A very happy festive season to you all. May you find joy and pleasure in the simple delights, family and friends.
Even in winter we can find much to celebrate in nature. Our friendly robin greets us each morning looking for breakfast.
And many other garden birds can be seen at the feeders, or queuing up for them.
Most of the leaves have fallen now but even on the ground they still look beautiful.
Some trees, though striped of leaves, are covered in interesting lichens and colourful berries.
While many greens are gone others can be found – like this very healthy and vibrant moss.
Grasses and reeds, while brown, still have interesting seed heads
And on those calm bright winter days we can still enjoy that lovely winter light – even if its length is very short.
Winter too is a time of reflection, for remembering those gone before us, and thinking of those left behind.
This week our weather still remains cool and changeable. Our Robin friend is run-ragged (literally) collecting grubs and worms for what I assume is a nest full of chicks. He enjoyed searching in some soil that I was turning over today. He appears to have a preference for grubs, including leatherjackets (though one was left behind as I think it was just too big) over worms. The fork handle proved to be an excellent spotting post.
Second this week are bumblebees. Numbers are increasing slowly with plenty queen bees still around. The kale flowers are proving popular as always. I try to leave some kale and other brassicas to flower each year as a bee food.
Third this week, is red campion. I love this wildflower as it adds so much colour to an area under a hedgerow, not far from the kitchen window.
Fourth this week are Rowan flowers.
Perennials are a little behind this year but the lupins are not far off flowering now.
And finally this week sage . This one is in the greenhouse. It will be a couple of weeks before the outside ones have flowers.
Thank you to The Propagator for hosting Six on Saturday.
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.
Inspired by this week’s Lens-artist Challenge and of course Robin-friend himself.
Another lovely spring day after a cold week. So busy day clearing weeds today.
- This is one of robin’s friend’s favourite places.
2. A new bird box built by my son in his woodwork class last term. Already being inspected by blue tits.
3. Willow catkins. Great for bumblebees. We saw our first bee last Sunday, then no more till another one today. Haven’t managed to get photo yet though.
4. One of my favourite spring flowers – primroses.
5. The larger daffs are all opening too now.
6. It is so nice to see fresh green shoots emerging.
Thank you to The Propagator for hosting Six on Saturday.
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.
Finally a dry Saturday and time to get out into the garden. Lots and lots of tidying up to do.
So first this week Worcester berries V Juvenile blackbird. A few weeks ago I posted about the still green Worcester berries. Well they are ripening nicely, but the juvenile blackbirds that was helping itself to blackcurrants last week, also appears to have a taste for Worcester berries. We picked about half a pound today for ourselves and hoping that we can harvest some more that still need a few days to ripen before the blackbird eats them all!
2. Meanwhile Robin friend (my daughter’s name for our friendly robin who will feed from her hand), appears exhausted after his/her brood has successfully fledged. We’ve seen it with two young ones. Here it was having a peaceful preen away from hectic family life.
3. Bee numbers are definitely down after a few miserable weeks but this garden bumble bee was enjoying what remains of the foxgloves.
4. Some of the self-seeded borage is now flowering in the vegetable patch and these always prove popular with the bees too.
5. Gypsophila – looking nice in a pot with some other flowers.
6. And finally for this week some brassicas – a mix of red cabbage and brussel sprouts plants which have enjoyed the rain.
Thanks to The Propagator for hosting Six on Saturday.
One advantage with being in lock-down is there is no where to go but the garden, so work begun today clearing vegetable beds of weeds. The weather is still pretty cool so I am struggling getting things germinated. I was trying to be optimistic today and planted some radishes and mustard greens outside in one of the newly prepared beds.
- Meanwhile we enjoyed some purple sprouting broccoli for dinner.
2. The false quince has some flowers but not many – I hope more will appear.
3. Meanwhile in the greenhouse, the comfrey plant that grows there is just starting to flower.
4. In the garden the crab apple is leafing up and it is still one of our friendly robin’s favourite trees.
5. Under the willow tree, the wild garlic is coming on nicely and we should have flowers soon.
6. And finally the drumstick primrose is doing it’s thing too.
Red isn’t the commonest colour in nature – but here are just a few examples. Firstly the Red Admiral butterfly – more brown and black than red, but still a striking beauty.
Secondly, a goldfinch. Not exactly gold – why it wasn’t called a red faced finch I do not know as that is one of it’s most striking characteristics. These finches come to the bird feeders only a couple of times a day. Which is probably just as well as they are feisty little fellows, and they try and keep the other birds away while they are there.
Next our cheeky robin friend. Here in Ireland robin’s are sometimes called Robin Red Breasts.
This is a sundew. A tiny, but extraordinary plant that grows in our bogs. Those sticky leaves, traps insects and then digest them!
And finally Robin’s pincushion. Nothing to do with robins, it is in fact a rose bedeguar gall, formed when a gall wasp lays her eggs, usually on a wild rose stem. When the grubs hatch they produce a chemical which produces this abnormal growth.
Inspired by this week’s Len artist photo challenge – find something red