The extra bits...(Under construction).

Monday, 9 March 2015

Wildlife garden and rewilding....

      It certainly felt that Spring had indeed sprung this weekend just passed. The wildlife garden has definitely started to awaken with the early bulbs, mainly Crocus & Snowdrop, and primulas planted last Autumn added splashes of color here and there. Patches of Bluebells are pushing through and, along with the Daffodils, Tulips, Lungwort and Anemones that are being tempted to rise by the lengthening hours of daylight herald the promise more color to come. 

Dewy Crocus

Cyclamen, almost done...

Thrusting Bluebells...

Lungwort, soon to be tempting Bee's I hopes...

     The daylight has also brought forth some encouraging signs from plants that were already here long before I finally found the courage to set root myself in the village. What was a very poor looking honeysuckle that lay buried under a right heaped tangle of badly matched planting, seems to have benefited from a 'rustic' bit of trellis that I threw together and is covered with healthy looking buds. A dark leaved Elder is also tentatively pushing its buds out and they're a delicious deep purple in color and an old and beautifully flowered climbing rose is starting to awaken,. So things are indeed gathering apace.


Honeysuckle breaking forth...

Purple Elder showing promise of it's glorious foliage to come (Also flowers are major insect attraction)

Old climber with a new lease of life...

      The feeders I'm having to top up on a regular basis now as Sparrows, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Robin, Collared Dove, Wren and Blackbird have now become regular visitors. They are even beginning to ignore the troublesome twosome as they hurtle from the back door of a morning to empty full bladders. Tis just a pity that they're not as yet comfortable enough with this here lumbering oaf of a caveman to allow him picture the little buggers! Either that or I get myself a new camera which will probably happen well after Hell freezes over, as Simple Red put it..."money's too tight to mention".

     The break in the weather has allowed me to make a small amount of progress though.  Firstly I dug out from the shed this...  

Bee hotel open for business

     ....it is something that I cobbled together a few years ago before my fall from the world. It's a little more specific than the general 'bug hotels' one tends to find, instead it is aimed solely at solitary Bees in the hope of attracting them to the garden and also giving them a small area in which to breed. 

     Another piece of progress is the arrival and planting of my Willow hedge. To be honest I made a complete mess of ordering the Willow cuttings. I thought that I'd ordered 25 pieces at 12 inches tall. Imagine my surprise when the postie delivered 25 pieces at 4 bleeding foot tall! Oh well I guess at least I will be getting a wildlife friendly windbreak/hedge a damn site more rapidly now, well if the buggers take that is, and if they do I'm hoping to achieve something like this.....

Not my picture but hopefully I'll be able to share something similar if the Willow hedge takes

     The wildlife pond is still looking very dormant with no sign of visitors or any hint of the plants deciding to shake a leg as of yet. I'm guessing that the water will take a little longer to warm up enough to encourage either but I'm really hoping that this small pond will prove to be a major factor in attracting wee beasties this year, time will tell.



     I also bought some very cheap plants from the supermarket that I frequently use in Wrexham. A couple more Primula for 50p the pair, 25 Montbretia Lucifer corns for a £1, a sorry looking bag of 5 Lupins for another £1, a very limp looking Rhubarb (which hopefully will look like a small Gunnera behind the pond if it does grow) and 3 Bleeding hearts for 50p. They looked a very poor collection yet just a couple of days after planting they all seem to be perking up.

     The next steps in the garden, apart from watching the place mature, will be more structural with the access point being changed, the area in front of the shed being leveled, boundaries being better defined, splitting the garden into a relaxing wildlife/meditation area and hard standing dog playground/working on outdoor projects area and finally the fish pond put in. So busy times ahead m'thinks, but ultimately worth it if the wildlife finds it a safe haven.


Again not my picture, does the Lynx have a place in our countryside that is a question indeed but it is a beautiful creature none the less...

      On a different but still slightly related note I have read that the reintroduction of the European Lynx is being strongly considered. Personally I'm tending to be in favour of this but there is so much to consider especially now with our densely populated isles these days. The European Lynx is not your cute and cuddly puddy cat but is one hell of a serious predator. The idea is to release and monitor Lynx into the wilder parts of Britain i.e. the highlands of Scotland, Cumbria, possible the moors of the South West  of England and Toxteth (oops sorry). I'm not sure of numbers but the Lynx is a wandering animal and one thought that crosses my mind is will they become urbanised? After all Foxes find our cities and their detritus very attractive and would this apex predator be so tempted? I wonder, so what are your thoughts  on the idea of 're-wilding' our countryside? Linx (sorry again) to some information on European Lynx can be found here and here.

    Well that's about all for today, hopefully Spring will continue springing. Till the next time, take care....

John

23 comments:

  1. Your plants are looking good, Spring is certainly around the corner, well done on your supermarket bargain plants, they will soon pick up. Not sure about the Lynx I wouldn't want to meet a hungry one on one of my walks.

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  2. Thank you m'dear, Hopefully the bargain plants will take a hold and prosper. I'm awaiting for the headline 'A Lynx ate my Hamster!', though I do think that it'll be a long time, if ever, that they are reintroduced here.

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  3. We went on a good 7 mile walk today, John. We saw some Gunnera along the way. Great pics!

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    1. Funny that Dave, both posting and mentioning Gunners today.

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  4. Knowing how quickly willow grow, perhaps your order grew inbetween the time they were picked for your order and when they were received (!)

    New to your blog, but I will be back!

    Mary in Oregon

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  5. Thank you and welcome to my humble blog Mary from Oregon :) You may well be right about the Willow m'dear, certainly your comment brought a smile here in Wales.

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  6. Several years ago Wolves were re-introduced into The Pyrenees. The local Sheep farmers were not happy, and shot them all.

