Hey presto… a few glorious days of warm sunshine at this time of year and the sleepy garden of the past few months is no more. Happy smiling faces all around. Mm… but the one below is actually a gate crasher to the party of bulbs dancing in my lawn! Now the big question is – should it stay or should it go?
Firstly, this is just my second year of warming to the tulip after many years without it so it is still on the ‘new friends’ list. The area of lawn below was planted with crocus (a little late) in January. I thought the larger bulbs were giant crocuses but clearly I was in for a surprise! I would never have deliberately planted tulips in my lawn and it is unlikely that I deliberately bought this type either. At first I was in no doubt it that they should be relocated but when the sun comes out and they open up like sunshine stars they do make me smile. Decisions, decisions…
Quick decisions are being made at the bird feeders at the moment too. They are getting very busy especially with increasing numbers of finches to the garden. Goldfinches especially are having to choose carefully which ones they go to between the bossy blue tits chasing them off and fights between themselves, the Siskins and the Greenfinches. Sometimes they will assess the situation from the sunny vantage point of a neighbour’s tree.
Many thanks for all the kind Birthday wishes in my last posting. I did have a lovely few days. I also got a rather special parcel that will hopefully let you see more of my garden and others that I visit. It is great to see close-up images but I am hoping that my new ‘birthday’ wide angle camera lens will also let you see the planting combinations too. This is something that I am always drawn to in other gardens and something that I continually play around with in my own.
At the moment, one image I wake up to when opening curtains is the wonderful colours and shapes of the Drumstick Primulas growing above my pond. I love to see them in their earlier stages as the clusters of flowers open in their rows, lighter in colour at the start deepening as they are complete. I also love the warmth of the evening sunshine on them too which you can see in the photos below. They have put on a lot of growth in the last few days.
Let’s step back to have a look at the plants growing around the Drumstick Primulas. The second image below will hopefully make it easier to list these plants. Please do tell me what you think – maybe I’m getting too arty here!
Let’s step back a little more and look at this same area from inside, through my window, where you’ll get a better idea of scale. My pond really is tiny but small as it is it does attract wildlife. I would definitely recommend adding water if you want to encourage wildlife to visit your garden. Even, on the ground, a shallow tray with pebbles would provide water for hedgehogs to drink, frogs to rest a while and birds to drink and bathe in – mine is nestled among plants and is very popular.
Another way, I have found, to attract more birds and wildlife to the garden is to provide a variety of foods. No… raspberries are not usually on the menu in my garden but I had a few left over so I decided to see if they got any takers. I enjoy putting new foods and feeders out and observing how the birds deal with them.
The Blackbirds visiting this ground feeder tossed the rasps, up in the air out of the way, to feed on the sunflower hearts. Mm… I did think they might have tasted them. However, I am delighted to report that the most likely suspect for these berries did eat them – the Song Thrush. We are very lucky to have one regularly visiting at the moment and after an unfortunate case of ‘curiosity trapped the Song Thrush’ I try to keep a regular morning supply of dried mixed fruit/sultanas around the feeder above next to my pond.
The video above shows the Song Thrush after it entered Hedgehog Manor. It stayed just a little bit too long and couldn’t find its way out again. It began to get stressed so I had to pop out and ‘pop out’ the front Perspex front to set it free.
Since then, one evening when garden watching with my night camera, I spotted a cat looking down the tunnel which was put in for the safety of any hedgehogs. I opened my window and the cat ran off. I then saw movement inside the Manor that I was not expecting. No stress this time. A Blackbird was quietly sitting at the back of the tunnel – what was his idea? I didn’t expect it was stuck as I’ve seen them go in and out without any bother. Once again, I removed the front and set the bird free. This is the first Spring for this set up so seeing as curiosity is getting the better of the birds I must plan for another redesign of the layout to accommodate a variety of guests!
How about Nestbox guests and activity? Well, I’d take a guess that soon moss should start going into Nestboxes in my area. It’s a case of ‘wakey, wakey rise and shine’ if you want to see if any activity is happening with yours. In the far South of England I’d expect that nests could even be complete by now. Don’t’ worry if you see moss being taken out of your Nestbox as it is very likely the female building the nest is just being fussy! We have seen a lot of this activity and nest building really does look like such hard work – and that’s once they have laid claim to the box!
What about ours? Well, as last year, I am seeing more activity at our Arch Nestbox without a camera but… we have a rooster in our Camera one. However, also as last year, we have a bit of trouble between the blue tits considering using our Nestboxes . Yesterday, I saw one of many chase-offs around the garden and at the Arch Nestbox itself with the birds going in and out trying to lay claim. This wasn’t activity from a pair not getting on!
Today, is a lovely sunny morning so I’d like to get up to the Camera Nestbox, open it up and clean the floor of rooster droppings and feathers from any previous disputes inside. This isn’t probably necessary but I have a camera and can see that nest building hasn’t started yet. I’d like to refresh the camera nestbox floor to encourage one of the two birds fighting for ownership of the Arch Nestbox to see this one as an alternative before their fighting drives them both elsewhere. Oh… of course perhaps the bird roosting in our camera is a third female!
Hopefully, it will be dry tonight and I can put a camera out focused on the Arch box entrance to see if we have a rooster going in there too at the moment. Perhaps we have one determined bird roosting in the camera one and planning to build in the Arch one. Yep… the drama of the Nestboxes in my garden starts for its third year! We’re at the wait and see stage and we’ll just have to be patient. Here’s hoping you will be seeing signs of nesting activity in your garden. Do drop a comment here to tell everyone what’s happening with your Nestboxes.
Finally, I would like to say I am always thrilled to see my native primroses (grown from seed a few years ago) flowering around the mossy rocks beside the ground feeder in the photo above. Blackbirds and Starlings forage with great gusto when the feeder gets low and the new growth of the primroses gets pulled in the process. Initially I lifted and divided my young primrose plants to spread them around the garden and now these plants seed themselves around – just the right amount. I just adore these primroses – another plant that always makes me smile.
What activity has being going on in your garden this weekend? What is making you smile?
The photos and video above were taken in my garden this past week.