Saturday, 19 September 2009

Down at the bottom of the garden...

One of the (admittedly several) reasons we fell in love with the house was the field and row of trees at the bottom of the gardens on our section of the road (our road being an L-shape most of the residents are unlucky enough to back on to other houses).

The trees block the view of the houses on the other side of the field (except in winter), provide us with squirrels, birds, insects and lots of little tree seedlings. Mostly these are norway maples and we have a lovely little collection in pots at the moment.

Unfortunately they seem to do better when they haven't been moved, like this one growing in the gravel next to the house wall. Unfortunately it's going to have to be dug up before the builder arrives in a couple of weeks to put in french doors and I don't like our chances of extracting its roots.

We're very lucky in that some of the trees directly backing onto our garden are elms. Although there is actually an Exeter elm my father ruled that out when trying to identify them and they remain unidentified. Three of the trees at the bottom are dead. I assume that they are elms, but confess have never tried to identify them. Unfortunately one keeled over in the wind and landed on our back fence a few days ago.

Luckily the tree is not too heavy and didn't bring down the fence that Ian and my father put up last year.

Technically the removal of the tree is a job for the council, but our council are a little 'chain-saw-happy' and I fear that they would remove a lot more than just this tree if we called them in. The slow worm family also live around the roots of the tree so we'll have to be very careful when dealing with it.

Friday, 18 September 2009

The unknown plant/shrub

I found this plant/shrub in my wildflower border last year. It grew rather large (as you can see from the first photo) so I moved it to the border next to the back fence. My attempts to identify it have failed, but it now has some rather distinctive flowers.

Coincidentally my father who lives about 250 miles away also has the same unknown plant in his garden (also flowering for the first time this year).

Does anyone have any idea what it is please?

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Fruit and nuts

Although we do have a few trees actually in the ground in our garden the majority are currently living in pots. I, or other members of my family, have grown most of them from seed and they currently range from a one inch tall norway spruce to a two foot tall horse chestnut. There will, however, come a time when all these trees need a new home. Hopefully we shall own some land by then. Fingers crossed.

Most of the trees are native species, but I do have a number of others, the majority of which are fruit or nut trees.

These pear and apricot trees were grown from seed.

I do hope that they produce edible fruit, but the majority of fruit trees being grafted these days they probably won't taste anything like the fruit that they came from.

This damson was bought from a garden center (I haven't seen damsons in the shops for years and therefore couldn't grow one from seed). It produced a single fruit for the first time this year:

Ian's grandad gave us this grape:

Pretty much all the white mulberry seeds I bought from Nicky's Nursery germinated, but my black mulberries from the New Forest Otter and Owl Center have yet to germinate:

This is an almond I grew from a nut in one of those big multipacks of nuts that they sell in supermarkets at Christmas.

I also tried growing walnuts at the same time, but although they germinated they went mouldy before the seedling made it to the surface. Will have to try again this Christmas.

These varieties of walnut are more exotic and therefore bought as seedlings:

White walnut or butternut.


I particularly like that the heartnut is supposed to readily split into two halves.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Migrant hawker

The pair of migrant hawkers returned for several hours today. This is the male:

As you can see he was not at all bothered by my presence:

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

In the garden

Today Ian spotted two hawker dragonflies hawking over the garden and I was lucky enough to catch this female migrant hawker when it settled on a fence post:

Inspired by the dragonflies I decided to have a good root around the garden to see what wildlife I could find. The nettles at the bottom of the garden have been well and truly munched by these caterpillars of the comma butterfly

one of which had already formed a chrysalis:

We've kept a pile of logs and broken fence panel slats near the pond for nearly a year now in the hope that reptiles and amphibians would hide underneath. Until now we've only been rewarded with slugs, but today we were pleased to find an adult slow worm - the first we've seen this year: