Regular readers will know I have written before about our Robin Friend. One great advantage of having a robin that is near-tame is that he allows us to get up real close. He was quite comfortable to preen away, with me standing right beneath him.
We have snow forecast for the end of the week, but it may not get this far west. Meanwhile spring continues to show her face.
1. Crocus, the yellow ones always bring a little bit of spring sunshine even on a grey day.
2. Willow catkins. This one is Salix x rubra I think. Always the first to show. And in recent years it seems to be coming out earlier than ever. I like the willows to be of use to emerging queen bumblebees – but this one is too early now.
3. Daffodil. Just two blooms so far. But more on the way.
4. Robin friend has already teamed up with a mate, but still comes for meal worms. We have also discovered that it likes raisins which we had left out for the blackbirds.
5. The bird feeders remain busy.
6. We have been doing quite a bit of apple and pear tree pruning. In some circumstances being quite extreme. Hoping for more fruit this year.
The weather continues cool and cloudy. It started off lovely and sunny this morning but clouded over. We are hoping for a bit more sun later. Meanwhile in the garden all the young birds are keeping us entertained. There are young blackbirds, swallows, goldfinches, robins, dunnocks and these little wrens. Four are squeezed into this little box which the kids painted years ago. Every time an adult comes with food they are poking their heads out!
2. Next this week is alliums – little ones. There are a few just coming out.
3. Yarrow with hoverfly.
4. A rather wet nasturtium.
5. I love the blue flowers of hyssop.
6. The blackbirds have found the Logan and Tayberries too, but we have managed to pick some. They just need a bit of sunshine to sweeten up.
How did we get to May so quickly? It is a busy time in the garden, there is lots to plant but also lots to enjoy. So here are this week’s six on Saturday.
Chaffinches, along with goldfinches and bullfinches are enjoying the dandelion seeds on the lawn.
2. You may remember I posted the autumn olive last week. It has been buzzing with bees, but today we also had a couple of butterflies feeding on it, including this little bit worse-for-wear red admiral.
3. I am struggling this year with getting vegetable seeds to germinate successfully, particularly lettuce and brassicas. I managed to get my hands on some new seed on Friday, so I am hoping for better results.
4. One thing that has germinate well is the runner beans. They are ready to go out but I am little worried that it is too early. Last year we had a frost in early May. Will hold off for a few more days.
5. Herbs in the greenhouse and poly are doing well and I just enjoyed my first cup of fresh chamomile tea. Also in the photo is chevil, now with it’s pretty delicate white flower.
6. And finally bog bean. Another one of our native pond plants. I had to take quite a bit out last winter because it was taking over a bit but it has such a petty flower.
So for my final “six on Saturday ” for 2019, which special thanks to the Propagator for hosting.
Some of you may have already noticed this robin cropping up in my previous posts. It is a very brave little fellow and is now regularly taking food from my daughter’s hand.
2. Bargains – I love bargains. I got a big bag of Japanese onions for just one euro on sale. I know it is late to be putting them in, but I have planted quite a few in polytunnel and I am hoping they will do there. It is just too wet to get anything outside.
3. My second bargain was some bulbs – I got daffs and these which weren’t labelled (but I am pretty sure they are crocus). So it will be very much pot luck as to what comes up.
4. And in the garden daffodil bulbs beginning to show. While it has been a very wet winter here, it has been pretty mild most of the time.
5. In the polytunnel some of the pot marigolds are still in flower.
6. And finally my new hot composter called a hotbin composter. It is an insulated compost bin that is supposed to be much faster than traditional bin as it heats waste by up to 60°c. We’re setting it up in the greenhouse for the winter at least.
Thank you to all those who have followed my six on Saturday garden posts during the year. Here’s to a great gardening year for 2020.
Santa was very kind and brought me a new lens (40-150mm) for my camera. So I have been trying it out and am very happy. The garden birds are great subjects – if you can get close enough.
The bird feeder is a great place to get them. We take part in the garden bird survey every year which is hosted by Bird Watch Irelandand record the birds in our garden from December to February. Many counties have similar citizen science surveys (e.g. RSPB in the UK).
Our friendly robin is an even better subject, because we can get really close.
This chaffinch I photographed through the kitchen window.
Regular readers may have read my previous post about the wren fledgling. The photo below is a wren’s nest, and the very reason why you shouldn’t get rid of the moss on your lawn.
Male wrens build a couple of nest at the start of the breeding season and the female decides which one she wishes to lay her eggs in. This year, our resident female chose the one the male had built in the old swallow’s nest. It appears to have been a good choice, as we found this one in the middle of a comprey plant. Heavy rain had caused the tall comprey stems to fall over, exposing the nest.
We’ve been experiencing a lot of dark, grey, wet and windy days. So no hope of getting out in the garden. It’s frustrating but an inevitable part of this time of year.
We have started feeding the birds again and I have been delighted to find my seven year old son taking an extra interest in them this year. We’ve started doing the Annual Garden Bird Survey for BirdWatch Ireland. We’ve also been learning about birds in our local ladybird girl guide group (like girl scouts). So I ended up online looking for some resources. It got me thinking about children and nature and our role as adults in passing on the wonders of the nature world to the younger generation.
I’ve decided therefore to look at doing another wordpress blog promoting this idea. I know wordpress isn’t a place children will automatically go to but it is a place where people with all sorts of passions go. So perhaps those of us that are passionate about our kids and about nature can use it as a tool. The site is called naturekids.
I invite you all to check out what is a very fledgling site. I would welcome any ideas or suggestions you may have. My first post is on Garden Birds.