Thursday, 31 May 2012

End of May

Russian Vine grew all over the front of the house when we moved in.  It is appropriately nick named 'Mile a Minute'.  I pulled it down and planted a honeysuckle.  It took sixteen years to grow big enough to reach the top of the door ... but it has gone mad in the last two years.  I am so pleased with it!  It is going to smell lovely. The one at the back of the garden has been flowering for weeks but we don't get as much sun at the front of the house. 

The London Pride and a couple of creeping plants at the edge of the small pond have done well this month but the star of the show has to be the Aquilegia.

Forget-me-nots are still looking good but, if I want the same show next year, I will have to live with a messy bit for a while as they go to seed before I can pull them up.  The red Oriental Poppies are out in force; the pale pink one is late this year.  It usually blooms at the same time as the Honeysuckle, pink Aquilegia and pink Lupins. They look great with a back drop of pale striped grass. Hopefully it will pop open in the next couple of days.

The Robins have fledged. We woke a few days ago to the sound of baby Robins on the Lane.  The loudest birds at the moment though are the Blackbirds.  They have been nesting in the eves of the house next door, hidden in a massive Clematise.  Unfortunately the Magpies found them so we have had full ariel warfare!  The Blackbirds are winning through at the moment!  I watched the male fly across our garden swearing loudly and looked up expecting to see him attacking a Magpie but he was chasing a Sparrowhawk.  Neighbours from Hell! I think they will be looking for a better location if they brood again this year!   

I was thrilled to see a Bullfinch fly in for a quick visit.  Only our second sighting of one in the garden.  It landed on the rose arch just a few feet away from me.  Brilliant view!

The frogs are still around but they are a lot quieter now the mating is over.  The tadpoles will be busy eating everything they can find (including each other!) in the pond.

This pond iris bloomed this morning.  There are three flowers on it and about twenty buds.  It was so heavy last year it fell over - I hope it is anchored properly now!

The garden and weather are so nice right now the cat is refusing to come inside.

See The Patient Gardener blog for more EOMV posts.

Friday, 25 May 2012

May Days

Defra (Dept for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) have decided to spend thousands of pounds of public money to destroy nests of Common Buzzards.  Apparently some wealthy landowners claim the Buzzards are killing their Pheasants and spoiling their Shooting parties.  The Buzzard is a protected species; Pheasants are bred to shoot.  Surely they should just breed more Pheasants!  There must be thousands of people like me who love to see this beautiful bird soaring in a blue sky.  Defra should save the money and leave us with the birds!
Here is a link to a petition if you agree with me:

May Days

The garden is full of Aquilegia at the moment - one of my favourite flowers. 

Easy to grow, self-seeding and lots of colour.  What more do you need?

Aquila is the Latin name for Eagle.  The petal was thought to resemble an eagle's claw hence the name Aquilegia. 

The Oriental Poppies and Peonies are opening.  The Honeysuckle is so heavy it pulled the trellis away from the fence. 

The renovation work has moved on as we have erected two lines of trellis towards the front of the garden.  I wanted to screen the main garden from passers-by.  One line of trellis would have worked but I preferred to stagger it by placing one line at one side of the path and the second line on the other side of the path.  I'm pleased with it so far.
Andy originally put the Greenman head at the top of the pole, which I quite liked, until he pointed out it looked like an executed criminal!

Anyone got any  suggestions for a scented, quick climbing plant for a West-facing trellis?

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Where did Nelson lose his arm?

Where did Nelson lose his arm?
Any ideas?
It was July 1797 when he was hit by a cannon ball during an attack on Santa Cruz in Tenerife. 

Where did the worst ever accident in aviation history take place?
That was March 1977 at Rodeos Airport, North Tenerife, when two Boeing 747s  collided on the runway killing 583 people (there were only 61 survivors).

Guess where we've just been!

We spent a few days birding and a few days next to the pool.  It was lovely to get away from the rain!

