This week the Lens-Artist challenge suggests that in addition to their challenge, we link to some of the other creative opportunities our fellow bloggers make available. Cee does a wonderful job keeping us all up-to-date with the current challenges. So I have chosen two of her challenges to link to this week. First her CBWC challenge and this week’s topic is “birds”.
While birds can bring lots of colour into our gardens we can also appreciate their beauty in black and white.
The second of Cee challenges is her flower of the day (FOTD) challenge. In Ireland, it is mid-winter and really we shouldn’t be finding any flowers around. But I photographed this meadow buttercup, the essence of a summer meadow flower, on the 1st January.
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.