Saturday, 24 May 2008

Reptiles and Amphibians

Yesterday evening I sat down by the pond and realised that for the first time it was clear enough to see right to the bottom. In the past it has been very murky and we've barely been able to see the bottom of the shallow shelves we created round the sides of the pond, never mind the bottom of the pond itself. I was very pleased to see that the oxygenating plants had established themselves really well and even more pleased to see both mr and mrs newt (for the first time since we released them).

Today I sat down to look for the newts again. It took a few seconds before movement on the other side of the pond caught my eye and I realised that I was in the company of an adult slow worm. She spent around 30 minutes in the pond after we discovered her and then showed attempts to get out, which failed so we gave her a helping hand. I say we because Ian fished her out first and then five minutes later she managed to fall back in so then it was my turn. After getting out for the second time she proceeded to slither off into the undergrowth, via the underside of Ians shoe. I have that on video, but suspect it's too large to upload onto the web.

You can see that this slow worm actually has a tail (unlike the last adult we had in the pond).

Friday, 23 May 2008

Bricks and more bricks

A view from the study window showing our new design...

The almost circular area in front of the pond will be the lawn. The bricks mark the boundaries of the borders. The path at the bottom doesn't go anywhere yet as we have yet to move the fence backwards a couple of feet.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

The cornfield

I have always loved cornfields and wildflower meadows. Probably my favourite is at Pickerings Pasture alongside the river Mersey

Yesterday I planted our own little cornfield with corn poppies, corn marigolds, cornflowers, corn cockles and ox-eye daisies. It's situated next to the bog garden, the idea being to give lots of cover to anything visiting the pond and to provide a site for insects. The bricks mark the edge of where our new lawn will be.

I have a number of other English wild flowers and intend to plant more meadow on the left hand side of the garden near the pond, but that will have to wait until we have cleared a large area of rubble, fence panels and bricks.

Monday, 12 May 2008

A most welcome visitor

Our first dragonfly of the season arrived today - a male broad-bodied chaser. Until a couple of years ago I had never seen one, so to have one in the garden was fantastic.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Unknown larvae

A couple of days ago I bent down to look at the pond (something I do quite often) and was amazed to see hundreds of little somethings swimming around. They look like tiny little fish and they swim like fish (although most were being carried around by the 'currents' due to their being so light), but presumably the pond being only a few weeks old cannot be fish.

I wonder what they are?

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Scarlet flax

Whilst still living at the flat I planted some seeds in anticipation of having a garden. The nasturtiums were a lovely splash of colour last summer and now the scarlet flax are in full bloom. I'm not even sure where I got the scarlet flax seeds from - they'd been stuck in an envelope from the time I was in York, but they have been spectacular. I shall attempt to collect some seeds from them and plant some more for next year.

Monday, 5 May 2008


I've been meaning to blog about seeds for such a long time. This year I've planted a huge variety of flowers, seeds being a much cheaper way of filling up a practically empty garden than buying plants. Many of them are native wildflowers, but I've also planted lots of my favourite cottage garden flowers - lupins, hollyhocks, delphiniums etc and a few more tropical species too.

On the whole the seed planting has been very successful. We've only lost one tray of seedlings to a dry period whilst we were away and another tray that William managed to knock off the windowsill. A few have failed to sprout and I've found it near-impossible to keep verbascum seedlings alive. Has anyone got any ideas what I might be doing wrong with them?

In April we supplemented our trays of flower seeds with vegetables. Most of these could be planted straight into the ground, but at the time our vegetable patch was not ready. We've been quite adventurous with our vegetable planting. We have the usual cabbages, carrots, beetroot, lettuces etc, but have also planted sweetcorn (Ian's favourite vegetable beside potato) and 3 varieties of pumpkin.

Today we bought some trellis (unlike on the Wirral it appears that garden centres here are open on bank holiday) so that we can grow peas up the side of the house. I'm really looking forward to shelling peas for the first time in years.