Another damp day much appreciated by my garden.
Sadly, due to Covid19, the annual village Open Gardens event in its normal format has been cancelled but it still goes ahead online.
I spent a few hours preparing photos of my wildlife garden to upload to the Lubenham Open Gardens Facebook page.
This gallery contains 7 photos.
I recently found a set of watercolour pencils which I bought many moons ago but have hardly used. Feeling very lazy today I decided to use them to complete another page of my colouring book, “Ivy and the Inky Butterfly” by Johanna Basford. I found a page of flowers and leaves to tie in with doing something connected with nature with this result;
- 114 Days of Freedom
- Book review
- Craft projects
- Disability Confident
- Health & Fitness
- M.E & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Photo challenge
- Quotes and sayings
- Sewing projects
- Share Your World
- True happenings
Hurrah! I never thought I would cheer when it rains but I did today. I love the warm sunshine and being able to sit outside in the wildlife garden and just chill out to the sound of birdsong, scuffling of hedgehogs and the gentle “plop” of the frogs jumping back into the pond but my garden needs water! It started off as a light drizzle this morning but has gradually increased to a steady rain this afternoon. I just hope it doesn’t last long!
At first I was able to sit under my apple tree as now it is in full leaf I am sheltered from most of the wet stuff but I soon found that my glasses were steaming up and splattered with rain so I put Plan B into action.
I have many and varied bird feeding stations in the garden. Different feeders, at different heights and filled with a variety of food. I soon realised that I would be spending most of my day indoors, so I thought I’d shake it up a bit.
I filled a teapot with a pre-prepared mix of “songbird” food but with extra black sunflower seeds and mealworms (dried). I then moved it from its normal position in the open garden, to well inside the canopy of the apple tree. This is very near to my Girl Cave and where I usually sit to watch and learn. Whoever finds it will either be lucky or pretty astute and brave. I then set my trail camera up to watch whilst I was happy and warm indoors….
So look who got there first? No surprise it was a flock of starlings both adults and their young queueing up to take their turn and dip their head into the teapot.
Its easy to dislike these birds. They are noisy (gobby), demanding, hang around in gangs and are happy to chase off other birds if they want to eat. But they are also clever and if you look close, their feathers are almost luminescent in shades of blue and green. I can’t say that they are my favourites; they are too skwarky and opinionated for me but I do respect their intelligence and ability to feed their many juveniles.
Sadly, walking the dog through the countryside yesterday brought on my hay fever and therefore today I decided to make the most of my Wildlife Garden and stay home. I created my Wildlife Garden in 2016 on a piece of land hidden behind our garage. Hubby spent a lot of time and hard work growing beans in very dry and barren soil, even though we had worked diligently to improve the soil with manure, conditioner etc. I managed to persuade him to give up gracefully so I could take it over for my Wildlife Project.
Luckily it has been very successful and 4 years later I enjoy sightings of many varieties of birds, insects, hedgehogs, frogs and the odd dragonfly. We even have a couple of squirrels which come to scavenge the peanuts.
My favourite bird which visits my garden is the goldfinch but only because of the vivid colours of its feathers. It’s almost tropical. Unlike the cheeky and almost tame blackbirds and robins, the goldfinches are a bit skittish so if I am to get a photo I need to set my camera up well before they arrive with the shutter button within reach of my hand without alerting them to movement. If they spot anything out of kilter they fly off.
I have managed to take some photos over the last couple of days so here’s my Random Act of Wildness contribution for Day 2.
It has been too warm to roam far today so, as it was my turn to walk the pooch, I decided to go really wild and turn it into a nature walk. I took my camera and enjoyed the experience so much more being more mindful of our surroundings. I noticed the different smells and colours along the hedgerows. The trees in the churchyard with different shades of green really showed up against the clear blue sky and it made me think how many shades of green I have in my paint box- not that many.
I am lucky to live in a village which prides itself on its dedication to keep the village looking beautiful and well tended all year round and in addition to the usual summer and winter bedding shows, the volunteers for Lubenham in Bloom have created a wildlife garden, incorporating a small insect hotel, and a separate bug hotel in the church yard. A bug hotel is fun to make and can be any shape or size and many of the items will be hanging around home and garden already. I will do a separate post on these later in June.
