Tag Archive | Gardens

Nest building

The sparrows in my neighbourhood must have the most luxurious nests available. Every year at this time they come back to my garden and strip my pampas grass fronds, flying away with their beaks crammed full of fluffy nest-lining. It must be the avian equivalent of a Tempura mattress!

It doesn’t take long for the grass to disappear and only the stalks are left.

Sparrows on my Pampas grass

Sparrows on my Pampas grass

Here is a photo taken from the dining room and if you look carefully, captures two cheeky  “spugs”  stealing my grass!

2 hours later-my poor plumes

2 hours later-my poor plumes


A blurred bird but you get the picture!

A blurred bird but you get the picture!


50 ways to kill a slug…..

I love charity shops. I can’t walk past without popping in and scouring their bookshelves for little gems. I found some on Saturday and whilst I wouldn’t have spent £4.99 on a little green book called “50 Ways to Kill a Slug” I was more than happy to hand over 75p. It was worth every penny!

I grow some gorgeous hostas, one of the principal targets for slugs and I am always trying to find ways of deterring these grotesque slime-balls  from munching their way through the luscious leaves. I have tried beer traps, WD 40, Vaseline, sawdust and egg shells. So what advice does the author give in her book as we head into Spring and those tasty green shoots start to appear? Here are my 10 favourites.

  1. Keep your garden tidy- clear out all secluded dark moist areas and compost what you find, including the slugs!
  2. Expose the clutches of white slug eggs and watch the birds feast. Caviar.
  3. Grow mint, chives, garlic, geraniums, foxgloves and fennel.
  4. Collect all that hoovered up dog and cat hair and spread it around the base of your plants.
  5. Copper tape wrapped around plant pots will not only provide a physical barrier but will also emit small shocks when crossed. 🙂
  6. Upside down grapefruit skins attract slugs so make sure they are provided with a door to enter the dome and they will congregate in their newly created “house”.
  7. Encourage hedgehogs and frogs into your garden. They love slugs for breakfast.
  8. Feed them to next-door’s chickens!
  9. Fill a bowl with beer and the slugs will drown in a drunken haze. What a way to go.
  10. Pine needles can be a fine deterrent-too prickly to persist.

The author finishes off her advice with “If all else fails……

Venture out into the garden armed with this book. Locate a slug, remove it from among your plants, place the book unopened on top of the slug and squelch down with your foot. Then flick off the dead remains. Finally, wipe down your book!”


High summer

Bees balm
Tri-colour sage
Fragrant lavender scent
Purple pom-pom chives
Herb patch 

Bird bath
Climbing-rose arch
Sundial shadows slowly creeping
Ivy-covered trellis
Wind chimes 

Black dots
Ladybirds roam
Shiny red shells, polished
Weaving between long blades of grass
Fly home 

Frogs leap
Welcome water
Lush damp leaves, undergrowth
Heavy showers bounce off paving

Ripe fruit
Blood-red beetroot
Tomato tendrils hang
Giant pumpkins trail, juicy figs
Bees gorge    

Gentle rays shine
Green grapes bask and ripen
Bountiful bunches plump sweet flesh

Dew drops
Silk spun lace web
Delicate, fine, perfect
Woven thread, elegant patterns

Tall spikes
Sunflowers dance
Hollyhock double blooms
Foxglove spires, iris stems arise