Archive of posts from May 2008

More beautiful summer blooms

For Christmas V bought me some native roses and I’ve been really pleased to see that the plants have done so well in just their first year. Almost all of the plants have flowered and the scent has been great. Burnet rose flower (Rosa pimpinellifolia) The native plants in the pond have also been in full flower: Ragged-robin flowers (Lychnis flos-cuculi) Water Avens flowers (Geum rivale) Read on

Water-crowfoot in flower

The water-crowfoot (Ranunculus aquatilis) has done really well in the pond this year. The plants have expanded considerably across the surface and produced a wonderful carpet of flowers. Water-crowfoot in flower Read on

Great tits in the garden

We’ve been seeing an increasing number of birds in the garden recently (a blackbird and once again the starlings are nesting in our roof, the chicks hatched this week I think). I think this is partly due to the food we’re putting out but also the fact that the trees we planted are starting to provide a bit more cover. I popped out into the garden before work this morning and was pleased to see... Read on

Blackbird in the garden

Over the last few days I’ve noticed a blackbird (Turdus merula) in the garden. In a lot of places I suspect this isn’t a very notable event but we’ve had so few birds in the garden since we bought the house that it’s good news for us. We’ve been working quite hard on encouraging birds into the garden so hopefully the regular visits by this male blackbird are a good sign: Read on

Tadpole update 5

This evening we released our first froglet. The spawn came from our pond on the the 23rd February so it’s taken 73 days for the first frog to go from spawn to froglet. Here is the first froglet to be released into the wild: …and here’s the froglet sculling across the pond after release: Read on

A good year for water measurers?

When we first built the pond in 2005 one of the early visitors was a water measurer (Hydrometra stagnorum). I assumed it came in on a plant but could easily have flown to the pond. Over the last two years I’ve only seen one or two a year. They run across the surface film and feed on mosquito larvae which they spear from above with their mouthparts. However, over the Bank Holiday weekend I saw... Read on

The garden bench – stage 2

I’ve now done a bit more work on the bench. Predominantly I’ve focused on building a back to it. To do this I used the old wood left behind by the previous owners of the house, set this in an upright position and concreted it in place. I’m actually pretty pleased with how the bench has developed, i’ve just got to give it a bit of a sanding and it’s finished. It’s not the prettiest... Read on

Creating a wildflower meadow

You may remember that, a few days ago, I mentioned tidying up the left-hand side of our garden. This area I plan to turn into a wildflower meadow. I’ve not been able to get this started as early in the year as I’d hoped but, as we’re still (just about) in spring, I thought it worth a go anyway. I’ve cleared this area of all the old wood (left behind by the previous owners) and... Read on

A new butterfly in the garden

I’m always pleased when we get a new butterfly species visit the garden. I was especially pleased to see this individual. It’s a Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus) and although it’s quite common it’s a very welcome visitor to our garden. Apologies for the poor photo but it insisted in feeding at the top of our Rowan tree and this was the best I could manage. Read on

First damselfly and dragonfly of the year

The weather has been quite warm this weekend (residents in the UK will note that this is unusual) and this has encouraged some of the damselfly and dragonfly nymphs in the pond to emerge and make their final moults. This was the first damselfly we spotted this year. It’s hard to tell what species it is until they’ve had a chance to develop their adult colours but I almost positive it’s a large red damselfly... Read on

Slow worms full of the joys of spring

When I lifted the old carpet off our compost heap today I found this fantastic pair of slow worms (Anguis fragilis). The lower of the two definitely looks quite fat and a bit lumpy to me so I suspect it’s a female and she’s pregnant. Slow worms carry their young within their bodies and the young are born live covered by a thin membrane which they quickly break open. We’ve had young slow worms in... Read on

Tadpole update 4 – the move onto land

After spotting the first tadpoles with front legs yesterday, I decided to put some wood into the tank this evening so they could climb out of the water if they wanted. It turns out that they were pretty keen… no sooner had I put the wood in than this little fellow hopped out onto it: Once his tail has started to shrink we’ll release the froglet into the pond. Read on

First vegetables planted

This weekend I planted the first of our vegetables. In the main veg beds I planted the climbing French beans, the runner beans, sweetcorn, leaks and onions. I also planted the Scallopini squash and some courgettes in the other veg bed. We’ve still plenty of seedlings coming through in the greenhouse and some of the plants are getting quite big now: Compare the above to how the seedlings looked in mid-April. Read on

Bristol in bloom

OK, so the title might be a bit grand but the warm weather we’ve had recently has really helped the flowers in the garden. Almost everywhere you look there are flowers or buds about to burst. One flower I really like to see at this time of year is the Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris). It has masses of beautiful yellow flowers: Not to be out-done, the Bog Bean (Menyanthes trifoliata) in the pond is also... Read on

Tadpole update 3

When I got up this morning I discovered that some of the common frog tadpoles (Rana temporaria) in the tank have now got front legs as well as back legs. If I remember my biology properly I think the front legs develop inside pouches down the side of the tadpole and then pop out. The back legs develop externally and so their progress is more gradual. Read on