My Patch – A Garden update: June & July

When I last wrote about the garden on May 27th it was still looking rather unloved, as you can see over the summer it has been developing rather well 🙂 

I was concerned that I would only have a sparse covering of wildflowers this year, I was partially right.  Now I planted half of the garden a few weeks before the other half and with a different brand of seeds, so, there are a lot of variables to take into account.  The part I planted first really took hold and is full of greenery with some flowers in bloom.  The other half, well, its more soil than it is greenery!  Some ‘things’ have grown under the roses but I’m fairly sure they have naturally occurred and are not what I sowed.  I have left them as at least its vegetation protecting the soil from the intense heat – I am yet to investigate what they actually are, mainly because they are all leaf!

As plants have been flowering I have been taking photos and doing my best to identify them, so far I think I have: Red Dead-nettle, Great Willowherb, Love-in-a-mist, Corncockle, Cornflower and Hollyhock.

and lots that I still don’t know what they are!

The stinging nettles haven’t come through the fence as much as I thought they would, so have not been too much of a problem, but the ivy is starting to come in again and bind weed has been untangled from a sunflower!  The Velvet Queen sunflowers are doing really well and are still flowering.  

The sunflower seeds that I sowed back at the beginning of June have grown into strong plants and have been planted out into the garden, I actually had more than I expected and a few are in pots.  The birds have also been helping to grow sunflowers and I had two spring up that are doing really well, other smaller ones have been eaten by the slugs and snails.  To help with this issue I ‘collected’ the snails that I could find and took them on vacation; out into the field! 

What I have noticed about the garden is the section by the pond is in a lot more shaded than I initially thought it would be, this could be part of the reason why there is very little growth occurring there.  Next year I either need to sow plants earlier or I need to make sure that only shade loving plants are put there.  I’m not sure what route to take yet, I want to see what they do during what’s left of the Summer/Autumn. 

I have also relocated all of the pots to one location in the garden, it makes them easier to water and also adds more greenery to the borderless sections.  I have a few plans for developing it further next year to add more flowering plants and already have a very small lavender that is destined for one of the currently empty pots! 

One of the things I like about working in the garden is the sense of achieving something. If it’s 10 mins looking after the tomatoes or 15 putting supports in for some of the flowers you can see what you have done. After a long day at work feeling like you have been wading through mud it’s nice to have a sense of achievement at the end of the day. 

30 Days Wild 2018 – Day 19

I was stuck at work a little late tonight, so for 30 Days Wild I headed out into the garden for 20 minutes and rep- potted the three remaining tomato plants that were still in their seedling pots. I now have a collection of 13 plants dotted around the garden that I’m hoping I can keep alive! and have lots of tomatoes over the summer 🙂

The sunflowers that I planted on Day 04 have grown to a great size in 2 weeks. I’ve potted them on and staked them with sticks that broke off the tree in high winds. I’m going to wait to put them into the garden until they are much bigger in the hope that the snails won’t eat them!

30 Days Wild 2018 – Day 12

In the 30 Days Wild pack this year Wildlife Trusts kindly provided a bio-degradable paper full of wildflower seeds.  If you have been reading my ‘Patch – Garden’ posts this year you will know that I have been granted permission to add a little bit of ‘wild’ back to it.  I sowed seeds back in May and they have now started to grow.  I do have a few patches where the seeds didn’t germinate so today I have sowed the seeds provided.  I’m hoping by the end of August all the flowers will have matured and there is a border of wildflowers.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to sow them all at once back in May, so I think there will be a gradual flowering along the border as they mature.  Of course I could say I did this intentionally so that the pollinators have more flowers in bloom for a longer period over the summer 🙂

30 Days Wild 2018 – Day 04

This evening I sowed more sunflower seeds, I did have about 8 plants… until the snails ate them!

I decided I would plant shelled seeds and un-shelled seeds just to see what happens.  Now I wasn’t sure if I should plant the seeds standing up or sideways, I decided on sideways as I wasn’t sure which way was up! 

