Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Garden Party

Harvest Mouse
I knew someone was living in the greenhouse when I found an opening to a small tunnel under the floor.  The cat snoozes in there so I decided this must be a very brave or a very stupid creature.  Well, she introduced herself today.  I was busy resting on the spade when I noticed her foraging amongst the Forget-me-nots.  I thought she would spot me and run away but she didn't.  Perhaps she is a little blind creature ... she stayed in open view for ages.  I was able to get within inches of her as she scurried round searching for food.  We store the bird food in the greenhouse so she couldn't have been that hungry. Harvest Mice only live about eighteen months but they breed three times a year and can have up to seven young each time.  At that rate my greenhouse will be over-run with Harvest Mice ... good job the cat does snooze in there!

A few other new creatures turned up today.  There are at least seventeen frogs croaking away in the pond and piles of frogspawn keep appearing.  I am amazed at the numbers ... I counted two in there yesterday morning; seven yesterday evening but seventeen today must be a record.  It's only a small pond.  It can't sustain seventeen adults and all those taddies once they hatch.  I'm imagining a writhing jelly bath as all the water is displaced.  Do frogs return to their birth pool to breed?  I think we need a bigger cat! In fact, I think we will GET a bigger cat!

There were eight female Pheasants in the field this morning and two Red-legged Partridges yesterday (a new species for the house list this year) and Andy heard a Blackcap singing today.


The country lanes are full of Coltsfoot at the moment.  I think it is a beautiful flower.  I would leave it to bloom if it grew in my garden but take care to dispose of the flower before it went to seed.  It is a very invasive plant and difficult to control.  One plant produces 1,500 to 3,500 seeds and they can disperse up to four kilometres away.  That is why it is classed as a weed.

Common Field Speedwell

Another pretty plant is covering the field across the lane. Common Field Speedwell (Veronica persica).  This is the commonest Speedwell in England yet it only arrived here in 1825.  It doesn't rely on seeds alone to propagate,  just one small piece of stem can grow into a full plant.  Strangely, its petals drop off within minutes of the flower being picked. 

Made good headway on the new path today.  Still lots of work to do but it is enjoyable when you can see it coming together. 


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