Monday, 31 March 2008

Mystery Moth?

I took these photographs this afternoon. I don't know what this moth is. I have looked in my Readers Digest Field Guide to Butterflies and Moths and I can't see it in there. Can anyone help?

Water Feature.

I spent most of yesterday cutting shrubs back. I was limited to dry areas at the back of the garden due to heavy rain. Decided to have a cup of tea on the patio as the sun was shining and pleasantly warm. We have a water feature on the patio and last year blue tits nested in this top section. I wasn't too happy about it at the time because it is in full sun for most of the day. I worried for the fledglings. Anyway the blue tits are back and also a pair of great tits. There were terrible fights between these birds yesterday. At one point the great tit had the blue tit pinned to the ground trying to peck at its eyes. I quickly broke the fight up and they flew away. I am sure they will be back.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Mr Practical.

Decided today that it was time the mason bees went outside. I like them to go out around mid March but the weather then was bitterly cold, so it was not a good idea. The weather is still unsettled so I ask Mr. Practical if he could make a temporary shelter for them, and it would stop me worrying about them. Now he is not the sort of man that you could chat to about the meaning of life or the nesting of blue tits, he would listen and smile in the right places, but there are more important things on his agenda. Now having said that, when I asked for the shelter, within a couple of hours it was made. It even has mini legs to stop water accumulating underneath and roofing felt on the top to keep the rain out. Now other girls might like chocolates and flowers, but hey me give me Mr Practical everytime!

Saturday, 29 March 2008

A pile of feathers

I have just had the most amazing experience. I was sitting in the conservatory eating supper. Dusk was drawing nigh, when thump a sparrowhawk with a collared dove in his powerful grip landed right in front of the glass doors. I tell you my heart was banging so fast I felt breathless. I sat frozen to the spot for fear that if I moved he would take flight and the poor dove would have died in vain. It was a fantastic thing to see.....I went into the garden turned the outside lights on and took a photo of the feathers. I just had to tell and show everyone the evidence. Wow what an evening, much better than television!

Bumble bees and pampas grass!

Please excuse the terrible quality of these two photos, but I was trying to balance in a huge puddle at the time and just couldn't steady myself.
Those that read my blog regularly will remember the episode with the pampas grass. I still have cuts healing on my arms, and the slashes caused me a terrible rash which has now gone. I seriously thought during the week of getting rid of this monster, that is until this morning. The day had started with sunshine and I had again seen a lone bumble in the garden. Within an hour sun had gone and a cold wind had whipped up. I was on the decking when I saw the humble bumble enter the pampas grass. I looked closely to see he was pumping his little body to try and generate some heat to enable him to get back home. I will check later to see if he is ok. The pampas is definately staying, if it gives shelter to just one of my bees then it is worth an itchy rash and a few minor cuts. You are a very lucky pampas grass!!

Friday, 28 March 2008


This is quite a common plant locally. You often find it hanging from crevices in walls and on rockeries. I thought this flower looked lovely with the raindrops on it. Enjoy.

Wood Anemones.

I stopped at a small woodland area today and it was covered in pretty white flowers. I believe them to be the wood anemone. Although it was pouring with rain, they still looked beautiful.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Wonderful Wednesday.

My little granddaughter came for the day yesterday. We spent a couple of hours in the garden, just doing our own thing. I always take my camera in the garden, just in case I see something for a post. Watching Poppi made me realise that being in touch with the outside is in you from the start. The shots I have taken are all natural, no posing. She hugged a tree (so Nanna), studied the beech with interest, carried the bird seed (without being asked). She didn't like the freaky head, thought he was scary. Then when all was done, a quick snack would be nice, thank you very much. I see reflections of myself in her, I also do in my little grandson.

Quote: I may not be rich or famous but I have priceless Grandchildren.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008


I am so excited about this little plant. It is the most beautiful flower......and I am just hoping and praying that the rabbits leave it alone. If I am lucky I will upload a photo when it is in full bloom.


