Six on Saturday: 13.7.19

Last weekend we were over at my parents for lunch and a lot looking good. This week I’m looking at six aspects of their garden that I’m claiming credit for. I’ve had divisions of their plants for many years and now they are starting to claim from my garden in return. My mum has been dropping not so subtle hints that she wants one of my dahlia seedlings.

1. Lychnis

This was a self-seeder from my garden I passed onto my mum. It’s looking good with the darker fuschia behind it.

2. Heuchera

My mum is adding more foliage plants following my lead. The green, dark-veined I think she bought with me at a local plant sale.  Nice combination of colours and should add some interest throughout the year.

3. Hostas

While my parents have grown hostas before they’ve gone for more this year which I’m sure is down to my mass front garden planting. The forest grass in the middle is also doing well. My clumps are a bit weedy currently but will come on in time hopefully.

4. Succulents

My parents have been away recently so they’d planned to give their usual bedding plants in pots a miss as they would have needed watering. So this means they’ve not bothered with the usual collection of pelargoniums. A plant I’m not bothered for in any way. Instead, they’ve gone for some pots of sempervivum’s copying my pots. They’ll survive better over the holidays through the heat.

5. Wildlife gardening

Over the last few years, my parents have added lots of bird feeders and bug houses across their garden. The middle of one border is dominated by a well-established cherry tree. It fruits well. They’d tried netting it to save the cherries from getting taken by the birds but have given up on this now. In the past, I think my mum would happily have gone along with Mr Twits plan to paint the branches with hug tight glue to get birds for a pie.

But this year there are enough for them and the birds to share.

6. Hide and seek

We had a nice time out in parents garden and a good meal. Alice wasn’t so bothered for the food but she did enjoy playing hide and seek. Though her hiding skills leave a lot to be desired.

It’s looking pretty grey out there. It feels pretty humid. We need some rain to break the heat. I’m heading out with Alice to her nursery today as it’s the Summer Fair. They’ve got birds of prey and the forest school open so should be fun. See what tat we win on the tombola. Hope you enjoy your weekends. Check the participant guide if you fancy joining in with six on Saturday.

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30 Days Wild: Idea 21-Wildflower hunt

Through taking part in 30 days wild in previous days I was switched onto the Wildflower Hour. This has helped develop my knowledge of wildflowers and their names. While for many people this might not seem that significant. What’s in a name? But it does matter. If we can’t name plants, insects, birds we can’t monitor their decline. Without figures we can’t gain support for protecting species. That said I mainly just enjoy taking pleasure in the seasonal shifts from one flower to the next. Paying attention to the flowers and insects around us helps to cultivate mindfullness and improve piece of mind.

Getting out on even a short walk can find a good number of species. On just a short 100m stretch along the seafront I found a good variety of wildflowers along the grass bank.

The umbels of cow parsley out in large drifts.

Pretty little geranium/cranesbill seeding on the upper levels of the slope.

A battered dog rose attracting the pollen beetles.

A few patches of mallow.

Lots of snails out.

Further back from the seafront in a ditch there were a few yellow flag irises.

Reading the wildflower hour posts has helped improve my knowledge but a field guide is useful. I have a couple but it’s the wildflower key I go back to the most. A jewelers loupe was recomended when I started looking at IDing. it isn’t really necessary for most but it is interesting taking a closer look at the structure of plants.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my little wander. What can you find?

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30 Days Wild: Idea 20-Logpile house

Today looking at another quick project to attract more nature to your garden. Building a log pile house. Log piles attract a whole host of insects and depending on the size they can home mammals, amphibians and reptiles. Deadwood brings in many beetles, woodlice and worms in the soil underneath. From there you get networks of spiders hunting over the pile. Over winter the pile can provide hibernation space for a number of pollinators. If there are gaps at the bottom frogs will rest in the cool shade of your pile. If you can manage larger woodpiles it may attract hedgehogs coming to eat the beetles and other treats or to find a hibernation spot.

Mine is only a small pile made from a bought bag of logs. Alternatively, you can gradually gather wood from your own prunings or gathering some on walks.

For teachers with school gardens, a log pile proves useful when you come to do your minibeast hunting as it almost guarantees you will find something. Even just a few logs left out a couple of days will attract life. Then when you pick it up and look under the kids can enjoy seeing the bugs scatter. Then you don’t spend a fruitless hour with a class spotting nothing.

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30 Days Wild: Idea 19-Hedgehog feeder

I have a wooden hedgehog home but I don’t like to put food in where I want the hedgehogs to settle. My hedgehog feeding station isn’t particularly swish. It’s a homemade effort but it does the job effectively. I bought a cheap plastic storage box, sawed a hole in and taped around the rough edges. The bricks on the top are to stop the cats getting in. It might not look amazing but it does the job. Hedgehogs have used it and it gives them a safe place I can put food and water. Apart from being rather pleasant animals, they are great at eating slugs. I use the trail camera to track them but every so often I’m lucky and go out at night and see one.

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30 days of wild: Idea 18-Listen to birdsong

With the break in the rain, the birds are back out in force. The dusk chorus has been singing away and it was a joy to listen to.  Taking a few minutes to sit and listen to birdsong is a simple pleasure but a very enjoyable one. Earlier in the year, the RSPB put birdsong in the chart with let nature sing. If for some reason you are unable to get outside or to a spot you can hear birdsong through this track and it gives a donation to the RSPB.

Robinhead

While it is nice to hear the songs I’ve been working on tuning into the bird’s songs to be able to identify through their sound. The RSPB has a new book and CD set out to help identify birdsong. Earlier in the year, I was gifted this lovely set that gives details of each bird then has tracks it plays through a built-in speaker.

For a free option, the long-running BBC Tweet of the day gives you a way to gradually build your knowledge. There is a massive back catalogue of episodes to listen to all for free. With many people following this blog for my gardening content you may enjoy Monty Don on the return of the swallows.

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30 Days of Wild: Idea 16-Download the app

So we are halfway through 30 days if you’re short of ideas you could try and download the 30 days app. I downloaded the app today in seconds. It then gives you a suggestion of something to do. f you don’t like it you can select again. It then gives options to share what you’ve done by taking a photo or sharing on social media.

Today it gave me this idea.

A quick trip out into the front garden I discovered a fern growing up the cracks in the brick wall. I think it’s some form of Asplenium it is slowly colonising the cracks. We are looking to rebuild the wall so I may have to try and transplant this to another spot.

The top of the wall has patches of moss. If you stop and take the time to observe moss it is rather interesting with a soft carpet of green and red spikes coming out.

Very quick task but satisfying achieving.

A lot of people expressed concern about the seagull chick in my garden featured on yesterday Six on Saturday. It has moved around to the back garden where it has found a number of spots it can hide from the rain. I’ve seen the neighbours cats in at the same time and so far it isn’t bothering the chick. It has found one of the apples I put out for the blackbirds and seems happy tucking into this for breakfast.

Enjoy your Sundays. The weather is looking a bit better and might be able to get outside a bit more.

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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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