Birds · Garden · wildlife

Wonderful Wildlife!

Tadpoles! We have tadpoles in our wee wildlife pond! I think there’s a newt and many minibeasts we’ve yet to name.

Watching the birds visiting the pond has helped us enormously in this life of lockdown.

I’d have never believed how useful the steps of the pond are. They’ve had the tiny feet of bluetits, robins and blackbirds stepping down them like the owl hopped down the books in Bagpuss. Two dunnocks tailed each other along the pond edge darting back and forth.

As I write a pigeon is emerging from the long grass beside the pond, waddling about, ducking its head watching, watching before dipping in.

And we try to count the tadpoles; twelve, thirteen? Who knows?

 

One visitor to the garden I’m afraid I don’t welcome quite so much are snails. I’ve supplied them with too many tasty dinners! That doesn’t stop me admiring their beautiful shells or their ability to travel and sneak into my little polytunnel and greenhouse.

I’ve just finished reading the book ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ by Anthony Doerr. It opened my eyes to the scientific beauty of snails but still …

Couldn’t resist including this poem here.

Old Shellover

” COME ! ” said Old Shellover.
” What?” says Creep.
” The horny old Gardener’s fast asleep;
The fat cock Thrush
To his nest has gone;
And the dew shines bright
In the rising Moon;
Old Sallie Worm from her hole doth peep:
Come!” said Old Shellover.
” Ay!” said Creep.
I am reading ‘Seal Morning’ by Rowena Farre.
Nature · Senses

Spring Sense

This week I finished reading a book I had been savouring. Every now and again I would dip into this book of essays and immerse myself in the writing of Kathleen Jamie. I had already read her book ‘Findings’ and had been looking forward to reading her first book ‘Sightlines’. It didn’t disappoint.

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One lasting impression was her mention of a whale’s eardrum and how the bone is so dense it would often be the only thing left in the furnace from the carcass. The whalemen thought they could hear the sea in them.

 

 

 

 

 

Not a very charming thought really but this, and being in lockdown, made me consider my use of the senses. Perhaps it is a time for me to go back to basics?

So here is my round up of lockdown senses for the week. I wonder what would be on your list?

See

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The cherry blossom tree in our garden is stunning this year.

I’ve enjoyed watching the birds on the feeders and seeing them having a bath in the small pond we put in last year.

Books – Richard Mabey, Erica James, Rebecca Stead, A Little Book of Rhymes, Old and New.

Films – ‘The Matrix’, Doris Day in ‘The Glass Bottom Boat’,  BBC1 Drama ‘The Nest’, Beechgrove Garden, Gardeners’ World.

Hear

Birdsong!

The cheery radio presenters – thank you!

Bill Gibb podcasts

Mary Wesley on desert island discs

Smell

Scones baking – made my first gluten free scones. (Far too tempting, they’ve gone already!)

Taste

(As above!)

Touch

Planting seeds, transplanting seedlings.

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Tomato seedlings

(Scones again – making breadcrumbs from the flour and butter.)

 

Wishing you all a happy and healthy week.

 

 

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Couldn’t resist adding in this photo and thinking of Wordsworth’s daffodils.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flowers · Garden · Seasons

Let Spring Bring Hope and Peace

Nothing is so beautiful as spring – Gerard Manley Hopkins

Birds are singing. Landing on the fencepost they pause, check all is clear, dart to the feeder and back to the post in the blink of an eye. A robin, blue tits, chaffinches. Magpies launch themselves at the fat ball holder, blackbirds peck at fallen seeds. Two pigeons, one fat, one thin, drink from the pond.

Flowers are opening, welcoming the sun. Crocuses, hellebores, cowslip, primroses. The tulips are appearing, still wrapped up tightly.

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Primula vulgaris in the garden

Glossy green leaves of the Laurel gleam in the shining sunlight.

The first giant bumblebee of the year buzzes past my ear.

Frog spawn wobbles in the pond and we stop to watch two woodpeckers on our walk.

Spring is here. The seasons roll on.

Wishing you all good health and peace.

 

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Spying a heron when out for a walk.

