The extra bits...(Under construction).

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Wildlife Garden update .....

     A very good afternoon peeps and I hope that everything is well in the blogosphere with you all. I admit to have been staying under the radar a tad of late, just having some time to collect my thoughts and what better ways to do this than gardening and walking where dark thoughts seem to slowly melt away as nature caresses your soul...

   So has there been any progress within the size challenged Wildlife Garden of mine I hear you ask with baited breath? Well just a tad, with some more plants added, more plants bursting forth, a small increase in the amount of visiting fauna and some construction work going on. Firstly then the construction work. If you, by some strange miracle read my previous post you would be aware of the pile of detritus extremely useful material that was recovered when I cleared out the area to the side of the house....

     .... well I told you that clearing out my workshop will enable myself to start some projects off and I've now started to divide what will the hard standing area for the terrible twosome to come and go without me worrying about them taking a swim or chewing plants from the garden, oh and it'll also be where 'big' projects can be done. So this is what it looked like t'other day....

Not exactly a defined boundary for the TT's yet

     .... and this be what it looks like today....

     So part of that pile of debris has been cut down and sized enabling me to make a start on the garden divider and the only cost to me was of some decent wood preservative and two post holders. Still a work in progress but when finished there will be trellis right to the back end of the shed making the garden far more private. It certainly will not be left as bare trellis either as I would like it covered with plants. With this in mind there was already a purple leaved grape vine clamped to the corner of the small 'sun room' that, to be honest I thought had passed away, but it looks as if there may well be some life in it yet. Taking it off the corner revealed the probable cause for its ailments as it was held on by pipe clips which were restricting growth. I have laid the main part of the vine which can just be seen as the lifeless looking branch at the bottom left of the trellis. Also I have once again had some 'plants for pennies' from the local 'un-super market' which included a Wisteria and Clematis Montana which together with the vine, all being well, will spread rapidly along the trellis over the next few years giving cover for an assortment of fauna. Nearer the shed I am thinking of planting a third 'plant for pennies', a Honeysuckle, to add to the variety of flora upon the trellis. Hopefully in years to come the blooms of this will provide a rich food source for Bees etc. though in truth my main reason for acquiring the Honeysuckle was for the gorgeous fragrance it gives off, especially of an evening.

     As for other new plants? Well as I am always repeating this 'Wildlife Garden' of mine is one of many compromises as it has to perform several tasks and please not just myself but my partner G. If I was to just have a garden for wildlife then my task would be simple...I would level the whole plot removing any rich top soil, into this I would dig a large-ish pond fed off the house gutter and then I would simply sit back and let nature take her course over the years. After all nature did not require our help before we landed and she certainly does not need it now. But unfortunately this is not 'practical' gardening for many humans as we all require different results from our 'outdoor rooms', so hopefully my approach in such a small space will show how gardening with wildlife in mind can be achieved to a point and encourage others to take small steps into turning our gardens, or at least part of them, into mini nature reserves.

      So back to the garden, again from my last post I referred to Bug Woman's blog and was inspired to order some seeds online. The seeds in question were Red Dead-nettle & White Dead-nettle, also ordered was some Sweet Violet/ White Viola seeds (seen on the post's walk) all of which have arrived safely and been sown within the last couple of days. A visit and garden raid to the aged parents yielded this little box of goodies....

     .... Amongst the plants 'acquired' were these ....

One of several 'old fashioned' Primula, this being my all time favorite

Bergenia or Elephant's Ear


I'm not sure but I think it's a form of Dead-nettle?

Inspired by the last walk, Lesser Celandine

Michaelmas Daisy (Aster), good source of Autumn nector

    I already have the majority of these plants in small amounts but the extra are always welcome. Leaving the aged parents we called in for a coffee and walk around a local garden centre where thru gritted teeth my wallet was prised open and some more plants and seeds were purchased....

Erysimum, Perennial Wallflower

Polemonium, Jacob's Ladder

Tagetes Patula, French Marigold


Selection of 'Bee Friendly' seeds

     So compromise dictates a mixture of planting although I always try to lean towards insect encouraging plants. Oh one plant from Mother's that I forgot to mention is a Rose that she reckons must be around a hundred years old as it's been passed down the family. I have no idea of its name as I've always known it as 'Grandad's Rose', it's old fashioned, beautifully pink and has the most wonderful scent imaginable. I've badgered Mother countless times for it and unbeknown she has grown for me one from a cutting of the original, which I have now just planted along with three other scented Roses of various types.

Grandad's Rose

     I've also added a couple more plants from the edge of people's gardens where plants have self seeded into what I like to call 'the free plant domain' ( see pirate)...



     Plants in the garden now seem to be coming thru thick and fast with two of my favorites showing signs of life....

Solomon's Seal just pushing up through the Crocus'

Water Hawthorn's first leaf of the year in the small pond

      I've noticed that visits from Bees are becoming less rare, Butterfly sightings are rare still but a Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock Butterfly have briefly flitted into the garden  and a large Hoverfly seems to be a permanent resident around the Acer bush. Not enough nectar rich plants yet in flower but we're getting there. Oh and finally two Beetles to add to the list of species in the garden....
Poplar Leaf Beetle

Ground Beetle?