One day we went to the Laurel Forest near Erjos to find Bolle's and Laurel Pigeons (both endemic to the island).  We followed a lanefilled with sweet peas, daisies, purple clover,poppies and apple blossom.  The sun was shining.  Lizards were scurrying across the path.  Birds were singing, bees were busy and the air was scented with Fennel.  On either side of the lane the small fields were cultivated with fruit and vegetables and the wild flowers were there to attracted the pollinators.  I felt more like an allotment than a farm.    It was a beautiful place.

The Aquilegia has joined the garden party in our absence and the Alliums are about to burst onto the scene.  The pond is my favourite part of the garden at the moment.

I have started making plans for renovating another area.  At the moment the bins are hidden away on an old path behind the apple trees.  I've no idea where I am going to move them to but I want to open the path so the bins have to go.  Minor problem ... I'll solve it later!  

Here's the before shot:

The green compost bin fell over while we were away so I have relocated that.  The pots are being filled with bedding plants and summer bulbs and placed around the house. The pile of earth is left over turf from my renovation of the back of the garden so I have used that and composted the rest. 

Looking better already! 

The bird list:
Blue Chaffinch; Canary; Boole's Pigeon; Laurel Pigeon; Tenerife Goldcrest; Canary Islands Chiffchaff; Berthelot's Pipit; Tenerife Bluetit; Tenerife Robin; Canary Islands Kestrel; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Yellow Legged Gull; Cory's Shearwater; Barbary Partridge

Sunday, 6 May 2012

A Pretty Visitor

We have been watching a pair of Red-legged Partridges which have taken up residence in the field outside Woodlouse House.  Another name for them is 'Frenchies' or French Partridges as they were brought to England in 1770 when our Grey Partridge population was depleted due to overhunting.

Until the really bad weather last week our Red-legged Partridges were sticking to one area and one of the birds tended to be sitting a great deal of the time.  Since the rain they have moved about and actually wandered across to our side of the lane yesterday.  Would love to see tiny Partridges following them but nothing so far.

They lay clutches of 10 - 16 eggs and, according to the BBC, "have the unusual occasional habit of laying two clutches of eggs in different nests. One clutch is incubated by the female, the other by the male."

Woke this morning to the sound of a Whitethroat singing in the hedge and we had Swifts overhead plus a Hobby - three new ticks for the garden bird list.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Pinch, Punch, End of the Month

We had an interval of sunshine yesterday but the grey clouds are back.  I know we need the rain but it is depressing! 
A pair of Robins have been working very hard over the last couple of weeks.  When they think we aren't looking they are flying into the ivy near the front door with full beaks.  I listened for them yesterday but there was silence.  I planted a few seedlings and he didn't appear to grab the grubs.  I was feeling abandoned but as I prepared to go for tea there he was singing in the holly tree.  I am glad he is okay but I don't think I will be seeing his chicks.  There was sad news from the Nottingham Peregrines this weekend too - two of their chicks have died.  Nature is brutal.
Here's my garden at the end of the month:

After spending almost every day of March in the garden I have spent lots of April at the new allotment.  Parts of the garden seemed overgrown yesterday.  Round the pond in particular.  There are masses of buds on the Aquilegia and the Honeysuckle.  The Poeny is ready to burst and the Oriental Poppies are spreading nicely so we should have a good show soon.  One surprise is a Golden Rod I bought for a pound at the side of the road in Norfolk last summer.  I only had five 'sticks' last year  but this year ,,, it's a good job I like Golden Rod!

The back of the garden is shaded by Oriental Cherry trees, Rowan and Lilacs.

The wind is blowing the pink blossom everywhere - amazed there is any left on the tree!  It will look lovely next to the Lilac trees next week.  They are underplanted with whitebells and bluebells and masses of Forget-me-nots.

Comma butterfly
 A Comma flew in for a visit.  It is pretty common these days but the population crashed at one time and in 1920 there were only two sightings.  It gets its name from this small white mark on its underwing:

Go over to Helen at The Patient Gardener for more End of the Month gardens.