A monthly garden history covering all aspects of the garden in the form of a Gardenwatch Report seems like a useful plan to refer back to. As the garden year is picking up speed, it’s easy to forget some of the garden work, flowers and sightings that didn’t make blog posts, diaries or notebooks. My plan is to keep brief where possible.
BIRDWATCH LIST: Usual suspects of Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, House sparrow (lots), Chaffinch, Blue tit, Great tit, Coal tit and Woodpigeon all seen in garden.
Periods of visiting from Siskins, Goldfinch and Collared Dove and occasional visits by Wren feeding along mossy rocks of small rockpool pond.
RETURNING VISITORS: Male Blackcap after a break of seven years! It enjoyed fat balls and apple hanging on pine tree – last seen in garden back in 2007. It was still in the garden today 🙂
NEWEST GARDEN VISITOR: The saddest story of all gardenwatching so far. A tiny Goldcrest (Britain’s smallest bird) was spotted on the ground along the house wall looking like a piece of moss knocked of the roof by a Jackdaw – it was wet and dead 🙁
It was the small dark yellow/orange stripe that got the Goldcrest noticed and its tiny wings. Photos were taken with ruler to ask Twitter for confirmation on ID and it was agreed. A very special garden visitor to have had 🙁
BIRD FEEDER FOODS: Peanuts in 3x hanging feeders. Sunflower hearts in hanging feeder, trays on 3x bird tables, a in tiny window feeder nestled in tree. Niger seed in small hanging feeder. Fat cake in hanging caged feeder for small birds. Fall balls and apples in 2x basket feeders hanging on pine tree (put up after Blackcap was spotted). See feeder layout here.
WILDLIFE LIST: No sightings of hedgehogs, bats, bees or butterflies in garden. Mice seen at night.
HEDGEHOG MANOR: This feeding station with IR camera has seen no sightings of hedgehogs. However, Mice, Blackbirds, Woodpigeons and other birds have discovered this hidden special buffet. Mr Bushnell hasn’t spotted any hedgehogs in the area outside entrance. Possible house renovations are likely at Hedgehog Manor during March.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Since this blog was uploaded more information and articles have become available. Please avoid feeding bird food to wild hedgehogs. Although they will enjoy it (especially dried mealworms) these foods can cause Metabolic Bone Disease in hedgehogs. Sultanas are bad for their teeth too. Please follow the following link to the August 2020 update on feeding wild hedgehogs after reading this post.
WILDLIFE POND: Rainfall continues to top it up. No sightings of any visitors but there are no plants in water for shelter to predators (plant order made, waiting delivery). To improve chances of passing frogs moving in, planted up (spare after division) ornamental grass Bowles Golden in grit (no soil) in pond baskets. It will probably survive in margins but unlikely fully submerged but if it attracts frogs it will have done its job until the oxygenators get here.
BIRDS NESTING: No signs from Blackbirds, usually the first birds spotted collecting nesting material in garden. At dusk, a female Blackbird was spotted pushing her way into dense ivy covering the pillars of pergola – will she consider nesting there? I’ll have to get Mr Bushnell on the case 🙂
NESTBOX NEWS: Great tit rooster continues to roost. Great tit also seen visiting during the day, suspect it’s the same one. It’s not clear if any moss has been brought in, but possibly. It is clear that a Blue tit pair are also interested in this nestbox. A battle for tenants is likely during March.
IN FLOWER, FRONT GARDEN: Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’ and first Crocuses open – Pickwick near gate, deep purple strip in gravel. Allium leaves well through gravel and getting tall. Sedums and Nepata have new growth at base.
IN FLOWER, BACK GARDEN: Hellebores, Crocus, Snowflakes, Snowdrops, Heather, Cyclamen, Iris and Bunnera ‘Jack Frost’. Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’ in tall pot, wildlife pond border and pergola border all holding on to a few flowers. Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’ in rockpool pond border still sulking after being moved. Daffodils pushing through in borders, gravel and lawn. Cuckoo flowers putting on new growth after being moved to damp grass edge of wildlife pond.
GARDEN JOBS: Not included above, final rocks/stones positioned at wildlife pond – remaining stones returned to borders. Not done, Wisteria 2nd pruning.
NEW PLANT ARRIVALS: Cyclamen coum x3, planted in small basket border to be enjoyed from kitchen window.
GREENHOUSE: See The Greenhouse Year for FEB .
This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in March 2014.