Thursday, 9 April 2015

Wildflower Garden & Odds And Sods

For my birthday, my lovely husband got me some Wildflower Turf.

Now, I recognise that to many women this may seem a surprise present choice and potentially less welcome than, say, unlimited access to a credit card/ shoes/ diamonds/ chocolates/ champers/ handbags etc etc, but to me it was the BEST PRESENT EVER.

Wildflower turf is exactly what it sounds- turf that has been sown with wildflowers. All you do is prepare your ground, lay the turf, damp it down and water it and in a few weeks time, hey presto! An area of wildflowers pops up and blooms throughout the summer.

Needless to say, I am Mighty Excited about what will emerge :o)




You may remember this area of the garden being reclaimed from the hens about this time last year. We didn't do very much with it last summer - M had some sunflowers growing there and I put in some cosmea and calendula, but essentially we let it be. I wanted to observe what was in the seed bank, it having been home to the chooks for five years and before that a lawn. It seemed like the sort of opportunity you don't get often and I wanted to make the most of it and satisfy my curiosity at the same time :o)

Wild plants (some might call them weeds, but I can't) fascinate me. Their seeds can sit in the seed bank in the ground for years and years- some need several cycles of frost and warmth before they'll germinate, others just wait for the right conditions to flower, bloom for a season and then go dormant again. It is the most marvellous survival strategy.

After a summer of many interesting plants growing there and being observed and noted down by me, thus boosting my biodiversity count for the garden considerably (not to mention all the many insects that came as a result), we tucked the patch up for its long winter sleep deliberately leaving it long and raggedy, mindful that all the small things would be curled up asleep in its wild tangle of vegetation. 

This Spring, as the warmer weather dawned, it suddenly announced itself very clearly in my mind and as a result we've divided it up into sections: the bit nearest the fence will be for sunflowers and cosmos, (tall flowers in other words), then beside that a strip of grass, next to that the wildflower turf, then an area of flowering lawn which we've just sown this afternoon, and finally, another area of wildflowers, this time from seeds packets which I've also sown this afternoon, under Strict Supervision (or maybe not so strict.....).







The hand sown seeds were packets of wildflower and pollinator mixes I bought from the garden centre, and I overlaid them with the seeds I collected from our garden last autumn. I am looking forward to seeing what comes up. If all goes to plan, it should be a riot of colour, shape and size. I will post pics of its progress. It has been Poppy Proofed as you can see :o)

So has her plant pot by the fence, which now has sweet pea seeds tucked up in it. She isn't pleased At All.

All this warm weather has brought sleepy teens outside for what feels like the first time since last summer. L even accompanied me and the dogs on a walk to the woods to look for Orange Tip flutters this morning.

I saw my first one, which was thrilling. Orange Tips are the first true butterflies of Spring to me- they haven't over wintered as hibernating adults but instead have eclosed out of pupa cases. No photo because (as you may remember from last year) they never bloomin well sit still long enough. Last year I chased them for days before they finally took pity on me and allowed me a photo :o) Instead, lots of plants, some of which are ancient woodland indicators (dog's violet, wood anemone and dogs mercury)...

Barren Strawberry

Dogs Mercury

Early Dog Violet
Wood Anemone

Teddy in the woods
 


The arrival of the Orange Tips heralds the True Start of Butterfly Season :o)

I may not be around much over the weekend, for which I apologise in advance. We have a house full here celebrating my Ma in Law's 80th. Our house will be sleeping ten with 16 of us gathering at the in laws for a party. My Pa in Law is now home from hosp, has been out checking on his vegetable patch and visiting garden centers while busily declaring his intention to party hard at the weekend! There is no stopping that man.

On Sunday everyone is coming here for lunch. I will cook everything on Sat I think so I can shove it in the oven on the day, easy peasy. 

Luckily, this is a family that is close and full of laughter, so I am really looking forward to it. It is probably just what everyone needs after my Pa in law's recent heart surgery. His docs have told him he can have 2 units of alcohol a day, so he is Quite Happy, having worked out that that equates to 2 glasses of champers :o)

Happy Days....

Hoping all are well and basking in the sun if it's out with you as it is here? (19 degrees today. I have sun burn).

CT x 

ps- the Newts are back in the pond :o)

30 comments:

  1. Hey CT,
    Have a lovely weekend celebrating with your family. I love those kinds of get togethers very much. We haven't seen any orange tips yet, but have seen an abundance of those little blue blighters I got all confused about, and a red admiral.
    I think we might have newts. The frog spawn has been eaten...
    Leanne xx

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    1. Thanks my dear- it does us all good to celebrate and giggle together every now and then doesn't it? :o)

      Re the Blue Flutters- I read somewhere the other day (after our discussion about what your blue flutters were) that Common Blues can sometimes appear in April. The way to tell the difference is that the Holly's have silver underwings with black dots (very like Small Blues, but they have dark grey top wings) and the CBs have lots of black white and orange dots on their underwings. The CBs are the biggest, then the Hollys and the Smalls really are tiny. Also, they're more likely to be Hollys if you've got holly trees near you. Apols if you already knew all this, I am intrigued as to what your flutters are! If you can snap a piccy we can nail it.