    Did you cut your Willow cuttings in half? They take very easily, if kept moist.

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    1. No I've left them at full height Cro....instant windbreak I'm hoping when they break into leaf.

      Knowing the French, did they eat em?

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  7. Your garden is looking very Spring-like John - the supermarket bargains sound great. I have two Bleeding Heart plants here - they are lovely when they flower :) Love the bee hotel. I'm in favour of Lynx reintroduction although I think the situation would need to be monitored and sites carefully chosen. I see NFU are jumping up and down at the idea - I wonder why!!

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    1. Thank you Robin, just hope that my bargain plants take....I planted others last Autumn as they were being cleared, an even sorrier looking assortment than the ones I mentioned here. Mainly shrubs all small but they don't look like they have died just yet so it'll good watching them mature even though it'll take awhile longer than if I'd had spent tons more money on fewer plants from the garden centers.

      The more I read into the Lynx affect the more worried about peoples ignorance I'm becoming. I am beginning to realise that what most people seem to want is nature that looks pretty but doesn't intrude on their lives....sad really when without nature we'd all be dead anyways. I agree with the need for monitoring but I think these big ish cats will wander and it wouldn't long before the tabloids sensationalised any missing pet, livestock, human? or meteor impact to blame these cats and sell more of their drivel. Sorry...found my self a soap box, best leave it alone now :0

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  8. I can see at a distance that the blue of the pretend bluebell squill will be the next dominant colour of spring

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    1. I think that you may be right Simon, I've learnt something new again so thank you my good man.

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  9. Wonderful pictures John, thank you. Interestingly we are also starting to get our bluebells blooming but they don't look at all like that. I'll try to get a picture when they come up.

    I will interested to follow the lynx story. We are in an urban area and have coyotes living within our immediate vicinity.

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    1. Re your comment about Bluebells TB, it would appear that those present in this garden are 'false' Bluebells or 'Squill' (see Simon's comment above) I shall have to be introducing proper ones if this be the case.

      The Lynx story looks set to rumble on for some time but it should make interesting reading.

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  10. Hi John ,your garden is coming along really well and can't wait to see more photos when all out for spring.
    I often by the sad looking plants from the shops and they always seem to survive quite well. Love your pond .
    My passion fruit vine has taken over my garden shed and fruits are the size of a large mango with quite a lot of fruit and very juicy . (Will post some photos ) .take care**Bron

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    1. Ah but Bron you certainly have the climate for such fruits :-) Buying the sorry looking plants is basically my only option, well apart from raiding others gardens which I've been told in no uncertain manner is not going to happen (hard being a pirate these days), as I'm bloody skint :-(

      Look forward to your pictures.

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  11. Wonderful photos, John, I just love the signs of Spring. I lost your blog for a while :/ For some reason you don't show on my feed and I keep losing you, was it something I said? lol...
    Re the Lynx, I too would worry about urbanisation of the lovely creatures, after all would they not follow the source of easy food in the way that foxes have? One would hope that they would avoid humans but farmers would definitely be on the lookout for them if they interfered with livestock.

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    1. Hello PP, it's no good asking me about tech stuff cause I'm bloody useless with it, just glad you've found me - again :-)

      Problem too, if Lynx were to 'urbanise', is that they are a far more powerful predator than Mr. Fox although just as secretive. The tabloids would have a field day when someone's little 'Fee Fee' is cat food!

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  12. The garden is looking and sounding great! The pond will get life in it as soon as the temperature warms enough for the inverts to be awake and moving about. Most of them are still asleep, but look out for pond skaters - I saw one on our wildlife pond at the weekend. You never know, you might find yourself with a newt or two as well.
    The Lynx is a hard question to answer simply. As with all reintroductions, it will be costly and require a great deal of monitoring. People don't always understand the problems not having any apex predators left in the UK have caused the rest of our wildlife and habitats. Deer numbers have gone through the roof without wolves to keep them in check and woodland now doesn't regenerate as a result. There may be a release as a trial in Scotland, but I can't see it happening elsewhere. Look at the panic urban foxes cause when they get inside houses looking for food and come across people who don't know how to react or respond to them, and of course it's the fox that gets blamed when things go wrong.

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    1. Thank you CT, I guess I'm being impatient over the pond as it was only put in last Autumn. The little buggers have to find it first and that takes time and warmer weather, especially up here in the village where the temperature is always a couple of degrees lower than just down the hill in Wrexham. Would be nice for Newts to turn up but I don't know of any established wildlife ponds in the local so that probably will not happen.

      "People don't always understand the problems not having any apex predators left in the UK have caused the rest of our wildlife and habitats" Totally agree with you on this line, you only have to look at what the re-introduction of Wolves in Yellowstone achieved but here we have such a dense over population of humans that Scotland would seem the only viable option and even there so many concerns have to be looked at. I for one would welcome the introduction....perhaps though it may never happen?

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    2. I've just been reading an article on the Iberian Lynx, very endangered, smaller than the Eurasion and a candidate for introduction here. I still think we have too many people who would be set against it for it to work - one mention of the words 'large predator' and people start shrieking about murderous big cats on the loose, regardless of their actual ecology. I'd like to see it happen but I think there will be stiff opposition.

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  13. The Iberian Lynx would perhaps be the better option, especially considering it's endangered. Though I do feel that any mention of the words Lynx, apex predators, big cat would perhaps be a signal for howls of uneducated derision. Perhaps they should be relabeled as Forest wildcats?

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  14. It is all looking wonderful. Such a nice time of year. I'm a bit jealous of the wildlife pond, I go round and round in my head working out if I could fit one in anywhere. As for the lynx, it is kind of exciting to think that they could be living wild here, but I might not say that if I met one on a woodland walk!

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