Increasing numbers of hedgehog droppings and begging juvenile birds on the lawn, cats hiding in explosions of foliage in borders… garden watching has been busy! On the gardening front… there has been much weeding, dividing and replanting of plants too.
New juvenile birds are being spotted (and heard) daily in the garden. Writing this earlier, I spotted a Great tit outside my window. Although, having had Blue tits use nest boxes in my garden (see 2010 Blue tit Diary) they will always be a favourite 🙂
We’ve had lots of juvenile Blackbirds, Starlings, Chaffinches, Greenfinches and Goldfinches. Counting the Goldfinches when they arrive with the parents (especially on a rainy day like today) can be tricky when they are so small and they land on plants around the feeders. However, I’d guess they take the top spot for now.
As for silly places for juveniles to explore, top spot goes to a couple of Blackbird juveniles (newly fledged I’d guess) that found themselves stuck and calling for food from my small greenhouse. Yes, the door was open a little but it doesn’t face a flight path the birds use and is tucked away in a corner with access that is limited even for me!
Needless to say, I spent some considerable time removing and re-adjusting items presently stored in my greenhouse to encourage them to leave. They did eventually and were seen later being fed by parents 🙂
Feeding on Nepata Walker’s Low (Catmint) and Alliums a variety of bees have been spotted. I love to watch them busily make their way from flower to flower collecting pollen. I often stand with my camera but they don’t hang around for long. Butterfly sightings are a little more scarce at the moment but I expect the wet and windy weather is keeping them away.
Come wind, rain or shine – you can’t hold back the growth on plants at the moment! In one month the garden has changed quite dramatically. Catching the late evening sun last night was the new golden oat-like flowers of the ornamental grass Stipa gigantea emerging from stems that are reaching for the sky. Some staking is required here at the base to support the stems on windy days.
The wonderful pink dots of wildflower Red Campion attract a variety of insects. I guess not really seen as a front garden plant but I love it here. It is growing with another tall plant Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’ which is a magnet for bees. However this planting is a bit too high to get photos. Oh yes… and below the Stipa (skirting the ground) is the Catmint shown with bees above 🙂
Hugging around the base of a golden stemmed Bamboo in my shadier back garden is a wonderful display of Heuchera fully in flower. These tiny flowers also attract bees which I am delighted about as I love this plant and keep dividing the ones I have to give greater carpets of ground cover which lasts throughout the year. This is the last spot to get the evening sun in my garden and it always makes me smile to see it.
Also flowering in my garden at the moment, are a few dark Clematis and the wonderful (white with green markings) Miss Bateman. She has put on her best show ever this year! However, two years of hard, cold winters have taken their toll on my Wisteria and I’ve had few flowers there which is such a shame.
There are flowers on woodland Strawberries, Chives, Thyme, Alpine Asters, Celmisia , Campanula, Dianthus, variegated Saxifraga x urbium (London Pride) but most of all there are many, foliage plants and shades of green in my garden at the moment which I love.
Hidden among ferns behind my garden gate, almost out of sight, there is one absolute treasure of a flower that I am particularly enjoying just now – the common spotted orchid. It has only been in my garden a year but I moved it from my grass mound when it emerged this year as I felt in drier weather it might not be so happy there.
Unfortunately (but quite luckily) the small plant split in two when I dug it up. As there was root in both parts I planted them apart and wonderfully now I have two flower spikes this year! I’ve divided many plants over the years but this one was a very successful accident 🙂
Update: Just spotted a post on wild orchids at Orchids, Nature and My Outdoor Life. I always enjoy seeing David’s posts on his walks with the wonderful scenery and plants he sees en route. Add to that he has orchids that have arrived in his garden all by themselves! Just brilliant 🙂 Perhaps you might want to see David’s latest orchid post too.
So that almost sums up the garden watching in my garden at the moment. I am still (slowly) working towards the point that I am able to put a liner down for my new wildlife pond. I probably won’t do this until September now as during August/September (weather depending) our Leylandii hedge will be getting its annual trim and I don’t want bits to blow down into the water.
Last time I mentioned a new nest in my garden and a bird that is new to me. It wasn’t until I took video footage that I was able to ID this bird. Lol… the swallow was a red herring that I’ll come back to next time! High above my front door under a roof eave we saw the start of a House Martin nest.
We had no idea if it would be completed with a number of birds seen flying back and forth between at least four houses beside ours. What a spectacle they made. Some evenings Swifts could be seen and heard flying with them too.
So did they finish their nest? Yes they did! They were pretty quick about it too and I captured some great video footage which I’ll share sometime soon. The nest is cup shaped with the entrance high to one corner so it’s difficult to see much going on. Rain has prevented further video footage to get a closer look. Oh… I should say that our neighbours also have nests too. At least five houses and some have two nests!
Now then, with House Martin eggs (usually 2-5) being incubated for 15 days and the image above taken on June 3rd it’s possible that in this nest of pellets of mud, lined with feathers and grass (collected in the air) made by both the male and female may have eggs inside at the moment. I wonder. Needless to say, there are no cams in this nest 😉
I’m also wondering if this is a particularly good year for pairs of House Martins nesting. This is certainly the first time our street has seen so many. Interesting, has anyone else been seeing this too? Perhaps you’ve another new nest in your garden this year. Please do share in a comment below.
Now… I wonder if you’ve seen swallows recently… they really are a delight to watch 😉
This post was written by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch