I got attacked by a blackbird this week. It's the first time that has ever happened. The Blackbird Children I showed you in the last post all fledged Thursday morning apart from one who got himself stuck inside a roll of wire beside the nest. I managed to get him out and return him to the side of the nest, but not without him yelling at the top of his voice that he was being Foully Murdered and his Pa duly arriving with clawed feet and sharp beak to see off his attacker. I still have the bruises. That's baby bird rescue #3. Will it be the last?
The Green Finches are back, which is a Welcome Sight. I've actually only seen the male so am hoping his wife is egging somewhere nearby.
I went Badger Watching on Wednesday night.
Dave, Cat and I sat on a fallen tree in a wood below the sett an hour before dusk, while Ryan took up position on the escarpment above it. The night gathered slowly around us and the day-time sounds receded as the night-time ones took over.
Two Tawnies, one male (who, who-who-who-whoooo) and a female (keewick, keewick) were calling in the branches above our heads. Dave joked that they were looking for their lost child :o)
We didn't see any badgers, despite three hours of sitting in more or less silence listening to the sounds of the wood, but the experience held its own magic nevertheless. We're trying again at a different location in a fortnight, when we'll also keep an eye out for glow worms as June is Glow Worm Time here.
We did see a herd of Inquisitive Fallow......
And more magical still, TWO hares appeared out on the Chalk. Blurry shots as they were quite some distance away. It seems to be my Year For Hares (I am not complaining)....
I have been working with the garden a lot over the past few days, sorting out and cutting back, re-potting and planting out. I spend a lot of time listening to the land when I garden. Over the last few years we have been working to change what was a neglected, dark, unloved, damp, tangled place into an open, clean, fresh, much-loved, much-enjoyed, healthy space where wildlife is welcome, encouraged and wants to set up home.
Yesterday I brought 5 new plants home to add to the Garden Family: salvia, nepeta, 2 aqualegia and a lithodora, as well as some seeds. All of these are good for the bees and other pollinators. I knew exactly where I was going to put them, but when I went to plant them I suddenly knew the positions I had in mind were All Wrong. These plants needed to go in the back border, a new area created a couple of years ago which is still very much evolving and has rather turned itself away from a place to plant annuals (which is where I started off with it) into a space for perennials (which is clearly what the garden wants it to be).
One by one, the few shrubs we put in there have found their way to a different area of the garden, one newly created at the end of last summer after a comment Ma made. It was overgrown, dark and gloomy and it pulled the rest of the garden into it. Ma said: why don't you cut it all down? It was like someone switching on a light. So we cleared almost everything away including getting a stump grinder to remove the bamboo. The only plant we saved was a camellia who had stopped flowering altogether she was so sad and smothered by other things. This Spring she was festooned with blooms, bless her. Now that whole side of the garden feels opened up, lifted and lit and it's balanced everything else. It feels like it's made of light and is breathing properly. That corner is where all the Spring Colour happens and the shrubs from the new border are slowly but steadily making their way to it. Gardens must get very frustrated with people's slowness to work things out :o)
I always buy plants/ sow seeds with the wildlife in mind, so it was Very Gratifying Indeed yesterday to see Common Carder Bees finding the Salvia while I was still planting it out :o) They are also enjoying the Snap Dragons I grew from seed a couple of years back. I love the way they get right inside the bloom itself and emerge absolutely covered in pollen....
I love the way he's using his legs to scrape excess pollen off his wings in the shot above :o)
I noticed this tree with the most beautiful lilac blossom when I was driving the other day.
I was very struck by it and have been trying (without success) to find out what it was. Then unexpectedly I came upon it again yesterday growing on an estate I'm doing some pollinator work for. Because they grow all sorts there many of the trees have labels, so I was finally able to work out what it was. A Judas Tree (Cercis siliquastrum). Legend says it was the tree that Judas hanged himself from, but it is also possible that its name is a corruption of Judean as the tree was once common in the Judean Hills. Its other name is Love Tree, which I much prefer.
Listening to and working closely with the garden means it sometimes gives you rewards of glimpses of very small things you would otherwise not notice. While gently tying back some of the more rampant ox-eye daisies so M could dig out an ornamental cherry who had declared his intention of being replanted over in Spring Corner, this tiny Longhorn Moth appeared out of the flowers. It's called Nematopogon swammerdamella and its antennae are 2.5 times the length of the forewing, which is itself only 8-11mm. Aren't they amazing? These little moths are common all around the UK.
I'll leave you with a shot of some material I'm making into summer trousers because I can't find linen ones anywhere...(cue L: you're not going to wear those outside the house or anywhere near me if you do, are you?')...
And a Funny Conversation we overheard this morning between Ted and Poppy, who's bedroom is directly below ours, We were uncharacteristically late getting up so Poppy was desperate for a wee. She told Ted she was going to go on the kitchen floor because no-one would believe it was her and he would get the blame. She is Very Naughty as you know, so it was no surprise to hear her also tell him she would make certain of this by weeing his name on the floor. Only she can't spell very well so she asked Teddy how to spell his name, to which he replied: 'It's P-O-P-P-Y'.... :o)
Wishing you all a Lovely Weekend,