Butterflies flutterby

At last. Just as I was beginning to despair of ever having a butterfly in my butterfly garden, along comes a red admiral. What a beauty especially when set against the bright yellow flowers that were clearly supplying a good breakfast of nectar.

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Red Admiral

 

I hope that this is the first of many. Either that or I just go out at the wrong time!

The hedgehogs keep coming and this week we’ve had a little darling whose face is covered in ticks poor thing. Most of the hedgehogs have ticks on the body, but this is the first one I’ve seen with so many close to his eyes and mouth. A quick call to the local wildlife hospital this morning and I can take him/her in (if I can catch it!) to be de-ticked. I could be on late hedgehog watch tonight.

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Ticky-Hog

 

Last week I was off work and managed to catch up with some of my other projects whilst the wildlife garden takes hold. Luckily we have had some very warm weather and along with plenty of rain and watering, the plants are really growing fast and filling the gaps.

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Sink Pond in Butterfly Glade

 

I should have some nicotiana flowering in the next few weeks. Apparently moths like the evening scent and once they are in bloom, I will put a night light amongst the flowers and watch for the different moths that visit. That’s the theory anyway.

In the warm weather, the teasles are starting to flower. The bees love these and I can normally get some good close up pictures. This year however, the teasles are taller than usual so I have to stand on a chair. I haven’t managed a great shot yet but there’s still plenty of time.

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Hungry Bee

 

I picked up some great logs last weekend. I cant believe that I get so excited about a few logs but these are well weathered and quite light as they’ve been in a garden for about 5 years and dried out. They are great shapes as well so some of them I will use as features amongst the plants; they will make good seats or bird resting areas.  I’m trying to get hold of a birch tree log to hang as I understand these will attract woodpeckers. I can hear the tap-tap-tap in the morning and it would be lovely to tempt one in.

The sink-pond has got a new resident! At first glance I thought that the frog which had moved into big-pond had swapped allegiance and transferred to sink-pond but no,there is one in each. It’s very satisfying to know that I have provided shelter for a little creature and he looks very comfortable in his new home.

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Sink-Pond frog

 

Altogether I have done the main wildlife landscaping and it is now more a case of letting things grow. I still have plenty to do but they are much smaller projects and features. Like new seats!

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New seat made from railway sleeper and thermo-bricks

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Big-Pond & Bog Garden taking off

Hoglets

Following the sightings of a number of different size adult hedgehogs over the last few weeks, the last two evenings have seen the appearance of a couple of baby hedgehogs, hoglets.

I think that they are two different hoglets; it’s difficult to tell but looking at the size of the feet, and shape of the nose, I believe they are two babies, not one. Based on their size, I also believe that they are 2016 babies, probably born in early May. They are too small to be 2015 babies as they wouldn’t have survived hibernation at this size. They need to be at least 450-500g when they hibernate and so I am pretty confident that they are this year’s model.

Let’s hope that mum has another litter soon so we have lots more hoglets running around the garden.

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How cute is this?

Feed the birds

My birds have gone to bed for the night, but in the morning they are in for a treat. I have made some peanut butter cones and hung them on the fig tree, ready for breakfast.

Very simple to make and apparently birds love them.

All you need;

Fir cones, Peanut Butter, bird seed and string to hang them up.

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Method:

Smother pine cones in peanut butter and roll in the bird seed.

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Hang on trees and wait for the feasting to begin.

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Something of the marvelous

There is something of the marvelous in all things of nature-Aristotle

Apparently, having water in my garden is the best way to encourage and entice a host of different creatures to visit us. Insects, frogs, toads and newts, birds, and small mammals are all dependant on water to survive, just as we are. It was a good day therefore when my pond plants arrived from lincolnshire-pondplants in the post, safe and sound and ready to pot up. I hope that the two new ponds bring more dragonflies and damselflies as I love their bright fluorescent colours and patterned wings.

The delivery also included some aquatic baskets and compost, so all I needed to add were some pebbles on the surface to prevent the soil from leaking into the water too much. I managed this with the larger pond which is very clear this evening, but the small pond made in the Belfast sink is still cloudy. I hope that it clears tomorrow when it settles down.

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I wasn’t sure what plants to order, so I went online and did some research. It still seemed a bit overwhelming and so I took the plunge and ordered 2 plant packs; one for a very small pond (sink) and one for a medium pond. I was really pleased with the selection I was sent and the condition they arrived in and tonight all are planted up and in situ.

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My newly-resident frog is still sitting on the yellow irises, looking comfortable in his new home. I hope we get some frogspawn next year as I have lots of frogs in my old pond but have never had any spawn. It would be nice to have some tadpoles!

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The plants I was sent include;

A purple Iris, yellow iris, bulrush, Juncus grass, water mint, forget-me-not, oxygenators and some plants with long latin names.

I’m looking forward to next year when they have settled and grown into their surroundings.

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In the meantime I have a herb garden to finish, a vertical planter to plant up, some shrubs to pick up on Sunday and more rockery stones to collect.

Good job I’m on holiday next week!

Nature

Butterflies and bees

I had a change of direction today. I moved from building homes for frogs and toads, insects and hedgehogs to focus on butterflies and bees.

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First of all though I went to collect two bags of these gorgeous pine cones for my bug hotel which were donated by a lovely gentleman from the next village. I even got a tour of his garden while I was there; log piles, ponds and bird nesting boxes attached to the trees showed that he is also interested in wildlife gardening. The piece de la resistance for me however was a pretty light lilac Hebe which was covered in bees and the first butterflies I have seen this year, two tortoiseshells. I didn’t have my camera with me so this is a picture from the internet; I couldn’t resist the glorious colours.

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My diversion, although very welcome, meant that I had to get a wiggle on if I was to make the Garden Centre in good time but I did it.

I had a list of suitable plants which will  encourage bees and butterflies into my garden and it didn’t take me long to select my favourites; Coreopsis ” Tickseed” (birds and bees), Coreopsis “Zagreb” (birds and butterflies), Sedum “Brilliant”, (butterflies), Achillea “Summer fruits lemon” (wildlife), Buddleja “Empire Blue” (Butterflies) and finally, I found the very same variety of Hebe that was so successful in attracting bees and butterflies, “Sparkling Sapphires.” It even has a lovely name.

Hebe

Back home, car unloaded it was time to get to work again. My idea was to create a luscious bee and butterfly garden with the Belfast sink making a mini-pond in the middle. I have ordered my pond plants to arrive on Wednesday so I ended up planting around an empty sink. I can’t wait to see what the finished garden will look like with the pond up and running but I will have to be patient.

In the meantime on with the planting and so the bee and butterfly grove was born.

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This is only one small area of the larger wildlife garden which is coming together nicely now. I am hoping that it will flow through from one wildlife themed garden to the next and so far, it’s looking good. Next on the list (after planting up my two new ponds), an arch for honeysuckle to climb up between the butterfly grove and the new pond area.

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For now, I will have to make do with a glass of vino and a rest on the railway sleeper bench enjoying the fruits of my labours so far.

Just like Tessa!

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