Tag Archive | pond plants

Wildlife garden-autumn update

It was lovely to have some warm, dry days in July and August. We managed a trip to the seaside and I enjoy sitting outside late at night  on balmy evenings hedgehog-watching.

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Old Hunstanton beach

High summer in the garden is very different to the lovely, fresh Spring we had when everything was green and lush; juvenile fledglings arrived to munch on the mealworms, frogs appeared in the ponds and hedgehogs came in their droves to feast in their café.

During the hot and dry few days, the fledglings flew the nest and found their own food-sources, the frogs remained in the ponds but were sheltering from the bright sunshine under the pondweed, and the hedgehogs spent as much time drinking as eating.

Now that we are in early autumn, the teasles have gone over with curling brown leaves, and the teasle heads are no longer an attraction for the bees and butterflies. I will have to wait patiently for the finches to arrive and enjoy the seeds.

The bushy and colourful nasturtiums have been eaten in their entirety by cabbage white butterfly caterpillars so that only stalks are left.

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Cabbage White caterpillars

I thought this was interesting………

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End of the road?

 

I’m not sure what happened next but I wish that I’d stayed to watch!

Our apple tree is laden with fruit and I am surprised that some of the branches haven’t broken under the weight.

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Apples galore!

We also have plenty of fresh raspberries…

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Now that most of the bee-friendly perennials are in place I thought it was time for something different. I haven’t tried gardening with succulents before and on researching them I was amazed to find how many colours, shapes and varieties there are. My options are limitless but starting small I went ahead with a selection from the local garden centre.

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Bird-bath with a leak-now a planter

No garden of mine is complete without a girlie-man cave and so to rival hubby’s double garage space, I went to town on my new little greenhouse. It cost me less than £20 and was easy to assemble. It has plenty of room for my stuff, and a chair where I can sit and drink my tea in peace. Naturally it had to be decorated, and so I made a long trail of bunting to hang up.

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My girlie-garden grotto

One of my favourite areas of the new garden is the pond and bog garden. I am blown away with how well it has grown and settled down.

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A perfect frog pad

It was only a few months ago that it looked like this……

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This was hard work! But worth it.

It will be interesting to see what autumn brings. Our last pictures of the hedgehogs before they go to sleep for the winter; chaffinches on the teasles and lots and lots of apples to pick and freeze.

It’s our village scarecrow festival at the weekend which is always a great event as long as the weather is kind to us.

Keep your fingers crossed for fine weather 🙂

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.

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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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Pond and Bog garden

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It began like this. A donated pond liner and hard graft digging a hole in tough ground. Gradually the pond and bog garden took shape during the week as I added some rockery stones (also donated).

And a couple of pond plants which I bought.

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I was on a roll and with a spurt of energy I quickly turned this previously barren piece of garden into a water haven for wildlife.

I placed the rocks around the pond edge so that there are plenty of cracks and crevices for frogs to crawl into and for me to plant creeping plants to soften the edges. I made a gravel path from the Toad Abode directly to the pond, and fenced the whole water area in with feature edging and wire to prevent hedgehogs falling in. Although hedgehogs are traditionally good swimmers, they can’t get out of a pond with steep sides. Just in case one decides to take the leap, I dismantled an old wooden CD holder and placed it in the pond to act as a ladder. Hopefully, if the worst does happen, a clever hedgie will be able to escape quite easily.

I made the bog garden by digging a hole at one end of the pond and lining it with thick plastic membrane. I did fork a few holes in it so that it doesn’t get too water-logged and filled it in with layers of pea gravel, soil-based compost and potting compost to finish. I gave it a good water before planting some yellow irises taken from my other pond, a marsh marigold and two other bog plants I cant remember the name of!

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Pond and, to the left, bog garden

 

To provide a backdrop, I moved some teasles into the corner and planted some of my foxgloves and cottage perennials around the back edge. I have sown some hollyhock seeds for next year so the whole area should look beautiful come summer 2017.

I moved the donated tree trunk to the side of the pond so that any frogs who fancy exploring will have plenty of insects to eat.

I finished off by making a seat with the donated bricks and railway sleeper then spreading bark chippings over weed-control fabric covering the whole water garden area. The bark not only provides a nice look to the area but it also provides a home for little critters and this morning, the fledgling blackbirds were rooting through the chippings clearly finding food!

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A baby blackbird perching on a flower pot

 

I think it looks fab!

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I am so pleased with how this has turned out!

Every frog has its own pond….

which is, I understand, a Bulgarian proverb.

Not so in my garden as I have an army of frogs in my one and only tiny pond. Time I think to create another in my embryonic wildlife garden so they can spread out and enjoy a new habitat should they wish. As well as encouraging hedgehogs, I like frogs in the garden as they too eat slugs and snails which wreak havoc with the Hostas.

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One of the pond residents

 

Nothing too big, but a little larger than the one I dug 10 years ago perhaps. It boils down to the size of the pond liner which a lady has very kindly donated to my cause. Luckily, when I collected it from her allotment yesterday, I was pleased to see that it is neither too big nor too small. It’s just right.

So, on with the digging.

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Hard core digging

This is the tricky part. It’s all very well to have wonderful ideas until you have to put the hard graft in to make the dreams reality. All was going well for 12″ until I hit the hardcore. I understand that our house in the corner of the close was not only the site office (hence we have a telephone line running into our garage) but also a place where the rubble and rubbish was tipped before it was then covered over with top soil to make a garden. I have no problem with that, until I start digging. It’s hard work and in the muggy heat of the afternoon I am soon sweating so much I can’t see out of my glasses.

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Lazin’ on a sunny afternoon

 

I managed to dig a decent sized hole and remove some stones before I am forced to give in for the day. I think I need a pick-axe to do this efficiently but whether I can find one is another matter. That’s for another day! In the meantime I have plenty of things I can do until this weather breaks and I can continue when its a bit cooler.

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Donated pond liner

I have in mind a tyre herb garden, tin-can wall planting and a vertical pallet planter for starters

This wildlife gardening is not only a great idea, it’s also fun!