We have a stream/river running through the “back” of the village which often floods in the winter but after a very dry and warm May is running very low. This means you can see the mud banks better and all the holes excavated by, I assume, water voles. I stand to be corrected as I am no expert on water wild-life. A bit further on we walk along an old railway line which starts off in a lovey shaded area where the path has been taken over on either side by trees. Thick ivy covers the ground so its lovely and cool even in the warmest weather. Heaven for dog walkers. A pile of railway sleepers provide a wonderful home for all sorts of insects and wildlife but as I dont like creepy-crawlies I’m not looking too close.
The shaded path opens out into an open walkway, which should now be part of AdamSmile, taking us into a field where the dog (Jasper) can run off the lead. The field is a mass of buttercups and along the typical British hedgerow we find Cow Parsley, Vetch, Nettles, and a variety of grasses growing waist high. Above these are the blackberry and elderflower bushes, both of which can be used to make wine, as well as blackberry and apple puddings in the autumn! Elderflower cordial is also popular and is really easy to make.
I have a hate-hate relationship with grasses as they are the main contributor to my hay-fever in summer when the pollen count is very high so I try and give them a wide berth if possible.
We found a patch of thistles which Eyore would be quite happy to tuck into and a lovely briar rose-typical of an old-fashioned English hedgerow.
Altogether Jasper and I had a lovely walk and it was a real pleasure taking note of all the different wild flowers and trees instead of walking by.
We must do this more often.
Get ready to do something wild every day during June with the 30 Days Wild challenge for 2020 run by the Wildlife Trusts.
- Make time for nature
- Explore wild places near where you live
- Share your love of nature and wildlife
Connecting with nature and spending time in wild spaces and places is scientifically proven to alleviate stress, balance our emotions and even boost our immune system. In the current climate of enforced lockdown, anything which helps to improve our mental health is welcome and what better way than to find a way to incorporate nature into your daily life.
Big changes and large projects are not necessary and a little effort goes a long way to encourage wildlife into your space. This can be a mini-pond made from a washing-up bowl, giving up part of your garden to a wood pile or uncut grass or feeding the birds all year round and not just in winter.
The Wildlife Trusts are once again asking us to do one wild thing a day throughout the whole month of June for your health, wellbeing and for the planet. That’s 30 Random Acts of Wildness and anything connected with nature counts so if you are stuck indoors, making hedgehog cup cakes might be something to consider.
You can still sign up for 30-days Wild and receive downloadable information about activities to help you complete the challenge.
Personally I will be relying on my Wildlife Garden for inspiration-a barren patch of land which I transformed into a haven for nature 4 years ago and which is now thriving with a variety of creatures seen throughout the year.
Now that lockdown has been eased a little this challenge is very do-able and can be used as an opportunity to start exploring those foreign lands beyond the front door.
I will be posting about my Random Acts of Wildness every day, however small or insignificant they seem, and I’m hoping that lots of people do the same so I can gain some inspiration.
As well as helping nature and teaching people about wildlife, the 30-day challenge has also proved to be a source of relaxation and stress relief so have fun and enjoy 30-days Wild!
Some of my more resilient readers will remember that this time last year I requisitioned the piece of ground that hubby used to grow vegetables on for my wildlife garden. Hubby didn’t have the time, and I am more interested in hedgehogs, birds and frogs than vegetables and so, over the next few months, a wildlife garden it became.
Only 12 months after my first efforts, I agreed to open my garden to the public on our village Open Garden Day. I was a bit worried that no one would be that interested and wasn’t expecting many visitors. Hah! how wrong can a person be? In this case I was hopelessly wrong and desperately ill-prepared for the masses that descended on my small garden.
Between 11.00am and 5.30pm we had a constant stream of visitors that were interested in how to attract wildlife into their gardens. For these enthusiasts, my garden is perfect. I was in the lucky position of being able to develop a garden from scratch purely with wildlife in mind, and although I didn’t plan it formally, the garden which evolved organically is beautiful and what’s more important, definitely attracts the wildlife. I am very proud of my efforts but am even more in awe of the plants that have established themselves so comfortably in the last year and presented a garden to be complimented last weekend.
More details of how I achieved the end (but ever evolving) result in later posts but here a just a few photographs of the finished product as at 11 June 2017.