I woke to a sorry sight a couple of days ago .... a pile of woodpigeon feathers on the doorstep. Now woodpigeons have the knack of 'exploding' their feathers if caught to enable them to escape so, not immediately finding a body, I thought it had been lucky. Unfortunately I was wrong. An adult bird was sitting on the path near the small body of a fledgling at the back of the garden. To make it worse Andy found a second young woodpigeon on the lawn. They had been killed but not eaten. My cat had been in all night but a black tom visits us quite frequently. Such a shame: all the effort of rearing them wasted in a couple of careless seconds.
Where's the ladybirds when you need them? Last year I was tripping over them but I don't think I've seen one recently! My lupins are covered in greenfly so I've had to cut them back to save them. My mother used to spray them with soapy water .... not sure how effective it was but I think that might be preferable to chemicals as my bees nest is thriving and I don't want to poison them!
My cornflowers have been over-run by black aphids. There are THOUSANDS of them; they are all female and capable of producing thirty live young (again all female) without mating! They live about fifty days. Once the host plant is overcrowded they give birth to winged young that fly off to spoil another part of your garden! In autumn they lay eggs to overwinter then all the adults die.
Cuckoo spit is protecting the immature offspring of the froghopper bug and something else is decorating the leaves!
A large holly tree sits next to our front gate. Twenty years ago we stuck a single twig of ivy into the ground and now we have to hack our way through it every autumn. Nothing grew under the holly tree so I had the bright (!) idea of hollowing out the ground, covering it in plastic and stones and creating a shallow pool. A bit more interesting than bare earth I thought. Well I got carried away and it turned into a proper pond with frogs and everything! That was a few years ago. Yes, the holly leaves do fall into the water and make it untidy but I deal with it. Anyway, I was pottering about this week ... like you do ... and decided to add a few bricks under the pond liner to make it a bit deeper.
I haven't finish it yet but I'm quite pleased with it so far. Mum's garden has provided lots of London Pride and creeping succulents to cover the sides and I have raided my sister's garden for Solomon's Seal and wild garlic which I hope will take to the dappled shade under the tree. There's a large rock in the water so birds can get a drink and the frogs have somewhere to sit and it's all watched over by the large brass dragonfly floating in the air.
Things are moving on a pace at the allotment. Phil (my allotment partner) has built a shed. The third bed has now been cleared . Mum's house has been sold so her peonies are settling into the first bed together with my iris collection. The second bed has a few lupins at the moment but the delphinium seedlings will soon join them. Garden's World Magazine gave me 48 lavenders for the price of postage last month and there are 48 perennials on offer this month plus I have a collection of carnations to plant. Over the course of the next couple of days the end beds will be dug as I have a few vegetables to get in.
Here's a shot of the lane opposite our house. I've been guerrilla gardening under the farmer's hawthorn hedge. To the right of these I've planted a few peas which are in flower, so hopefully the neighbours can have a tasty snack in a couple of weeks, and I have put out pots of mint, parsley, sage, chives and corriander to share.