Saturday, 21 July 2012

Yay… a butterfly… time to count!

The sun has had its hat on… la la la la la… the bees fed on the Heucheras... oh… la la la la la :-)

So, why might I be singing… la la la la la… 'Bowles' Mauve' (perennial wallflower Erysimum) has brought us a butterfly… tra la la la la la ;-)

This Small Tortoiseshell is the first in ages… tra la la la la la… fingers crossed that we'll see more… oh… tra la la la la…

Yay... toot toot toot to the sun... we've still time to enter our UK sightings to the big butterfly count before August the 5th… tra la la la la la ;-)

For everyone outside the UK… la la la la la la… I’d love to hear what visits you too… tra la la la la la :-D

This post was written by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in July 2012.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Pine Marten video

What a sweetie...

See original video source here. Note this is not my video.
Video location: overlooking Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland.

Previous post: Photos and video of Great Spotted Woodpecker family.

This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in July 2012.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Great Spotted Woodpecker family & GBBD

What fun this young Woodpecker family was to watch from the observation window at the Visitor Centre of SWT Loch of the Lowes. They stayed a while as Mum pecked out peanuts from a feeder, ground them down in the crack of a tree branch and fed her newly fledged chicks. Interestingly she was seen feeding only one chick at a time and the others waited their turn.

The Time has just flown by since the capture of the video and photos below back on June 7th. I expect that by now those newly fledged Great Spotted Woodpecker chicks are fending for themselves. I might guess that they are sticking together like other fledglings do too.

This Woodpecker family stayed a while at the feeders allowing me the opportunity to capture both photos and video which was a nice treat. I don’t see woodpeckers in my garden (no old mature trees) so this was the first time I had seen woodpecker young and I couldn’t believe how mature and pretty they looked.

For those with a bit more time to blog browse you can see some snippets of the action in my video below. It begins with one of the young on a branch failing to keep Mum’s attention and ends with a Great tit pair watching how the Great Spotted Woodpecker Mum manages to get Peanuts out from the bottom of a feeder. When her back was turned they tried this too. Note you can select the HD quality to view and there is background music with this video. I had fun choosing it :-)

Meanwhile back in my garden, seeing the birds on the ground from my window is a tad tricky. With the rainfall we have had the foliage in my border is lush and full. I placed a birdbath pedestal deliberately in a planting of low grasses in the hope of catching some nice bird photos. Yay it worked!

Blackbird juveniles are the ones that have been entertaining me in my garden recently. New ones seem to appear every other day. By the way the parents are still going away with beakfuls of sunflower heart seeds there will be more to come too.

Gosh, I can’t believe it is the 15th of the month already and time to post what flowers and in Bloom just now. We’ve had a fair bit of rain and working and getting photos in the garden has been tricky. I got some pretty ones the other week but haven’t had time to post them but the images below say it all.

Yay… it’s dry and breezy this morning so instead of sorting and collecting photos for GBBD my pond build and grass turf is calling me more. So for the today I’ll give a list. I am liking the way some of my borders are taking shape just now and plan some border posts where all the blooms will be seen in place for my own records too.

To see many sumptuous images of what’s blooming around the world today head over the Carol’s at May Dreams Gardens and follow the links. It’s fun to see all the gardens and to take part. It’s a great way to meet other garden bloggers too :-)

Today, 15th July 2012, in flower in my back garden are:
Cirsium rivulare 'Atropurpureum'; Heucheras, many around borders; Spotted leaf orchid; Astrantias new ones dark red and white (I’ll come back with names when I find the labels); Clematis’Niaobe’; The clematis above, Rouge Cardinal; Wisteria sinensis 'Alba' (still a few ones hanging around as this was late to flower); White Campanula bells (another I’ll come back to with name); Saxifrage ‘London Pride’ (a few flowering stems remain); Alliums a few (I’ll come back with names); Cranesbill Geraniums: Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ (a few flowers left on divided plant); Thyme; Red Campion and last hellobore flowers going over. Oh yes and the perennial wallflower ‘ Erysimum 'Bowles' Mauve'. Think that’s it. I have lots of foliage in my back garden.

Flowering in my sunnier front garden is a sumptuous deep dark velvet red Rhododendron ‘didymium’ that can be seen below. This photo was taken back on the 7th of July and the flowers are still there pretty much like this but dry today. I’m enjoying the changing colour pallet in my front garden very much.

The front garden list reads as: ‘ Erysimum 'Bowles' Mauve' again; Alliums (smaller pink ones that I must get the name of as they are spreading well); Heucheras; Penstemon Raven; Rose 'Cardinal de Richelieu'; Clematis ‘Picardy’; Osteospermum ‘stardust’; Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’; Pink Cranesbill Geraniums; Allium ‘Purple Sensation’; Nepata ‘Walkers Low’; Stipa gigantea; Red Campion and waiting for the sun a deep red day lily. Think that’s it there too. Plan to take some border shots here soon once a few more flowers come out.

