Teasels

Teasels have been growing in my gardens for over twenty years. We bought the first one as a small plant from a wildlife stall at a garden show when my boys were tiny. We loved the name, we loved the way they grow and we hoped the plants would attract goldfinches. That one plant grew strong and tall and scattered its seed around. I haven’t planted a teasel since but they’ve always been there, popping up in surprising places and looking magnificent. I love these plants but I’ve never seen a goldfinch eating the seeds, until today. So here’s today’s … Continue reading Teasels

A little domestic wildness

It’s June so it’s time for #30DaysWild , the campaign run by the Wildlife Trusts to get everyone to spot a little bit of wildness every day in June. I’ve been doing this for a couple of years and most years I treasure the chance to stop for a few minutes before or after work or over lunch to notice the wildness in the city around me. This year it’s a little different, with the wildness restricted to my daily walks or my own garden. Working from home, I can nip out with a cup of coffee or over lunch … Continue reading A little domestic wildness

Counting bees

For yesterday’s #SixonSaturday I was counting bees, or at least counting the flowers that the bees like in my garden. I found my six: foxglove, sage, chives, comfrey, yellow poppies, cotoneaster but there were more: raspberries, wild roses, rocket, red campion, clover, nearly all self-seeded and thrown around the garden. The sage and the raspberries and the chives grow where I planted them, providing us with food and flowers and more bees I sowed the rocket last spring and it lasted valiantly over the winter, growing tough and woody, now flowering with abandon and attracting bees The others, although chosen … Continue reading Counting bees

Six from the allotment

I made it along to the allotment last week, for the first time in a while. We’ve been trying to social distance there and my allotment partner had been doing all the work this spring. I had a day off from working from home so made a trip to the allotment to do my share, complete with gloves and hand sanitizer for dealing with the gate. Here’s what was happening there. There was a friendly robin, sitting in the apple tree and hopping round my feet. It was excited by all the digging, finding food in the freshly dug soil. … Continue reading Six from the allotment

Weeds – or tiny joys in the garden

I posted six photos on Twitter for SixOnSaturday this morning: all things that needed to be done in the garden today: There was weeding to be done: dandelions blooming and fading in among the flowers, daffodils needing to be deadheaded, a wild rose rambling under the paving stones and reappearing in the thyme, a massive dock growing amidst the aqueligia, tomatoes getting a bit weedy and needing bigger pots and more light and potatoes coming up through the cardboard, requiring a bit of extra compost to protect them from late frosts. So only six pictures but a lot of work … Continue reading Weeds – or tiny joys in the garden

First frog

Today I spotted my first frog of the season, not in the pond, but deep in a compost bin. I had been doing some spring tidying: weeding, hacking things back, looking for signs of new growth. I went to deposit some woody prunings in my very long-term woody pruning compost bin – made from an old leaking water barrel. It’s been sitting there for four or five years, not doing very much but today I noticed that it had produced some quite useable compost. I emptied some out and sieved it, producing three bucketfuls of beautiful crumbly stuff. I’m not … Continue reading First frog

Advent calendar week one – a lot of weather

Here is your weekly roundup of my #wildandwonderful advent calendar, where the theme has been mostly about weather.  The week started with more of the magical frost and I chose a frosted apple leaf to celebrate the 1st of December The sun was shining on the shed behind and the ice particles were stunning. The frost melted the next day but a wander round the front garden led me to the sweetly scented viburnum: The next day was neither cold nor wet and I paid a little visit to the allotment to tackle more of the endless couch grass. I was … Continue reading Advent calendar week one – a lot of weather

Fox and a pear tree

I was down at the allotment in the rain, checking on my Brussels Sprouts. They’re looking good, so we should have enough for Christmas Dinner.  As the light was failing this beautiful creature ambled up and sat down within feet of me, waiting patiently for me to take this photograph: It’s a bit hazy as it was getting dark but I felt blessed. The weather has been dismal for the last few days but today the sun shone and an exciting parcel was delivered, much to the cats’ delight: It was the long awaited pear tree, so I planted it … Continue reading Fox and a pear tree

Creatures of the night – for Halloween

it’s Halloween so here are a couple of our alternative Halloween lanterns (an orange and a pumpkin) from a few years ago in the days when we Halloween birthdays in the house and we were very creative with our traditions – for more on these, see here But tonight our Halloween birthday people are away from home and doing their own celebrations so we’re having to find new ways of celebrating this spookiest of nights. I offer you spooky footprints in the garden: I spotted these on the cardboard covering the raised beds this morning. That looks bigger than a … Continue reading Creatures of the night – for Halloween

Nesting bees

It was one of those days when you are sitting having your lunch, pondering the nature of utility and beauty and realising that your garden is not quite passing the William Morris test: ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’ – for more see here , where I argue that the test does not apply to the garden. In the garden there are many many beautiful things but also some that are not beautiful but are useful, mostly old plastic buckets and odd bits of wire caging which keep cats … Continue reading Nesting bees