Tag Archive | Wildlife

30 Days Wild- Day 6

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. 

 

 

30 Days Wild-Day 4

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;

30 Days Wild-Day 3

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.

 

 

 

30 Days Wild-Day 1

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.

 

30 Days Wild starts tomorrow

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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 have great ideas for introducing wildlife to your garden so take a look at Go Wild!

 

 

 

 

My wildlife garden 12 months on

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.

On The Up

I don’t know where the time goes and I cant believe that its 8 days since I wrote my Blog. In that time however I have managed to establish some sort of equilibrium and am much calmer.

Earlier in the week Jasper alerted me to a juvenile hedgehog eating its dinner in the night garden. It was clearly obvious that the hedgehog was not particularly big, so I asked hubby to bring me the scales from the kitchen.

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I weighed “Cheeky Charlie” (named because he/she didn’t curl up for long) and found that the 375gms was not sufficient for him/her to survive winter hibernation. I understand that hedgehogs should be at least 500-600gms to survive over winter so I prepared the cat carrier, complete with towels, hot water bottle, newspaper, food and water for the hedgehog’s overnight stay with us, before taking him/her to the local Wildlife Hospital the next day.

The hospital welcomed the new addition and promised that we can have him/her back in the Spring.

The hospital will keep the juvenile hedgehogs, not ready for hibernation, in warm conditions so they don’t try to hibernate. This would probably kill them as they don’t have enough body fat to live on whilst their body slows down. Hopefully, after a Spring and Summer back in our garden Cheeky Charlie will be ready to hibernate this time next year.

In the meantime, soft as I am, I have built the hogs a shelter so they don’t have to eat their dinner in the rain……..

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Am I daft?

Patience rewarded

I love butterflies. Delicate and colourful they flit around the garden, swooping between the trees, dipping and rising as their light bodies are caught on the breeze. They often settle on our red-brick wall, enjoying the warm sunshine as they open and close their wings.

This year I wanted to grow lots of butterfly friendly plants and flowers and, having created a butterfly garden with a variety of dwarf and standard buddleias, ice-plants, hebes and echinaceas I had to be patient and wait for the butterflies to appear.

It took a while but my patience was rewarded with the arrival of a few different varieties in the end.

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Autumn update-making hedgehog houses

Brrrrrr……we are still having some gorgeous sunny days but there is definitely a chill in the air which wasn’t obvious in September. A sure sign that we are in the midst of autumn with it’s misty mornings and dewy evenings leaving a damp film over the garden.

Since my last post, I been focussing on the hedgehogs. No surprise there, but now I am thinking about them approaching hibernation time and making sure that they have somewhere safe, dry and comfortable to curl up. Obviously most hedgehogs manage to find a nest; in Pampas grass, under sheds and often in compost heaps where the heat of the rotting process is a welcome extra but giving them shelter in addition is always a good idea as they can move between nests during the hibernation season.

I bought 2 ready-made  hedgehog houses earlier in the year and they have been in-situ for a few months now but then I spotted instructions for  making a hedgehog house online courtesy of St Tiggywinkles and I decided to have a go myself.

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I also found some roofing felt in the garage so now the hedgehogs have waterproof roofs as well.

.These three houses already have new gardens to go to so I hope that some lucky hedgehog will find a comfy shelter to bed down in for the winter!

This is where I hid mine…..

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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 🙂