the winter and then give it a bit more attention on the patio to try and try to get it looking less sorry for itself.

2. Fatsia Japonica

The leave of fatsia has superb foliage. It’s an excellent background plant. I’m imagining this moved into one of the bigger pots once I’ve evicted the current inhabitant. Then in front a variety of ferns, maybe the odd lily or something for colour. Only small at the moment, but will grow quickly enough next year.

3. Yuccas/cordyline?

These two plants were on the decking in my last house when I bought it. They were shadowed heavily by a number of plants, including tomatoes, that have now been moved. They had yellowed quite a bit, but have recovered fine now. They seem to be survivors having tolerated quite a bit of abuse from weather and neglect.

4. Asplenium scolopendrium Harts tongue fern

I’ve got one of these growing in the fern corner. I like the long tongue leaves. It stays attractive for much of the year. The fronds brown over winter and are replaced by fresh fronds in spring. Quite small at the moment, but at £2.50 I can wait for growth.

5. Aspidistra “China moon”

A few weeks back on Gardeners World, Monty had his houseplants out and it was talked about, on twitter, how some varieties of aspidistra could be kept outside all year. Aspidistras became the symbol of middle class living for the Victorians. I rather like the idea of a patio aspidistra, so I’m testing this variety of winter. It came in a big clump. I’ve divided some off to keep inside as insurance. Not the ideal time to divide, but I think it’s got enough root on. “China Moon” is a darker spotted variety. Hopefully do well in the shade of the wall.

6. Cordyline-Red star

I thought the thin red leaves would make a nice contrast to the other green foliage plants. Recommended for coastal gardens it should survive hopefully survive the winter weather and winds, so long as I keep it in a more sheltered position.

Looking back through my six I’ve mainly got thin leaved plants, so could do with some broader leaved foliage. Maybe time to get some hostas. It’s all a bit of a mess at the moment, but no point sorting until the paving is done. Happy gardening people!

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Dorset Holiday part 1

We have returned from a lovely week down in Dorset. One of Amy’s friends from her time working in Indonesia had offered us the use of her house while she was on holiday. This has worked out ideal as we then didn’t need to take bed guards and hundreds of toys for Alice as they were already there. That said, the car was still pretty full. Tiny peugeots are possibly not the best family holiday cars. This was the longest car journey we’ve taken Alice on at six hours. But she coped very well. We timed it well for her having a good nap on the way down and two stop offs. Only one section with a screaming child in the back. Alice enjoyed her service station stop offs. Everything is an adventure at her age.

The first proper day down we got ourselves in order with a trip to Aldi for food. We realised the weather forecast was rain for almost the whole week, so we stopped in sports direct and invested in waterproof trousers. This have been invaluable, keeping us dry, meaning we haven’t needed to worry sitting on wet benches or being splashed every time Alice launched herself  into a pudding.

Then a visit to Hengistbury Head where Amy’s friend was staying. Hengistbury Head is headland jutting out of the coast between Bournemouth and Mudeford. It has a variety of habitats including beach, heathland, grassland and shrub making it an area of scientific interest, a special area of conservation interest, a special protection area and an environmentally sensitive area. On a good day I imagine this is an amazingly bio diverse area with wonders to be seen. However the two days we visited were cold, windy and wet, so much of the wildlife was hidden away.

To get to the head you can go round on a land train or take a short ferry from Mudeford Quays. We opted for the ferry. Alice thought it was very exciting going on the ferry. It was her first time on a boat. There was lots of excited pointing at other boats and smiling at the other people on the ferry.

Along the headland are lovely little beach huts, some for renting.

We had a little amble along the headland with our host and her twins.

Alice loved jumping in every puddle on the way and searching for rocks.

While the wildlife was put off by the wind there was still plenty to interest me with shrubs and wildflowers for me to look up in my birthday present, the wildflower key.

We had a lovely time along the headland. I would love to return on a sunnier day. I expect we would have seen a lot of butterfly life more species of bird. Part two to follow, in which we see wild horses.

Birthday Treats

Last Saturday was my birthday. I had a nice relaxing day. Me, Alice and Amy got out for a walk and lunch. Amy has treated me to tickets for Bill Bailey later in the year, which I’ll enjoy. I’ve seen him a few times and he’s always been amazing. Alice bought me Paddington 2, which has to be one of the best family movies of the last few years. Then got Amazon vouchers from family.

On Sunday my sister and nephews came over to wish me well. We had glorious sunshine for a walk along the seafront.

Then we went to one of Amy’s sisters for tea where I received tasty beers and sweets for my birthday. Alice had a good play in the garden with cousins. This mainly involved her pushing them away any time they came close to her ball. She had a sulk about coming in for food. Once out she likes staying out.

Monday was spent waiting in for Ikea to deliver furniture. We are starting to create Alice’s woodland room. However Ikea added extra furniture and didn’t deliver the main wardrobe we’ve ordered. So we’ve got another day waiting in to see if they get it right.

Then Tuesday my parents got us out for a birthday lunch at Mr Moos. I had a rather delicious blue cheese burger and a Belgium Waffle with toffee ice cream for pudding. Alice enjoyed her first full ice cream to herself with lots of shouts for more when she finished. Amy enjoyed her orange marmalade ice cream. An ice cream fit for Paddington. The cows are on site at Mr Moos, but sadly they were out of the barn and couldn’t see them in the field. Alice was a little disappointed, so may have to take her out for a walk around the countryside.

With my Amazon vouchers I had bought a few small things for outside. A new birdbath. I’d gone for a RSPB one. I wanted a decent sized one, which meant a plastic or resin for the amount I’m willing to spend. The reviews had said it looked better than the photos, but I’m not convinced. It still looks cheap to me, but it a decent size with a good bowl for the birds to get in.

Then I’ve bought the wildflower key. This book is recommended as one of the best guides for identifying wild flowers in the UK. With my efforts for #wildflowersunday I’ve been gradually improving my knowledge, but a better guide will help.

For my other hobby, my photography, I’ve ordered a more padded camera strap. I only had the strap the camera came with and it aches on the neck if I’m carrying it round my neck for a while.

 

I also had some good news today that I have won another prize from Oldhouseintheshires I added a blog to the linkup entering into the competition to win a garden sign and garden vouchers. Check the link out for more garden blogs. Lots of interesting reads on there. With my meadow in my garden win and this I’m feeling pretty lucky.

Rock hunting

Today saw my parents visiting. After a trip for lunch at the Floral Hall  we headed out for a walk along the seafront.It was a nice day for it. The sun was out and the day was was calm. No chilling Winter winds today.

Alice enjoyed walking with my mum along the sea wall. Increasingly she wants to run.

We got down onto the beach. Just a few months ago Alice was very reluctant to walk on the sand. Now she’s trying to throw herself into the water.

Each time we go along the seafront she finds a couple of stones she doesn’t want to part with. She is very particular over which she takes. I can’t see any particular reason she wants the ones she takes, but she clearly does. In each photo you will see her hands are tightly clutching a pile of stones.

Some other visitors had made a good rock circle.


A distant bird, possibly a dunlin.

A more accommodating photogenic gull. I think it’s a black headed gull, but with the gulls all being white with some black I still haven’t got my eye in on identification.

A nice stroll along the front and an ice cream on the way back. It’s good to see Alice becoming more adventurous. Then with parents gone I still had time to work in the garden to finish the seeding from yesterday.