 

 

I am reading ‘The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland’ by Catherine M.Valentine

Flowers · Houseplants · Latin names

Word Webs

I am, I confess, a fair weather gardener. This does make me appreciate the good days even more though.

On wet, dreary, dare I say dreich, days I’m more inclined to be inside but there’s one thing I do know, learning about gardening will never end. There’s always something to discover. Each day is a new opportunity.

When I was a child I watched ‘Beechgrove Garden’ and ‘Gardeners’ World’. As the beauty of the flowers filled the screen their name was listed at the bottom. Not once but twice. The common and the Latin name. The presenters would effortlessly reel off these unusual names and I would listen, unaware that years later I would begin to attempt to learn them myself.

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The mother plant! Chlorophytum comosum

I have a Twitter account and have already stated my intention to learn some Latin names for plants. Apparently if you share an aim with someone it makes you more likely to achieve it. Here’s hoping.

Already I have been encouraged. Watching Monty Don on ‘Gardeners’ World’, he explained how the name for Sedum had been changed to Hylotelephium – this was one of the (as yet few) names I had already learned.

The days may be dark and cold outside but there’s always something to learn and this way I can combine my love of language and gardening. What a winter treat.

 

 

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All these came from the plant above and there’s a few spiderettes to plant out yet!

 

At the moment I am reading, ‘The Cabaret of Plants’ by Richard Mabey – slowly. I’m not very fast at reading non-fiction!

Books · Flowers · Houseplants · Resolutions

Peace

 

 

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Peace Lily – Spathiphyllum wallisii

Happy New Year to you, your family and friends!

I haven’t been out in the garden much recently. Instead I’ve been doing lots of looking out of the window and thinking about garden jobs for the Spring.

Mostly I’ve been enjoying our houseplants as they bring us happiness with their beauty and health giving properties.

During the past year I made a resolution to learn the Latin names for plants in our garden. Well I’m hoping to keep that up and am extending it to some houseplants. This beautiful Peace Lily has the Latin name Spathiphyllum wallisii.

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Amaryllis

Like the Amaryllis flower pictured here, my New Year’s Resolutions are emerging slowly. I began with ‘I’d like to read more’ and now I’ve added ‘I’d like to write more’.

I know I am supposed to make ‘SMART’ targets so the next thing I need to do will be to break down these resolutions and put time scales etc next to them. That may come later, for now, I’m just going to pick up a book and enjoy reading.

Whatever and however you do your New Year’s Resolutions, I wish you well.

 

 

 

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Molly at the top of Bennachie

 

At the moment I am reading ‘Girl, Woman, Other’ by Bernardine Evaristo (with maybe one or two other books alongside!)

Birds · Fairies · Seasons

A Winter’s Ramble

Yesterday I wrote this blog post and then thought, with so much going on in the UK at the moment my wee blog seems more insignificant than ever. Then I read the news on the BBC website this afternoon and saw this small item. ‘Cottingley Fairies Hoax Photo Sells for £1,000.’ Talk about coincidences. So, it may be a ramble and a potter along but here’s something different to read.

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This year the holly tree in our garden has an abundance of berries. Does this mean it will be a hard winter ahead? Has Nature made her preparations to feed the birds? Blackbirds, blue tits and wrens among others are swooping into our garden and like them my mind flutters, darting here and there.

 

The Latin name for holly is Ilex aquifolium. I’ve been trying to learn the Latin names for some of the flowers and trees in our garden using this beautiful book.

As I search for it on the bookshelves I see Cicely Mary Barker’s  book of ‘Flower Fairies’ and cannot resist looking up ‘The Song of the Holly Fairy.’

This reminds me of a book I found in a second hand sale this year, ‘Airs and Graces’ by Erica James. In it she uses the poems of the flower fairies as epigraphs.

A distant memory from childhood finds me looking up the Cottingley Fairy photographs. Taken over a hundred years ago, some were recently put up for sale. Although the photos were fake, one of the girls always maintained the final one was genuine.

Who knows? In this time of dark winter days perhaps we need the magical and the fantasy world. It is a time for enjoying the music and dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Time to tuck up with a good book.

First though, I’m going to make sure our new pond isn’t frozen so the birds can have a bath and refill the bird feeders. Just in case there aren’t enough berries.