In February my garden is full of snowdrops. This year I didn't have any. Low and behold we are at the end of March and snowdrops are coming up. HOW STRANGE!

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Let battle commence.

Have you ever started a job and wished that you hadn't. I looked out of the kitchen window today and my gaze fell on the pampas grass. Its a huge beast and I am sure it knows when I am thinking of giving it a haircut. The weather had improved, so I thought come on lets do it. Armed with the shears, padded gloves, and a heavy jacket I set to task. Ten minutes in and I was weakening, my wrists were cut (how to those vicious strands get between glove and jacket), my face had been whipped several times, and a breeze had started to blow all the cuttings around the garden. GREAT. Well I am not a defeatest, I wasn't going to go down without a fight. Bish bash hour later the job was done. In fact I was so full of enthusiasm by this time I dug up a dying conifer as well!!! I know I will ache a bit tonight but my view from the kitchen window is much nicer now.

Monday, 24 March 2008

The weather can't beat us.

After rain, snow, hail, frost and freezing temperatures just look at what I photographed today. Although a lot of the blossom, new leaves and daffs are damaged there is always something to bring a smile to your face.

Snakes Head Fritillary.

Don't you just love this little flower. I love plants that look fragile. I have to grow most of mine in tubs due to the rabbits. I would love to have these dotted all over my garden. I have planted a few bulbs in the lawn, so will wait and see what happens.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

The Dunnock

The dunnock looks a little like a sparrow but it belongs to a completely different family. It is in fact a song bird and sings the sweetest melodies. It is often seen alone and is a quiet and sensitive bird. They nest in shrubs and small conifers, and only around six feet above the ground.
The snow came was a light fall ....and when it came the whole world seemed to go quiet. As I walked the garden early this morning I could hear the church bells in a neighbouring village. Easter Sunday, it was a lovely way to start my day. The afternoon was spent with family......easter egg easter tea......and lots and lots of laughter. I had a lovely day and I hope that you did to.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Rain, rain, go away.

The weather is still awful. We have had a north wind all day and it has brought hail with it. Temperatures have been near to freezing, and I am beginning to feel that I have gone back to winter! We have had a lot of activity at the feeders, and nest building seems to have been abandoned by some of the birds. The blue tits have lost interest at the moment in a couple of the boxes. I to have put everything on hold due to a boggy garden, and puddles galore. So much for an easter egg hunt in the garden for the grandchildren, looks like it will be indoors.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Plum blossom.

We have a lot of old plum trees here, and as you can see from the photo they are in blossom. I did see a lone bumblebee amongst the flowers, so hopefully there will be some fruit this year.
The weather has turned really cold, and we have a northerly wind. Hopefully after this cold snap the weather will turn around. March certainly came in like a lion, so I am hoping she will go out like a lamb!

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Log fire...March 20th....oh please

This years weather has been chaotic to say the least. Spring arrived in February, bees and butterflies were about, in small numbers admitedly. Now its heading towards the end of March and I am lighting log fires. Its cold and wet outside and snow is expected at the weekend. I am in a muddle with this weather, but can you imagine how wildlife is coping. They must be so confused, the seasons are in such a state of chaos. Its okay for us we just snuggle up indoors, and wait for the changes. Would you fancy perching in a tree in March, freezing cold, and soaking wet!!!
Sad bit of news, one of our mallards was run over yesterday, I know I'm soft but it really upset me.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008


Wild primroses.

As I drive along the lanes there are wild primroses everywhere. These are for me very much part of the English countryside. As I walked I wondered how long they had been there, isn't nature truly wonderful.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Bees and blue tits.

This bee was trying so hard to get into an unopened flower that I almost felt sorry for him.
He gave up eventually and...................

this cute little blue tit spent half an hour today taking bits and pieces from a hanging basket liner
obviously for nest building. He tugged and pulled, and pulled and tugged until he got the piece out that he wanted. I hope is keeps their chicks snug and warm.

