Wednesday, 30 March 2016

What happens when?

How long have you got? Ok, in terms of gardenwatching, ‘what happens when’ is a very good question. That’s always been at the root of this blog. Feeding stations have been tweaked and my first bird feeder book has guided me on my way to encourage more species to the garden. It has been an adventure, that is for sure. It hasn't been all about the birds either... although we're currently sitting at 36 species seen in the garden which is amazing! Who would have thought?

What happens when… you look out the window at the right time?
You see a bird that’s not one of the garden’s usual suspects…

Great Spotted Woodpecker: Cropped photo shows brown glint in the eye:-)

Great Spotted Woodpecker: Red triangle on back of head shows it's a male:-)

Last night, as I typed this, I was watching a live camera feed to a hedgehog feeding station in my garden (affectionately known as Hedgehog Manor). It was 10pm and a hedgehog had just been in dining on crushed, unsalted peanuts, dried sultanas and mealworms. It took a good drink from a large ceramic plant saucer of water from my water butt. Then... bye, bye... off into the night it went. I was to see four further visits - was it the same hedgehog? Perhaps not :-)

What happens when…. you see what's below on your lawn, borders or gravel?
Answer: A hedgehog has visited! Yay...this endangered species is back for another year :-)

Hedghog Poo: More on the first hedgehog visits, feeding station
and hedgehog droppings can be seen back in August 2007 :-)

Despite first appearances on this blog, this gardenwatching adventure has not been all about the birds and hedgehogs. Bees and butterflies have featured too and attracting these pollinators has brought the garden back full circle from current wildlife garden to plantswoman’s garden once again! Plant wishlists are germinating faster than this gardener can get out there planting ;-)

What happens when…. the sun shines over the garden on a March afternoon?
Answer: The flower café is open and bees are the first customers :-)

Crocus: Feeding bees return again and again scattering pollen :-)

Crocus: A cheery favourite of this gardener - especially the purples :-)

What happens when… the sun shines over well-stocked, plant sales tables?
Answer: Plant purchases are made, some planned, some not :-)

Garden Centres definitely up their game in March, offering a bounty of newly brought in young plants. Colourful displays are set out to tease customers forward to the new gardening year and we all fall for it. We will make impulse buys, but is that a bad thing really? I do love this buzz.

Ok, so I'm trying to stay focussed this year, I have plant lists and my focus is in feeding butterflies and other visitors to my wildlife pond. On saying that, I recently succumbed to a bounty of young wildflower plants which I have yet to plant. Some were on my list, others not. I was thrilled with this find. I'll keep these photos and my increasing garden wildlflower list for another time :-)

What happens when… your non-gardening husband hides a plant gift surprise (Mother's Day) in his bedside cupboard for a few days so you don’t see it?
Answer: The growing plant bolts in the warm conditions and stretches in its search for light. Non-gardening husband got a bit of a surprise too ;-)

Fritillaria michailovskyi: Stems still bent after being restricted in cupboard.

Buying a plant gift for a friend or relative can be a risky business, especially for a non-gardener, but ten out of ten to my husband for his first ever plant choice! A small plant was a good plan which reduced the risk considerably. In addition to that he had admired the snake’s head fritillary that was already round the grass edge of my wildlife pond last year (which was what he had been looking for) so he had a good starting point! I was disappointed for him that the plant had bolted on him and lost the shape it had when purchased - but I think his dissapointment went when he saw the delight on my face that he had chosen well! Mmm... should I be worried here?

Finally, what happens when… you go to the garden centre? Do you go with a plan? Do you have success in purchasing to a list? Have you had success in buying surprise plant gifts? What about receiving surprise plants?
Answers: Please do leave your stories in a comment, thanks for stopping by :-D

This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in March 2016.