      Oh dear re the spawn but yay! re the newts. If they have bright orange tummies, small crests along their backs and lots of black spots they'll likely be male Smooth newts currently in bright breeding plumage. Get Olly to sit by the pond and keep an eye out for them coming up for air. He has sharp eyes- he'll be able to tell what it is :o) XX

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  2. Glad the newts are back and that your pa in law is in such good form. It sounds like it will be a wonderful weekend, full of laughter and happiness. I'd be thrilled with wildflower turf too, I shall look forward to seeing a riot of colour and wildlife in your garden before too long. Have a wonderful celebration. CJ xx

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    1. Thank you CJ :o) Hoping it all goes off without a hitch! xx

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  3. Love your gift! One of my best pressies was a pair of hawk gloves and a book on poo!
    Enjoy your weekend!
    Jane x
    PS I also love dandelions...hope you have some!

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    1. You are a woman after my own heart :o) Plenty of dandelions all around the garden, and daisies too. We are not keen on immaculate green lawns that have nothing but chemically induced grass growing! xx

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  4. I hope that everyone has a fantastic weekend and lots of fun enjoying their two glasses a day!!! That has to be something to look forward to doesn't it. I look forward to seeing how the seeds do too! Did I say Happy Birthday to you at the right point? If not, Happy Belated Birthday, or Happy Birthday in advance!! xx

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    1. I'm sure you didn't miss my bday :o) Have a lovely weekend yourself xx

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    2. I feel all out of sync right now with who is doing what and when and what has been going on! xx

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  5. Well I did not know you could get wild life turf! I might just have to have a look at this, more Bats out to night..
    Have a great party....
    Amanda xx

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    1. You can get it in all shapes and sizes- pa in law had two small strips last summer full of grasses and a few flowers, the one we've gone for is a rich wildflower mix covering 3 metres. Once it's set it should look after itself for years and years. MUST get the detector out tonight- will have to right self a Note of Reminder! xx

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  6. great present idea and I am looking forwaard to see that in bloom later on.

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  7. It will be really interesting to see what happens and what exciting critters visit your wildflower strip/s. The wildflower turf sounds like a brilliant thing to have. I've seen a couple of Orange Tips in the last couple of days too which is always exciting! Have a great weekend! xx

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    1. It's settling in well and is already starting to grow. More OTs here too yesterday xx

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  8. I hope you all have a super weekend, I love those sorts of get together's, they are the best! Love the wild flower turf it's a brilliant idea, once we get the porch up (if ever) the path will be ripped up behind it & I will lay some there. I thought I spotted an orange tip the other evening going over the garden fence but couldn't be sure I just spotted a flash of white! We will be Jack Russell proofing the veg plot over the next week ready for planting. If it works!! xx

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    1. It's always nice to have a virgin patch of ground to work with isn't it? I'll let you know how we get on with the turf xx

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  9. Have a lovely party weekend. Great to see your garden projects and I'm looking forward to updates on the wildflower turf.....great present!

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    1. Thanks Suzie :o) Hopefully, the turf will explode into lots of lovely flowers in a few week's time xx

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  10. The wildflower turf sounds great. Have lots of peacock butterflies in the garden right now - I guess they have been hibernating somewhere.

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    1. Peacocks seem to be doing very well this Spring- conditions must have suited them :o)

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  11. hahaha! that looks to me to be the Best Present Ever! what a great idea that is....i don't know we have such a thing here, although i've never gone sod shopping....

    that woodland walk looks absolutely lovely...xo

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    1. I saw an advert for the turf last year - I think it's a relatively new thing here. It's already growing.... :o)
      The woods are a special place- listed as ancient woodland which means it's been mapped as woodland since at least 1600, but is probably much, much older. I love the energy in the trees there x

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  12. ps. i thought of you the other morning as i was slaloming around some toads as i was driving to work. thank goodness, i thought, it's just odd ones here-and-there, i couldn't imagine having to drive through a migration. i'd have to call in sick to work.....:)

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  13. Look forward to updates on the wildflower area - should attract some great insects :) Newts appeared back in our pond last week too. Enjoy the birthday celebrations :)

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    1. Will keep you posted- have high hopes for it. Bee flies have finally turned up here- love 'em :o) Hope all's well x

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  14. The wildflower turf is a great birthday present! I shall look forward to seeing all those flowers in your garden. My husband put wooden labels in the garden marking what seeds he had planted. Of course it didn't take Tavi long to find them! Sarah x

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    1. I was so thrilled to get it Sarah. It will be very exciting to watch it grow and (hopefully) bloom :o)

      Made me giggle re Tavi and the sticks- I can just imagine it! xx

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