Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Almost there

Can you believe it? March is almost done! You’ll see in the video and photos below that despite odd cold spells, the second half of the month has had many sunny blue sky days too. Activity in the garden (by plants and visitors) has gone up a notch or too with the warm sunshine.

Today, we’ve seen the start of the rain forecasted. If it lasts a few days as suggested then our plants will put on wonderful flourishes of new foliage and growth. Being honest, I find myself smiling more at the new growth with the anticipation of what’s to come. I’d guess I’m not alone there.

For those new to my blog, I don’t usually cover the month in the way I have this month, with March. It’s just the way it’s worked out this time. I’ve not been as busy in the garden as I would have liked too but with longer hours of daylight my gardening year is about to really kick off.

Yesterday morning, I saw the first signs of nest building from my garden as a female Blackbird went away with material from the base of my Brunnera Jack Frost plant. I noticed one take it from there last year too. Let’s have a quick reminder of mid-end March to look back on….



Note there is light background music with this video.


For those not able to watch the video
it began with the female blackbird and her beakful of material. Then we’ve a pair of blue tits visiting our new nestbox (although they didn’t go in), a Collared Dove sunning itself on a windy branch (a pair are regularly visiting just now), a Song thrush taking a break in the open on top of my Leylandii hedge and then we end with crocus sunshine faces (growing in my lawn) waving in the breeze.

Let’s move on to what else has caught my eye in the last two weeks. The crocus, I just had to include as their time is almost over :-(

I love to photograph the crocus and we have really enjoyed the colour they have brought to the garden. Being a gardener that always has plants on the move my decision to plant them in informal drifts in my lawn was one of my better ideas!


Snowdrops still in flower near my back door. Acer leaf buds forming.
Blue tits food at the buds, they are regularly visiting them.



Drumstick Primulas catch the early morning sunshine.
Many are fully out now but I love this stage.



Meconopsis x cookei, new young plants
that flowered out of season last August. Early this time.



New fresh green, fern fronds - say that quickly ;-)



New fresh green... weeds! Bird seed that has germinated :-)



Tidy-up gardening (last night) to remove bird seed weeds.
Re instated Ceramic Bumble Bee Nester. Bees seen scouting area.



First butterfly spotted (MAR 23) small tortoiseshell,
just over front garden boundary. Neighbour's border.



Front garden tidy-up… disturbed a 'loveliness’ of ladybirds
whilst cutting back Stipa gigantea. Just discovered that’s
the collective name for ladybirds... brilliant name :-)



Crocus clumps in borders catching early morning sun.
Summer flowering Carex morrowii 'Fisher's Form'
is flowering in March. Anyone else seen that?



Colourful mass planting of crocus in lawn. A hedgehog’s view…
no sightings of hogs this year. Food out, watching night cam.



The crocus bow out in the lawn, can’t wait for this to flower now!
Thrilled to have the cuckoo flower in my lawn… so excited!



Small variety of narcissi replace the crocus in my lawn.
Soon cuckoo flower will open then Fritillaries. Love this area.



Stunning out of the sun too… Ice Follies.



Oops… Brunnera in leaf and forming flowers.
Hellebores in various stages of flower opening.


So why the ‘Oops’ with the Brunnera? If you look closely above you’ll see (after being lifted last autumn) it still hasn’t been divided and planted. Out of the ground this past cold winter… this plant definitely deserves its AGM (Award of Garden Merit) by the RHS! Respect to you, Jack Frost. I’ll get you planted later tonight :-)

Respect also has to go to the oldest known UK breeding female Osprey who has just returned to her nest in Scotland for the 21st consecutive year. However, the SWT Reserve near Dunkeld in Perthshire looks like it is set for interesting speculation already. Two other Ospreys have also arrived. If one’s a female… the story begins.

Wishing everyone following the story of the ‘Lady’ at Loch of the Lowes much to see this coming breeding season. Here’s hoping she holds on to her nest for one more year and has a successful brood :-)

Wishing everyone else enjoyment in your gardens and getting outdoors when you can. This really is a great time of year. What have your March favourite bits been? What are you enjoying in your garden right now?


This post was written for shirls gardenwatch at http://blog.shirlsgardenwatch.co.uk/ .

10 comments:

Janet said...

A butterfly! It seems much too cold. I have seen the odd bee but a butterfly...

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Our first nester is the Carolina Wrens There are Robins around but I haven't seen them collecting nesting material yet. Still too cold for them I think. It is snowing today. UGH... Seeing your blackbird collecting nesting material makes me rememeber that it is ok not to be too tidy in the garden. The birds will appreciate it. I just saw a grey squirrel run across the lawn with a mouth full of leaves. I too have seen the first butterfly and bumblebee this month. Seeing the hellebores bloom along with crocus and daffodils is a fun thing this month. Cheers.

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

What a great little movie. I loved watching the birds.I cannot believe the butterfly already.Your spring garden is looking so pretty.

Anna said...

Your spring garden looks a treat Shirl. I would take my hat off to that brunnera - isn't it amazing how resilient plants can be when we have neglected them. Here one of our March highlights has been watching pictures from our new installed nesting box camera. Up to now the most exciting action has been a wood louse scuttling along the bottom of the box but we live in hope :)

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I loved the tour of what's going on in your garden! It definitely looks like spring. We've seen Chickadees checking out birdhouses and I'm hoping they choose one that we have a great view of from the house. I can't believe you're seeing ladybugs and butterflies already. We are seeing lots of bumblebees already. I just love that nester, I'm going to see if I can find one here.

Shady Gardener said...

Spring is truly showing itself at your place! Birds are nesting, blossoms are out and You are having a wonderful time! :-)

Patsi said...

I must be losing my mind...I could smell the soil while looking at your pics.
Wow, what don't you have growing ?
Not spending anytime outside yet..well an hour here and there for pruning. Wishing it would warm up soon.

Kate said...

I haven't seen much evidence of nesting yet, but there's an awful lot of birdsong (mostly robins shouting 'come over here if you think you're hard enough' at each other).

Lovely shot of your Ice Follies - I had some mystery daffs, and themystery is solved. Thanks!

The Wessex Reiver said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY FOR TODAY SHIRL!!

ShySongbird said...

I nearly missed this one Shirl :(

I really enjoyed the video, so nice to see the Song Thrush. Unfortunately I hardly ever see them in my garden nowadays, it is such a shame, they are one of my favourite birds and I love their song which always sounds rather comical to me.

Your crocuses are lovely, so colourful!

I do like the term 'a loveliness of ladybirds', I thought at first it was your own invention :)