Six on Saturday: 17.11.18

Last weekend saw me fill two pots. I was planning to wait until the patio had been repaved, but as we’re not sure when this will happen I’ve added two new pots. Lots of wildlife is still visiting the garden. The behind our garden is swarmed with the remaining bees and wasps. I’m finding I’m reading a lot of gardening material currently. As the season shifts to mundane jobs of weeding, pruning and clearing it seems more fun to plan for next year.

1. Azalea japonica-Agadir

Amy has commented before on an azalea at her dads that she likes. I have another rhododendron in a pot that has become too leggy. This is going to be removed to school after it flowers next. The rhododendron has large leaves that suffer from the sea winds we get and last winter did it no favours. I’m hopeful the smaller leaves and more compact shape of this azalea will cope better with my gardens conditions.

2. Ceanothus-blue

I picked up a cheap ceanothus. These give lots of small blue flowers in late Spring potentially filling a gap in my seasonal interest. As with the azalea, this isn’t the ideal time to buy as I now need to keep it sheltered, but it was reduced. I’ve put it in a pot, for now, to give the roots some protection beyond its plastic pot, but long term it will be going in the border.

3. Hellebore

For some winter interest, I’ve added in two hellebores behind the bench area. The area is partially shaded for much of the day. I’ve tried hellebores before and liked the flowers, but I put them in too sunny a pot where they fried as it went into Spring. Then got eaten to pieces by slugs. The two I’ve gone for are angels glow, which flowers with dirty white-pink flowers. Then Christmas Carol, which has pure white flowers with a yellow centre. The leathery foliage isn’t the most attractive in my foliage corner, but the flowers can provide a good source of pollen for early Spring insects.

4. Garden gate

This is the gate from the front garden. It has been kicking around the back garden since I moved in. I feel I should make a feature of it somewhere in the garden or at any rate grow a climber through it. Any ideas anyone?

5. Garden robin

The birds have been visiting a lot recently, but the robins are one of the few that come in while I’m working. This one is practising its Christmas card pose.

6. Shelfie

I have tidied the downstairs bookshelf and sent a number of books to the charity shop. I have moved down a number of garden and wildlife reference books that I refer to pretty regularly. I often have breakfast before the rest of the house is up, so like browsing garden books to make future plans. I thought it would be better to have more of them together where I tend to read them over a cuppa. Just finished Christopher Lloyd’s exotic planting for adventurous gardeners and exotic gardening by Ian Cooke. I’ve moved onto new small garden after a twitter recommendation. So far lots of good design advice. I’m up to a point with the garden where I’m keeping plants alive successfully, propagating and filling the garden. But I need to look more at how it all ties together and this book has helped me find a few ways forward.

This weeks six featured a lot of potential interest in future months, so hopefully, the three plants featured this week will provide future posts in the coming months. Surprisingly the fuschias are still providing bright burst in the garden, the roses have more buds to open and the hebe is still providing colour. But the overall feel in the garden is still a bit drab in comparison to Summer. Better to return to my book and dream of warmer, more colourful times.

Enjoy your weekends.

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Variety in the garden

As we move into frostier weather the garden is looking tattier leading to me questioning what I want planted and what I want to remove. I’ve been reading Christopher Lloyd’s-the well tempered garden giving me lots of food for thought. But today has seen a mass influx in bird life vindicating what I wanted the garden to do. I wanted to encourage wildlife into the garden and today has seen a massive variety on the feeder.

Having discussed previously keeping the feeders stocked for Winter I’ve been trying to keep my feeding station stocked with a variety of food. However as there are many hungry birds with the frozen ground the seed goes inĀ  day, even with two large seed feeders. The fat balls and suet blocks last a bit longer. However it is worth it for the spectacles I’ve seen today.

I have feeders spread over a feeding station and hung on the trees and shrubs. Some are in cover, some are more open to encourage different birds to feed.

The birds are clearly struggling for food at the moment as my bird count has hit 14 species just during this morning.

I’ve seen:

  • wrens
  • Sparrows
  • dunnocks
  • blackbirds
  • starlings
  • robins
  • wood pigeons
  • blue tits
  • coal tits
  • great tit
  • herring gulls
  • common gulls
  • jackdaws
  • goldfinches

Notice, all plural, even the robins. The robins are normally territorial fighting other robins off, but clearly the need for food is trumping that instinct today. It’s a joy to see the goldfinches, which didn’t used to spend winter up North, but are gradually moving up. The birds were eating a mixture of the food provided and scavenging from the garden. It’s good to know what I’ve put in place has increased the variety on last year.

A couple of today’s visitors. With so many birds out this morning I haven’t wanted to go out and interrupt for photos and risk scaring them off. So not the finest photos I’ve taken.

Time will tell whether in another year I’ll have managed to entice any greater numbers into the garden. But either way 14 species is a clear indicator that putting food out makes a huge difference to what comes into the garden.

 

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.

