Friday, 31 August 2012

End of Month View - August 2012

We have been away for a few days so I have a very busy day tomorrow.  First job is to make friends with the cat!  Then I have lots of dead heading and general snipping to do so I'm giving you long shots instead of close ups! 

I have started with this view of the front garden as I have spent the week wandering passed lanes full of wonderful orange flowers.  I want to plant crocosmia next to pink hydrangea and fuschia ... this combination looked lovely in the Welsh gardens.  I have the plants, I just need to empty a bit of border but I can't decide where.
I need to feed my geraniums and chop them back a bit.  The flowers are beautiful but the plants have grown straggly. Now is the time to take geranium cuttings but I am leaving it a bit longer as I'm enjoying the blooms.

Marigolds with Black-eyed Susans
The yellow border is doing very well.  The Tagetes not only look and smell nice they help to reduce garden pests.  They act as a natural deterrent against root eating nematodes and over the course of a few years they are known to reduce weeds such as ground ivy, bindweed and couch grass!  I'm saving ALL this year's seeds!

My very ancient cat is an extremely vocal Bengal.  She swore her head off and demanded food the moment we got home even though she had been perfectly well looked after.  She didn't eat the food, she was just proving who was boss!  It didn't go to waste though as this little hedgehog happily ate his fill while Isis and I sat and watched him.

For more End of Month views visit The Patient Gardener.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Garden Art

Seen in a garden in Norfolk.  Brilliant!  She even had a pierced nipple.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012


I decided the pond would look better with a path going round it.   I had quite a few Aquilegia there, a Redhot Poker and a couple of Irises.  They are all in pots waiting for new homes.  The ground slopes upwards towards the old plum tree.  I envisaged the path going round the tree then back down next to the Laurel bush towards the lawn.  The Laurel had been cut back in preparation but two more shrubs stood in the way.  That's when I bottled out.  I left the shrubs and used an old railway sleeper and some bricks to make a bench - the new path is short and only goes up one side of the pond but there you can enjoy a sit down!

Further down the garden was another path that needed a bit of attention.  On the left hand side there is a tall climbing rose that I have to cut back every year as it grows through and over a Forsythia tree.  When we moved into the house nineteen years ago the previous owner had left some bits of wood behind.  Two pieces were just wider than the path and some other bits were cut with a sloping edge.  I re-arranged a few more plants, dug some holes for four fence posts while Andy constructed the top and before long we had a rose arch/pergoda. 

My favourite plant this week is the Pineapple Lily.  They grow from bulbs and enjoy full sun.  I was warned to take them in over winter but I didn't and they have survived the last four years so they must be in a sheltered spot.  Apparently you can propagate them by collecting the seeds (but it will take 2 - 5 years to grow the bulb to flowering size); by removing offsets from the bulbs after flowering OR from leaf cuttings.  I have never tried to take leaf cuttings before so I have a little job for tomorrow!
...... and finally .... we bought a night vision camera from the Bird Fair and discovered we have a friendly hedgehog visiting the garden every night.  It obviously enjoys sharing the cat's evening meal.  My Hedgehog House might get a tenant this year with any luck.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Star Guests - August 2012

We had breakfast with two Willow Warblers yesterday.  They were taking aphids from the Sweetpeas ... luckily we had something more appetising.  These little birds are on their way back to Africa now.  They have one of the longest migrations of any bird that size: they go all the way south of the Sahara for the winter (some of them migrate over 12,000km) before returning to us next March. The British population has declined by 70% over the last 25 years so they are on the Amber List for species of conservation concern.

The garden is attracting lots of butterflies now the sun is shining.

We always get loads of Peacocks and Small Whites....

....and Red Admirals:

The original name for these was Red Admirable but we're a lazy lot so shortened it to Red Admiral.

The name butterfly is thought to come from the Old English for BEAT (beatan) and FLY (fleoge). 
We have seen Holly Blue ...

and Meadow Brown this week.

The eye spots on the Meadow Brown help deter predators.

It would be nice to see what is visiting your garden this month.  Please leave a link below.

The Bird Fair takes place this Saturday so I might be the proud owner of a night vision camera in a few days.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

GBBD August 2012

Crocosmia is displaying well this month.  I had one main clump two years ago but it was full of grass so I dug it up, weeded it and divided it.  This year I have five healthy clumps and two neighbours have bulging pots. 
A friend gave me a clump of Lucifer but it hasn't fully flowered yet ... I'm looking forward to seeing the dark red shade.

Another dominant feature of my garden at the moment is the sunflowers.  We erected a trellis and I planted lots of gaillardia and sunflowers to grow up it.  We had a sack full of sunflower seeds to feed the birds so I went mad!  At the allotment I threw handfuls down and now they are six feet tall and bursting with seeds for next winter.

A second trellis is covered in sweetpeas and I scattered a free packet of Morning Glory underneath.

The Golden Rod is taller than me and is constantly covered in bees or butterflies.  I'm a bit worried it will turn into an invasive plant though .... it is rather too healthy after only a year in the garden!!

For more Garden Bloggers' Bloom Days visit May Dreams Gardens.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Harvest time

Close all the doors and windows and bring in the cat .... the combine harvester has arrived.  I left one of my cats outside on harvest day a few years ago .... sadly I never saw him again.  I like to think he climbed into a delivery van and got taken away to find a new owner somewhere.  The idea that he got squashed into a hay bale is too awful!  Harvest time is awful for some creatures though. The mice have to run for it!   The Field Mouse by Gillian Clarke illustrates the point.  She describes her children helping the farmer and finding dead or injured animals, one of which is a field mouse.  She is really making reference to children who suffered in the Bosnian war.  On a much lighter note here is an amusing clip of a snoring Dormouse.

It took a couple of hours to clear the field - that's reaping; threshing and winnowing the wheat then collecting and baling the straw.  It was a one man job except for driving the bales away as they needed two tractors for that. The invention of Combine Harvesters revolutionised farming.  It used to be a MASSIVE job! We still have the six week school holidays because everyone was needed in the fields come harvest time before Combine Harvesters reduced the work.  They were invented in America in 1834 but a self propelling version wasn't introduced into Europe until 1952. 

Here is one of my favourite tracks of music ..... Field of Gold by Sting.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Crime Scene!

There were two dead bodies on the grass this morning.  Actually it was one dead body and a pile of feathers!
Something had pulled one of the frogs out of the water and left mangled remains for the flies.  Nice!
The pile of feathers belonged to a Great Tit.  It was near a nest box which had been in a tree some feet away.  Quite a strong predator had attacked the box and killed the bird, plucked it and disposed of the remains. Could be a squirrel but we'll never know!
We are attending the Bird Fair at Rutland in a couple of weeks so I will investigate/purchase a camera for the garden.  Lots of things visit us in the night and I want to see them!

A lovely daytime visitor was this beautiful Bullfinch.  It has started popping in but doesn't stay long.