Happy GBBD to all taking part! Happy gardening, bird and wildlife watching to all :-D

This post was written by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in July 2012.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Wordless Wednesday: The Red Squirrel photo challenge


This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in July 2012. These images were taken at the Visitor Centre observation window at SWT Reserve Loch of the Lowes.

Monday, 2 July 2012

End of Month View - June 2012

Being Scottish, it may come as no surprise that I’m a bit of a rain gardener. Truth be told, I actually enjoy gardening in the rain so much more than on a sunny warm day - which honestly we do get too!

However, muddy ground in the area of my wildlife pond build is becoming a bit of a battle just now – but one I am determined to win. Finally after three years of on/off garden work here the end is almost in sight :-)

Before I go on any further, my thoughts go to families that are battling muddy water clean-ups in their homes and gardens here in the UK (and elsewhere). Summer flooding always seems so much worse to me. Let’s hope the worst is past.

The image below was taken at the end of the month (as I join Patient Gardener, Helen and other bloggers) is a pretty accurate snapshot of how things were and had been at the end of June.

The garden table spent most of the month quietly covered and unused. Meanwhile, June was the month where foliage plants just partied it up and up! The garden is getting noisy now ;-)

As a garden blogger I am known for my postings on my bird, nestbox and hedgehog visitors. However, I'm a plantswoman at heart and I really must get out with my camera more often to capture what’s happening around all my borders. I’m loving the way some plantings are taking shape now – I just need to remind myself of this and not move anything for a year ;-)

Interestingly, Helen was chatting in her post about how she has unknowingly succumbed to foliage plants. I’m on the other side as I add more flowering plants to my strong foliage garden. I like how as gardeners we all have both different and similar likes. As garden bloggers we can get so much inspiration from each other.

Finally, on the photo above, that pile of turf has a tale to tell! Part of my wildlife pond works has been working towards a flat clean area to make a grass path. I also intend having a grass edge to my pond. Freshly delivered turf to a store I happened to pass by on a day out with my daughter seemed to be too good an opportunity to pass up despite other stores being considerably closer to home.

Boot already grass turf pick-up ready with a large fabric bag previously used for a gravel delivery to keep it clean, sleeves up, I lifted 10 strips of grass turf into my boot bag. Delighted with my find we headed home. It absolutely was not the day to have the car break down on us.

Fortunately, I was able to stop on a hard shoulder of a busy duel carriage road (just off the Edinburgh by-pass) but we were getting pretty close to the evening rush hour. Rescue service & police called we didn’t have to wait too long to get help. However having lost power to drive my car (due to a burst alternator drive belt) getting the car on to the rescue van’s tow ramp was proving tricky due to the weight of both car and turf!

Finally sorted, it was a steady (busy commuter) drive direct to our usual local garage which was a bit of a drive away from our breakdown. We were very grateful to be taken straight there. My husband met us there with his smaller commuting car, seats down and boot lining sheet ready to receive the grass turf. However, having an electronic only boot opening on the breakdown car it had to be briefly jump started so my key could open the boot to get the turf out!

Phew… small car loaded, we finally got home safely and we didn’t need to abandon the turf anywhere! As yet, the turf still waits patiently for the muddy earth to dry and get its final levelling. Since then, my pond liner and underlay have been bought and as soon as we get a couple of dry days I can begin again – first job will be to load the boot with the bags of excess earth I don’t have a home for that is huddled under my hedge to keep dry.

Okay, coming back to the title of the post and to my end of the month view, back at the end of May this is how the pond works looked…

And here we have it at the end of June…

At a glance, it perhaps doesn’t look like much has changed but levels etc have. I have been very busy on other garden area tidy-ups too hence my absence in the blogging world. Last year at this time was hard (and for the rest of the year). I couldn’t face my garden during health issues with my husband.

Back in March, he had his 6 month check-up and everything was ok which is good news for now. It looks like he is getting closer to becoming diabetic but he is a very lucky man and this post is a long way from this post back in September last year. For those new to my blog, I don’t usually share personal stuff.

Coming back to my end of the month view… here’s the pond works from the other side on the 30th of June...

Finally, here’s how things looked the next day on the first day of July. You can now see how this is taking shape…

I’m trying not to get too carried away as I still have a lot of hard work to do yet and lots of ideas to implement but… it’s looking very promising that I’ll finally have my completed wildlife pond for next time. Oh… I do hope my plans and ideas come together :-)

So my garden blogging friends (I’ll be over to catch up with you soon), what garden plans do you hope to complete during the month of July? Do share in a comment, I’d love to hear. Sending my best wishes to you all :-)

This post was written by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in July 2012.