I stole the seeds from the bird food – they seem to be able to grow them quite successfully under the bird feeder so I thought I can’t go too wrong!  I’m hoping they will start spouting in the next couple of weeks.  Then all I need to do is protect them from the snails and all will be fine!  I want to plant sunflowers all along the fence, so that once they go over the birds will be able to help themselves to the seeds in Autumn. 

 

30 Days Wild 2018 – Day 03

After the blue tits fledged yesterday I thought I’d sit in the garden this morning and see who else was about. Unfortunately we believe ‘nest box 1’ fledged early this morning and some if not all were predated by magpies. 4 magpies were seen in the tree chasing something and we can only assume it was the blue tit chicks. There has been no feeding flights to the box and no chirping coming from it. We just have to hope at least some survived. 

I didn’t time my bird count today, though I was watching for over an hour. I saw:

1 robin, 3 great tit, 2 blue tit, 2 woodpigeon, 2 blackbird (1 juvenile) 1 greenfinch, 2 goldfinch, 1 dunnock and 2 white dove

The robin has a pattern to his garden visits.  He lands on the corner of the garden shed, fly’s to the bird bath, and then either on to the feeders or the floor.  He followed this pattern on 4 out of 5 visits.   I haven’t seen any of the fledgling blue tits 🙁 

30 Days Wild 2018 – Day 02

Last year we had one nest box in the garden and blue tits nested.  This year we have two nest boxes, and blue tits nested in both. Today the chicks in ‘nest box 2’ FLEDGED 🙂 I was lucky enough to sit and watch 5 little ones take the leap. 

Nesting started back on April 14th with the collection of nesting material.  As soon as we see them start to use the nest box we put up extra nesting material so they don’t have to use up too much energy going to find it.  They seemed to like the sheeps wool more than the moss this year.  

We first noticed them taking in food on May 10th so they have been feeding the chicks for roughly 22 days.  We didn’t look inside the nest box, as to open the boxes we have to take the sides off so there was no way I was going to chance disrupting them.  So, we have no real way of knowing exactly how many fledged today, but at least we know there were definitely 5.  I am hoping to see more of them in the garden but they did disperse quite quickly.  

I have heard the chicks chirping in ‘nest box 1’, looking at my spread sheet of data they started to feed their chicks two days later than ‘nest box 2’ so they could also fledge any day 🙂

My Patch – A Garden update

The garden has started to develop a little, its unfortunate that we had so much rain at the start of spring as it was difficult to get out and work on it, but with our recent sunny spell its improved considerably. The snowdrops turned green so I have relocated a few of them underneath the hazel tree. There are lesser celandine and bluebells too so I am going to turn the area into a very small woodland and plant winter / early spring flowers around the dogs graves. 

The raised bed has been dug over and some of the ivy roots removed – the ones that would come out! The roses have been relocated slightly, they were at the front of the bed which meant it was difficult to tend, so they have been located closer together and fill a patch of their own.  Through the middle of the roses there is now a brick path to the fence, solely so plants don’t get trodden on when the trailcam is attached to the fence post! The fence has been jet washed and treated. The wildflower seeds have been sown – some are already sprouting 🙂

Before starting a proper plan for the garden I thought I ought to look up plants that are poisonous to cats and dogs.  I never knew ivy or cyclamen were harmful to them.  Seeing there are both already in the garden I checked with the owner what his thoughts were.  Seeing they have been there for years and there has never been any ill effect he is happy for them to stay.  I will however be checking anything I plan on planting first as I would hate to cause any harm to the furry residents!

I now have a rough plan for the garden but it is likely to adapt as time goes on and I learn what I am meant to be doing!  As you can see from the below, I plan on keeping the ivy on the outside of the fence away from the dogs but still accessible for insects.  There is going to be a very small pond area in the corner near the ‘woodland’ with a frogaloo next to it.  Next to the bird feeders will be a viburnum that will eventually grow large enough to offer a lot of cover for the birds.  The rest of the flower beds will hopefully be covered in wildflowers – though I am expecting it to be a sparse covering this year. I am however slightly worried about the grasses and stinging nettles that might appear from the other side of the fence and take over! so I will have to keep a close eye on what grows.