Sunday, 16 March 2008


This is just one of the rabbits that live in my copse. I inherited them when I moved here. I have to say they have caused me more difficulties with the garden than I ever imagined. Being of a passive nature and one who believes that we are all here for a purpose, I would not hurt them. I thought they would just eat the odd plant and dig the odd hole. Oh no, they can eat as if it is the last day of their life. They can dig holes that are so deep if I run across the lawn, I could easily sprain an ankle. They eat the roots of trees and shrubs, they love all new growth on plants. So it was a huge learning curve moving here. I have learned to leave the grass around my trees and shrubs so the rabbits can't get to the roots. I am now an expert on the plants that rabbits truly dislike. I have fenced, I have netted, and I must admit they have made me cry....when I plant I have nurtured for years disappears overnight when a rabbit has dug under the netting. The battle has been going on for six years, and I don't think it will end. They like living here, even with the dreaded Nella (the terrier). They have all they need and more. As for me I suppose it is another challenge in life, and the grandchildren think they are so cute...they also feed the garden with nitrogen (from their droppings). At the end of the day it isn't too bad, I can't believe I said that, perhaps older age makes you more tolerant!!!


A few of you have asked me to tell you about my bees. I will take you through the process as I deal with them but the following may interest those who are thinking of helping these lovely bees.
1. They do not sting, they are a passive bee.
2. You can buy units made of oak etc that can be leftout during the winter. If you buy the middle unit from The Oxford Bee Company, they must be kept in a cool shed during the autumn and winter months. The unit on the right was made by a friend using offcuts of wood and bamboo sticks.
3. The units when they go out in March must ALWAYS be put in a south facing sheltered position, this is important for the survival of the bees.
4. Mason bees only live for six weeks (approx). The male mates with the female and then spends the rest of his life basically having fun. Flying from flower to flower and resting in the sun. The female on the other hand spends her life laying her grubs in the tubes, she puts a supply of food for each bee and then seals the tube with mud. She is so exhausted at the end of her time that she becomes senile, and dies. A bit of a sad story and one to think about.
I will leave it at that for now, and continue when the bees go out.
If you have any questions just leave a comment and I will answer it there.
Hope its helpful.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Its still gloomy.

The gloomy weather is still with us. Grey skies seem to be hanging over us constantly. Its lucky that I don't suffer with SAD, because I would be in a serious state of depression. Instead I will work in the garden today cutting back the dogwoods and other large shrubs that need a bit of regeneration. We have another day of rain tomorrow and then they are saying the sun should come out again. Fingers crossed. Hope the sun is shining on you all and have a fun weekend.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Wet, cold and windy.

The weather is still not good, but I am an all weather gardener. Today I have planted two trees, a Salix Alba which has wonderful coloured stems in the autumn and winter. Also a Rowan, I planted this one for the birds, as they will love the berries this tree gives so willingly. Always looking for a bargain I only paid two pounds each, so I was well chuffed. I managed to clear some of the beds of debris and cut some of the larger plants back. Not the ideal weather but I don't do sitting very well, I am an outside girl. I also managed while I was out in the garden to find plants that I havn't posted before. They made me happy, hope they have the same effect on you. The mason bees are still in the shed due to the bad weather, hopefullly it will improve soon, but its not looking good. Hope the sun is shining on someone somewhere!!!

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Bringing spring indoors.

The weather is still awful, working outside is not possible as the ground is badly waterlogged.
So I've put touches of spring around the house, just to remind me that the weather will settle and we will be enjoying gentle breezes and sunshine soon.

Oh Dear, I've been tagged again.

I have been tagged again this time by Sherry at Q's Corner, this really is the last time and I won't be tagging anyone else. I was asked to:-
1. Pick up the nearest book of more than 123 pages.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the 5th sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.
And cannot hurt thy weakness - So the storm
Of horrid war, o'erwhelming cities, fields,
And peaceful villages, rolls dreadful on:
As with the previous tag, join in if you want to!
Have fun.