     The Ground Beetle is a welcome predator to a garden whilst the Poplar Leaf Beetle may not be as it feeds not just on the leaves of Poplar trees but that of Willow too (my new hedge for instance) but as I've said before I'm trying to attract nature as much as I can and let her do most of the fauna management, so the little bugger is welcome. Also it's a beastie I've not heard of before so its educating myself at the same time.

    Sorry if this post was a tad long winded, til the next time take care,



  1. Everything seems to be coming along beautifully! I think it's sweet that your mom grew a rose for you from a cutting. I love roses and hope to have a large flower garden with plenty of roses in it one day. You will post photos of your granddad's roses when you get some blooms, won't you? They sound lovely!

    Oh, and when is the next blog walking date? :)

    1. Thank you Jennifer, of course I'll be posting pictures of 'Grandad's Rose' if it blooms this year.
      As for 'Blog Walking' I was actually thinking of this coming weekend for a jaunt.

  2. 1 poached egg plant = thousands of poached egg plants! everywhere- forever!
    It's lovely to watch your garden changing and growing, I look forward to seeing it through the summer

    1. Thank you Triple S, I am hoping that the poached egg plant will spread far and wide past the boundaries of my small garden. I'm also looking forward to the changes yet to come and also the garden maturing in the future.

  3. Ugh I hate my honeysuckle with a passion. It refuses to die or be killed! The winter jasmine refuses to die too and I hack em back every year!! The honeysuckle I call it rhubarb n custard because of the colour of the flowers but it strangles everythin else. Plus it's sickly sweet smell kills me off. Oh and it's not blue!!
    My thing this year is trying my hand at topiary with a rabbit shaped cage! Weird creatures in my garden in the future!!
    Bought my peas plus yards of mosquito netting because I do NOT want the flipping wildlife on them like last year! Betwixt me peas and my cabvage I had the fattest most well fed caterpillars in the North!

    1. Gordon Bennett Rach you truly do make me laugh with your comments and your blog too. Cannot wait to see the 'Weird Creatures' in your garden ;-)

  4. You're developing quite the green thumb. I'm awaiting a picture of you sitting out in the back with a pint of that cider you like. The "man of leisure" shot if you will.

    1. Oh I think that can certainly be arranged Mark :-)

  5. Your garden is coming along nicely John .
    I love roses and at the moment only have one in my front yard which is growing slowly . I would like to try and grow some miniature roses which grow as a
    vine on trellis etc and are quite hardy in all types of weather.
    I must say that I definitely don't have a shortage of spider's, there are about 4 large webs around that have taken permanent residency and as long as they don't get in my way (from my car to the Little johnny banskia bush ) ,I am okay with them .The others are also where I walk in and around the garden .
    I hope that all the wildlife creatures find their way to your garden .... "healthy garden, happy soul " .
    Take care * Bron x

    1. Thank you Bron, though your spiders over there are a tad more fearsome than the ones over here!

  6. Jasmine is another good climber and the moths will love you for it and pollinate the rest of your plants while they're at it. If you can find star jasmine you may even attract hummingbird hawkmoths :o)

    1. Actually had a hummingbird moth stop over ever so briefly last year, seemed to like a pot of geraniums that were flowering so more of those will be on the patio area. I have got a couple of small Jasmine plants but they don't appear to be doing so well, think I need to read up on them CT, I'll keep a look out for Star Jasmine as I'd love Hummingbird moths to be regular visitors, I think that they're amazing wee beasties.

  7. oh, everything looks so lovely!! i especially love that your mum grew you a rose from a cutting....what a marvelous gift! my own grandad grew all sorts of lovely roses when they still lived in England although only has a few i'm resolved to resurrect the family rose tradition and start adding them to my own garden.

    i have two that was already here and one that i planted....i love their scent and that they attract the bees and hummingbirds.

    looking forward to seeing how your garden grows....;)


    ps. watch out for that Jacob's mum planted some several years ago and it went mad, spreading everywhere....she's still trying to dig it all out...:)

  8. Great to see the progress you are making and the lovely plants you are buying and growing - have been meaning to get some perennial wall flowers for ages. The rose is a lovely idea and I look forward to seeing it in bloom :) Red Valerian is good for Hummingbird Hawkmoths too - although sadly never attracted any here yet......

  9. Loving the looks of your little area, John. I has a "wildness" to it, but as it fills out and comes into full flower, I imagine it will be a beautiful, relaxing area to get away to.

  10. Thought of you this morning whilst watching Monty Don. He is making a wildlife pond and it showed what plants to use to attract certain wildlife. I know you have said you aren't keen on him but I think it may be of interest and you could just watch that section on on your ipad/comp. Really enjoying watching how your garden is coming on and glad that you seem a lot more settled. I must have missed your buying a property. So may you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp and peace in your heart. All we need really. Best wishes to you and yours plus the 2 dogs.

  11. Looking great John, will be a lovely spot to sit out in, in a few months time. I've done my walking blog was having probs uploading the chuffing photos.

  12. Looks very good John. Nurseries are dangerous places for myself and my wallet as well, especially when I am with Nighean Dhonn, the youngest - we always find something else we need to experiment with.

  13. Wisteria is a perfect choice if you have a trellis. Also....moon flowers. They ADORE climbing and bloom in the moonlight and their scent is just the most alluring in the world. I LOVE what you've done!!!

    1. Thank Maria, apologises for not publishing your lovely comment earlier.


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