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Quest for a hat

Today me and the family headed out for a walk to the Freeport Shopping Centre to look for a new sun hat for me. The day has been lovely with the sun out bringing all the visitors to Hornsea beach. The route to Freeport took us along the seafront first fighting our way through the crowds of bank holiday visitors.

After that we turned away from the seafront to go along the old railway line. It was Pleasantly  cool in the shade.

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Birds, butterflies and bees flew back and forth across the path. The cow parsley is all flowering making the path a haven for pollinators. There are still some trees in blossom making the route a wonderful mix of green and white.

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We made it to Freeport through the cemetery, which wasn’t too busy as with the baking sun most people had headed to crisp themselves on the beach. I found not one, but two hats as they were on two for one. I wanted neck cover to stop my neck getting burnt gardening and when I’m doing outdoor duty at work. Now I’m back in Foundation Stage I’m out for full mornings.

On the way back Alice was restless in the prom kicking her legs.

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The last few days she has started to walk without support of holding onto one of us. So we got her out to have a walk in the cemetery. Initially she wanted to hold onto both of us, then just Amy.

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Confidence gained, she was off on her own. She’s very proud of herself. We’ve had little tantrums of frustration the last month as she’s wanted to be off, but couldn’t manage. So it’s nice to see her managing. Now we can start building up the miles ready to go exploring.

So while many in our area have been off at the radio one big weekend Alice is walking amongst the daisies in her own Woodstock with her psychedelic vest.

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We seem to find robins each visit to the cemetery and today was no exception. He was hopping close along the branches, perhaps interested to see Alice’s new walking development.

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The flowers laid out were drawing in a number of butterflies, but only captured the red admiral.

Then back along the railway line I captured a snap of a crow in flight. I like seeing the close up of the wonderful wing structure of this ever stylish black shadow gliding into the trees. They are spectacular birds in flight.

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So a successful shopping trip out. A nice stretch of Alice’s legs and some wildlife spotted along the way. I love how much we can do within walking distance of our house.

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Bank Holiday Stroll

Yesterday saw a family walk down to Hornsea Freeport shopping village. This clocked up a good few miles there and back. 

We took the walk along the old railway line. I was expecting lots of butterflies and bees, but there were few out. There was however lots of hoverflies, interesting in there own right. I’ve written about the mimicry of these cunning little insects before, but still remarkable insects.

We went through the graveyard, where the blossom is still looking good both on the trees and carpeting the path.

A robin was singing away in the trees.

On the way back saw a wren settled on a wire. I can never resist snapping a bird on a wire for the Leonard Cohen reference.

Then back by the seafront. The tide was out a long way. Families were drifting away having come for their Bank Holiday beach visits. It was time for them to head for fish and chips. With Sullivan’s still closed the other chippies are doing well.

It was rather nice having the three day weekend. Normally they fall in the school holiday so I don’t gain. Good to have the extra family time. 

Robins

On Friday the family went out swimming with my mum, dad and nephews. This is only Alice’s second time swimming. She still isn’t sure about it, but gained in confidence as time went on. But in comparison to nephew Joe she’s doing wonderfully. Joe tried to climb up my dad to get out the pool. 

After we went back for lunch. Alice was keen to look out at the garden, watching her grandad being silly.

My parents garden is looking good right now, but it was a bit chilly for just popping out without wrapping her up.

With my new lens I managed a shot of a robin I’m particularly proud of.

Robins seem to of been turning up all around the last few days. So the rest of this blog is dedicated to this little bird and a walk today.

Today I took Alice out for just a quick walk on my back in the howdah. I was going to go for a walk to the park, but needed to post a letter. So we ended up heading the opposite direction. As a result I took a chance on a bridleway down the side of the bus depot.

The path is a dream for a host of wildlife with nettles, brambles and dandelions. All cut back enough from the path to walk through comfortably. Bluebells currently edge the path.

From this point on my walk seemed to be monitored by a robin who kept just ahead of us.

Robin’s are quite well known for being little bullies. They are fiercly territorial and will fight off other robins competing for food in their area. Their redbreast is a signal for a fight and they have been known to fight stuffed robins and even piles of red feathers.

This particular robin hopped tree to tree ahead of us for the length of the short bridleway.
We could hear the song as we went along. Robins are one of the few birds who sing through the year. This goes back to their terratorial behaviour.

The bridleway took us out on the new houses that have been built recently and rather suprisingly a pill box.

Then a little further on took us out close to home. So a little investigation has found a good wildlife spot and another route to walk.

Day 28-success of the trail cam!

This morning I set up the trail cam at the back of the school field in the wooded area. At lunchtime I went to collect it in. The camera wasn’t quite positioned ideally as a number of animals seem to of crept up close, so only half was captured. But I was happy to see this little chappy trundling past.

Then a little later in the morning this young lady popped her head in to have a look.

I was quite happy to capture the hedgehog, even if I didn’t get a clear shot. But I still wanted the to get a good sight of the foxes. So I set it up for the afternoon.

The first visitor did have a streak of red, but not a fox.

But then later in the day I got what I was waiting on.