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?
Answer:
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.

12 comments:

Janneke said...

Wonderful post, the sun, birds and bees made me smile.
Regards, Janneke

Sue Garrett said...

It's always exciting to look out and see a bird that doesn't usually visit isn't it? For some reason we seem to have had a lack of birds for a few months now. I hope they haven't deserted us altogether and come back soon.
I planted some of those fritillary bulbs in the garden last year but none have come up. Don't know what has happened to them.

Shirley said...

Hello again to you both, thanks for popping by and leaving your comments :-)

Gosh... the garden weeks are flying by aren't they? I couldn't let March go without any images - choosing was hard as you'll both know. The image I'd love to capture for now is the first frogspawn in my wildlife pond (still none to be seen) - I'm guessing you might have some already Sue, what fun it must be to watch :-)

Janneke, That’s great! It made me smile too. It’s another sunny morning here today and the crocus are open for business once again :-D

Sue, Definitely! I do see the GSW from time to time but as you will know it is usually so quick – in theory it could be a secret regular garden visitor that I just don’t spot. This time was different (March 7th) in that it wasn’t driven to the garden by harsh weather and it stayed long enough for a camera to be reached. It wasn’t in a hurry – although it should have been as the male Sparrowhawk is still regularly seen flying through and perching in garden! My garden feels quite desserted at times too and I do feel the Sparrowhawk is responsible here. Birds only hang around in groups and they scatter quickly. Perhaps you have a Sparrowhawk regular too? I do hope the birds return to your garden as I know you both love to see, feed and photograph them. Ah… that Fritillary, you’ve just reminded me that many years ago (in the days of the rockery scree pre wildlife pond) I had it too. In my case, I guessed I was the culprit in the loss of mine as I was forever moving the plants around and probably disturbed the bulbs. For my OH especially, I hope my surprise plant returns next year. I’d blame mice if not – they are regulars too and as I’ve planted an area with other bulbs that I’ve pledged to leave be I know I won’t be the culprit. Planting depth could be a cause of losing yours perhaps? Just a thought, maybe even a thin layer of mulch made them sulk below ground? I’ll have to be conscious of that myself.

Lisa Greenbow said...

What a hoot that your husband hid your plant gift in a cupboard. It will straighten up for next year. :)
I am often given plants as gifts. I am lucky that my family sort of knows what to give me. I enjoy most every gift. This Easter as a hostess gift I received two pots of tulips, a garden statue and a mini bonsai kit. All interesting. Fun.
Now as to a shopping list. Well, I always have one. When I arrive at a nursery I usually forget to look at it and it is always added to since when I see plants I want them. Especially if they are a plant I have read about and didn't think I would find around here or it is really pretty... You know they bring things in that are blooming just to entice you to buy, buy, buy.
Such fun hearing about your hedgehogs returning. They try to do their best to help fertilize your garden since you are so kind as to feed them.
Congrats on your new garden bird. That is one handsome woodpecker.

Midmarsh John said...

Well captured with your visiting GSW.
Ah. Looks like it's time I re-positioned a camera to check on any Hedgehog visits.

Shirley said...

Hello again to you both, thanks for popping by and leaving your comments :-)

I’m sitting writing this looking at the view in the hedgehog feeding station. I was a little later in putting the food out this evening. Its 11:25pm, will a hedgehog appear before I finish this reply – answer: not tonight.

Lisa, A hoot indeed - I would have loved to have seen his face when he opened the cupboard! Yes, it should be fine for next year although Sue above has found hers didn’t reappear this year. Time will tell. That’s great your family know where to start in choosing plants for you making the enjoyment of the gift good for you both. Wow, you did very well as a hostess! Very interesting to read of your list habits – especially as this is a new venture for me! I suspect the list experience to be fun and I probably won’t always follow it either. Ha-ha – hedgehog’s help the organic gardener ;-) The GSW isn’t a completely new visitor but its visits are infrequent so it always feels like he’s just appeared for the first time :-D

John, Thanks, that hedge in the background sometimes unbalances the colours but the camera picked up the warm sunlit GSW well, I was pleased. Yes, it could be hedgehog time with you too. From memory, ours appear a little earlier than yours (hardy ones up here in Scotland). Fingers crossed you see a few visit your garden this year too. Hope your camera is still working – but then again that just gives you an excuse to have fun choosing and re-sitting a new one ;-)

Sue Garrett said...

We do have a sparrowhawk visiting from time to time but I wouldn't say it was particularly regular. Not regular enough to deter the birds. We still get some spiarrows, blackbirds, starlings, blue tits, great tits, doves and wood pigeons but not as many and the goldfinches have disappeared completely.
The aconite's were planted as a pot of flowering bulbs last year so I don't think the planting depth was an issue with those. The bulbs haven't been disturbed at all either. Maybe it is mice or the squirrel.

Brian Skeys said...

What happens when you get bitten with the gardening wildlife bug, there is no going back!

Patsi said...

Loving the Great Spotted Woodpecker ! If you remember me ...well I don't chat much...yet still enjoy your stories.

Angie said...

Great post Shirley and as always your pictures are great. What happens when I go plant buying? Firstly I leave all bank cards at home taking only the cash I am willing to spend. I am far to much of an impulse buyer and need some restraint when it comes to plant buying I'm afraid.
Thanks for helping me identify some poo I found in the garden recently - I had a hunch it belonged to a hedgehog.

Anna said...

Oh I had to laugh at your husband's method of hiding that plant until the big day Shirl but what a well considered choice. The man did well. He has been paying more attention than you thought :) The plant will no doubt soon recover from the shock. I don't make many garden centre visits but have to be focused when I do otherwise I'm easily tempted. I try to go armed with a list these days and stick to it.

Shirley said...

Hello again to you all, thanks for popping by and leaving your comments :-)

Sue, ah, the Sparrowhawk was just a thought. Great you get a good mix of birds, here’s hoping your goldfinches return soon. Delighted to see your frogs have returned. No sightings here yet. Yes, I might suspect the mice myself.

Brian, I think you are probably spot on there!

Patsi, hello again, oh yes, I do remember you. I hope you are well :-) Thanks for stopping by, great you enjoyed seeing our Woodpecker :-)

Angie, thanks :-) Now, that’s exactly what I do on the gardening Scotland shows, I take cash and once it runs out… on saying that some buys with the cash will be impulse ones too! Brilliant, wishing you many hedgehog visitors :-)

Anna, I was chuckling myself, I tell you! I agree, he had a good choice there though. Yes, thinking next year it should shine. I can imagine you are true to your lists too :-) Just in case you missed it, my GBBD in February showed the location of Wendy in my garden, with thanks to you both :-)