Friday, 24 May 2013

More Long Tailed Tits and Making Sweet Pea Canes

Yesterday was a hive of activity in the garden department. I dragged L off to our local garden centre after school. It's run by a friend of ours called Roger, a jolly, bouncy person who wears shorts all year and looks like a man of the soil. I went mad again and spent another small fortune on plants and some new pots as well.
I am completely caught up with stuffing the garden full of bee-loving varieties, so ended up with a wallflower, a veronica and a tangerine Geum, which I first saw on Jessica's  rusty duck blog and fell in love with so I'm very pleased to have one of my own in the garden. 





I also had 12 sweet pea plants to put out but drew the line at spending £20 on a purpose-built posh cane set-up. We have a mass of black bamboo growing at the top of the garden so I figured that was a ready supply of canes just waiting to be cut and stripped.
I always ask plants/ trees before I cut them down or move them. It's part of the Taoist belief in respecting energy in all living things and I just think it's polite. So I asked the bamboo and was merrily cutting my way through about 12 canes. One of them I probably should have left in situ because it fought me and gouged a hole in my finger which then bled all over the canes.


 Still, we got there and in the end I had 12 reasonably-sized canes. They may not look as aesthetically pleasing as the pre-cut and perfectly manicured garden centre versions but to be honest we had one of those a couple of years back and it's already falling apart, and I'm rather proud of my endeavours, not to mention the fact it freed up twenty quid I can now spend on plants which has to be a good thing! I'm looking for a Hebe this weekend.

The girls were very interested in what I was doing and came over for a look


Pre-tidied up bamboo cane


Canes with all the feathery bits removed. I started off using the handsaw to do this job but soon found that a hand axe took a quarter of the time.


The smart garden centre variety (which is already falling apart)


A friend who came to help


 Sweet peas planted inside my new canes. The greenhouse is next to this pot and I was a bit worried the high winds yesterday might have resulted in a disaster. Never mind mice in the garden, if I'd smashed his greenhouse M would never have spoken to me again! Luckily they were well wedged and no movement occurred.


The finishing touches, the ends tied up with twine. The canes were a bit bigger than expected, but at least we're covered in the eventuality of monster sweet peas.



The assistant gardener was snoozing on his step in the sun




So all in all another productive day in the garden.

I was rewarded for all this hard work by the arrival of the LTT family just as I was downing tools. The babies are becoming increasingly independent (it's amazing how quickly that happens) and now fly down out of the willow and straight to the feeders with their beaks open waiting to be fed. One or two have even tried feeding themselves. They are learning... 

I'm also amazed at how they accept my presence. For the last two photos here the parent landed on the feeder while I was standing within reach and wasn't remotely concerned about me being there or the movement of the camera. Now you wouldn't get that with the woodpecker, the slightest hint of a human and he's off. 
With the LTT's you tend to hear them coming long before you see them- they make a right old racket- and they all descend at once on the fat ball feeder, the babies squabbling with one another about who gets to sit in the prime feeding location in the middle. Needless to say I am not getting a great deal of work done at the moment!









Have a good weekend all,

CT x

19 comments:

  1. I love geums, I have a couple of different varieties that I bought from a specialist nursery and could not bear to leave them behind when we moved. I'll get a photo for you. They do suffer with mildew though. The LTT family are gorgeous, you are so lucky that they dont mind you being around. You are making me long for my garden centre visit again-but with all the tourists arriving for the holidays it's just not worth going out in the car.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd love to see a pic of your geums- might give me some more suggestions for other colours to put in here. Poor you I sympathise about tourists clogging up the roads. I guess it's the price you pay for living in such a pretty place. Hopefully you'll be able to get to the garden centre before too long. Glad to hear you move plants with houses too!

      Delete
  2. Hi CT, Your LTT babies are just gorgeous and you have fabulous photos of them!! The second and third in particular would look superb on a greetings card or calendar. You really are privileged to have the family in your garden! I too have found how unbothered they are if I'm in the garden when they visit (not that I've ever had the babies visit) and as you say I always hear them first, such a lovely sound I think.

    Your assistant gardener will have to have his wages docked for sleeping on the job ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi SB. Yes those babies really put a smile on my face when I see them. Little balls of fluff. I'll mention to Ted about the docking of wages, but as he unearthed and destroyed a rat's nest the other day I expect he'll say he's earnt his snooze time :-)

      Delete
  3. Gorgeous indeed! So jealous but at least I get to look at yours. Our neighbours have given us some of their canes but they were kind enough to strip them for us first. I can't wait to see your sweet peas in a couple of months.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm in danger of taking them for granted, they are here so often during the day at the moment. Hoping the peas survive all this wind and cold- we've lit the fire tonight.

      Delete
  4. I didn't realise geums were bee friendly until watching one of the Chelsea programmes this week. I've just bought them for their looks, so this is a real bonus. Our bees should be really happy, as I have so many Geums now!
    Those LTTs are so very cute..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've loved watching Chelsea this week and have vowed to go next year. I was so pleased to find the tangerine Geum after seeing yours, and as you say it's even better that it's bee friendly.

      Delete
  5. LTTs!!!! I heart these big time. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought you'd like these pics Mark :-)

      Delete
  6. Those LTT babies are adorable and your photos of them are terrific. I agree the tangerine geum is lovely. Sweet peas are beautiful, too and I look forward to seeing yours in flower.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The camera is pretty good but it's the fact they let me get so close that's made all the difference. Fewer visits en mass today- I think they are starting to be independent. Can't wait for the peas either- that smell!

      Delete
  7. Replies
    1. Hi Julie,
      Thanks for the kind comment :-)

      Delete
  8. Thank you for visiting me over at W&W. What cute Long-tailed Tit babies. And the assistant gardener looks like s/he's got the art of delegation sussed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Caroline, thanks for your kind comment. The babies are adorable and complete time wasters as well. As for Ted, I think he has life in general sussed ;-)

      Delete
  9. This looks very much like our garden over the weekend. We were planting sweetpeas in pots with an equally attentive assistant gardener! Your coal tits look so lovely we had a baby jackdaw in the garden which wasn't as cute as was so noisy demanding more food all the time!
    I like your choice of plants the wall flower you bought is wonderful as it flowers for such a long time.
    Sarah x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Westies, where would we be without them Sarah? CT x

      Delete
  10. I went mad again and spent another small fortune on plants and some new pots as well.countryside tourism

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x