Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Garden Bounty and All The Wild Things

Last year our veggies and flowers were decimated by slugs. This year, after natural slug deterrents failed, we chose to go down the "slug death" route. This goes against my principles but it was a case of being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. As a result, this year's flowers and veggies are flourishing, which is good news both for us and the wildlife who feed on them.

We are eating our own pak choi, spinach, lettuce, broad beans, strawberries and rocket, and the veg patches are stuffed full of things in various stages of healthy growth. M is a happy bunny because the veg is his domain, and I am a happy bunny because my bees and insect people have places to feed and shelter.

(but not for long once the mice and birds spot them)

Greenhouse bursting at the seams

Hanging Basket Tomatoes

One of M's creations

Broad Beans

Mavis is still broody (silly bird),
so egg laying duties are being fulfilled by Ruby and Mrs Peckham

Freesias and Tagetes

Guelder Rose growing on the veg patch wall

These nicotiana were £2 for 6 in Romsey's Corn-market over the weekend.

Woundwort growing wild in the garden
A healing plant traditionally used to treat inflammation and boost circulation 

We had a strawberry each for breakfast. Delicious.

Out of my kitchen window I can see.....

I am very pleased to report that we have a New Toad in the garden. The old toad has not been seen since Samantha Helvetica (grass snake) was here, from which I invite you to draw your own conclusions :-(
Last night Teddy found the New Toad sitting on the broom, which can't have been entirely comfortable for him but at least insured he was safe from Teddy licking him, which he is wont to do with toads even though he knows it makes him sick.
This morning I found the New Toad sitting inside the food compost bin. I feel he could perhaps have chosen a more salubrious location, but it is cool and more importantly safe from snakes and Teddies, so perhaps he knows what he is doing and this is an example of Toad Wisdom and not Toad Silliness in action.

Toad's New House
This is the dilapidated one on the right held together with bailer twine and stationed next door to the dog poo bucket, as evidenced by the orange sainsbury's bag poking out the top. 

I was up with the lark this morning because the moth box was out. I'd been lulled into false hope by today's 20 degree forecast and stupidly neglected to check the night time temperatures. It was a chilly 8 degrees at 6am with a heavy dew lying on the ground and as a result there were only 11 moths in the box, only one of which was a new species. Lesson learnt. 

A Buff Tip, who looks exactly like a silver birch twig.  Clever Old Moth.

A Swallow Prominent and a new species for me. It is a very beautiful moth I think.

The garden birds were rather surprised to see me out so early (although they should be getting used to it by now), but Teddy was ecstatic. Anti Early Squirrel Warning Devices have been deployed, which means that the glass doors have been covered up with cardboard and blocked off with dining room chairs and as a result he can't see the squirrels laughing at him anymore, but he still knows they are there, so he is desperate to rush up the garden first thing and bark at the hedge to reinforce the point that he is Boss Of The Garden not the squirrels.

Here are some pics of the people that were out and about first thing this morning....


(who was lucky Ted was occupied with the Pigeon Watcher's Club and therefore didn't spot him)

Three Blue Tit Babies


Speckledy Blackbird

The nuthatches were also out this morning but the camera wouldn't focus fast enough and they were gone before I got a pic. The nuthatch babies are the only children from the garden I am still waiting to see. I told Christa  at emiliesdaughter that I would fall over if I saw the Woodpecker's Children and the Nuthatches Children, so I've only got one set of babies to go!

It's only 10am but already I feel like I've done a whole day. The sun is shining and Ted and I are off down the lane for a wander in a minute then it's lunch later on with my Ma in Stockbridge. Hope you all have a good day whatever you are doing, and if it's sunny and warm that you are able to get outside and enjoy it. I think I shall treat myself to Wimbledon after lunch. Pity I ate the strawberry already really......


  1. I saw one Nuthatch baby last year and that was it. Snippet nearly ate it which would have been VERY bad indeed!

  2. Lovely photos of your garden produce, flowers and wildlife :)

    Lovely to see the Buff Tip and Swallow Prominent - have never trapped either :) In fact just off to empty my moth trap now (its closed and in a cool shady place!) but apart from a few micros and a Heart and Dart it looks suspiciously empty!!

    Must make sure I rush round my jobs today - like you I will be watching Wimbledon :)

    1. A disappointing moth haul for me today too, although when I looked properly I think there were 3 new species.

  3. HI CT What a wonderful vegetable patch. Pity to eat there later on. Our strawberries are no were near ripened so you are fortunate. There's nothing better than eating your own strawberries.Margaret

    1. They tasted delicious Margaret, even if there was only one each! :-)

  4. Squirrels like blueberries too. They had all mine last year. Caught the little bugg*r in the act. They want them perfectly ripe mind, and come back every night to check..

    1. They will already know about them then because the blueberry bush is in their direct line of retreat away from Ted and into the trees :-(

  5. Now you all have me wishing I'd bought some strawberry plants on my last visit to the garden centre. CT you would laugh at my very sparse greenhouse compared to yours. I have one cucumber, one pepper and two tomato plants! But it's all I need right now. Love this post full of lots of interesting gardening things. Beautiful moths and I love the 3 Blue Tits in a row.

    1. You are very sensible- we have too much. M is stressing about running out of space for it all and keeps requisitioning my flower pots as vegetable overflow containers and the chickens are doing well out of trimmed off green stuff :-) If you lived nearer I'd offer you some, I understand we have excess quantities of aubergine which is why I was trying to off-load them on Denise! :-)

  6. It all looks jolly marvellous! All green and alive and vibrant - just perfick as Pop Larkin would say!

    No toads here (other than the ones I teach ahahahahaha!) but I did find a newt in the front garden the other week, escaped from next door's pond. I called him Tiny because he was my newt. (Sorry - it is my favourite joke and I will not waste an opportunity to use it!)

    1. Oh well now I am EXTREMELY jealous. I want a newt almost more than anything else in the world. I'll call mine small, so I'm not copying :-)

  7. The veg patch is looking wonderful. I'm finding lots of Hedge Woundwort here, too. I love the bluetit babies all lined up on the fat balls and love the toad as well. Hope this one keeps avoiding the snake.

    1. I'm so pleased we have a new toad- the garden just didn't feel right without one :-) Haven't seen Samantha since but I suppose she might be keeping a low profile to avoid Teddy ;-)

  8. Oh dear! I left a comment but it didn't seem to go through so will try again :-(

    It looks like you will have enough veg to be able to sell some at the gate. I think the photo of your Blue Tit babies should be captioned 'Synchronised Swinging’ Whenever I see a Buff Tailed moth on a blog it amazes me just how much like a twig they look, nature really is incredible!

    Brilliant trifle story on the previous post, so funny :-) It sounded like you lived in an idyllic place when you were a child. Lovely to see the GSW babies and great photos too.

    1. Hi SB :-)

      We used to sell eggs at the gate. It worked for a while then someone who wasn't honest discovered them and started stealing both the eggs and the money so we stopped. I left them a letter pinned to the chair outside the gate hoping their conscience would be pricked :-(

      I love that pic of the Blue Tit Babies too and the Buff Tips are extraordinary. L did not believe it was a moth until it moved then he was shocked!

  9. Lovely to see your productive garden and all the wildlife that it attracts too.
    Sarah x

    1. It's looking much better this year Sarah, loads of interesting things going on :-)

  10. What a wonderful garden you have, packed full of wildlife and yummy home grown veg! LOVE the Swallow prominent!

    1. Thanks Lou :-)

      Yes we have plenty to eat this year!!

      I loved the Swallow Prominent too- it's the only time I have seen one, so graceful and elegant.


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