Thursday, 27 June 2013

Garden Developments June 2013

Following on from the deluge of 2012 we have drained the main path in the kitchen garden, raised the growing beds and as a result the crops this year look very healthy indeed.
During 2012 we finished planting the 60 trees in the Jubilee Plantation for HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and we are now doing further work around the pond and with other dominant plantings in that area.
In the main garden the Shade Garden behind the garage/potting shed is now fully planted with plants gradually establishing and the Mediterranean Border is taking shape with colourful new additions.
At the far end of the orchard a new Gabriel Ash plant house has been erected which really blends into its surroundings perfectly. This is heated and during this spring has provided welcome extra capacity for the raising of young vegetable and flowering plants. It has been fitted out with ‘Two Wests and Elliott’ commercial metal staging plus a good-sized propagator. Under the floor we have excavated a large pit which will act as a heat-store by day and at night the cooler night-time air will be pumped through it, emerging warmer to benefit overnight temperatures. We have two bio electric fan heaters to act as a back-up during colder spells.

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Wildlife Summer update

Despite the very late spring bird activity in the garden has been busy with several blackbird nests in bushes, climbers and even Liz’s Bay Tree! Blue Tits nested high up in their favourite tiny hole in our garden wall and elsewhere ducks, thrushes and robins have been hatching out.
We even encountered a heron standing on the garage roof for nearly 30 minutes one morning recently, had a swan fly overhead the day before and swallows have once again reared a family in the roof of the potting shed/garage.

Curlews are frequent visitors to adjacent fields and hares and deer are seen on many days.
In the garden we have frogs and toads which are good at pest control and Liz’s many bird feeders draw a wide variety of visitors at all times including nuthatch, coal, blue and great tits, bullfinches and greenfinches plus more sparrows once again this year.

Recently we have been serenaded with a male blackbird and a lovely song thrush during the long evenings.

I am now the Gardening Correspondent for ‘The Yorkshire Times’ on-line newspaper. Please see articles under lifestyle section.

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Thursday, 12 August 2010

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After the lengthy drought the garden is now fully refreshed with everything showing new growth and the birds busy picking off the insects, especially in the vegetable garden where several blackbirds are regular visitors. A large Pyracantha (Firethorn) behind the kitchen is a popular spot for Blue Tits who pick off the numerous aphids as tasty morsels. Very effective pest control!

We have heard the Song Thrush busy at work smashing snail shells and found the evidence later and this morning we discovered the discarded remains of a possible blackbird on the side doorstep to the french door, where we think a bird of prey had caught it and dissected it. It was certainly very methodically done.

A stray rabbit managed to get into the vegetable plot in July but we soon found the gap in the new fence at a gate bottom, so have protected this temporarily with a wire mesh grating held in place by small posts but in winter I will lay a solid sandstone slab across the gateway and fix another timber to the gate bottom so as it just clears the stone slab with no space for a rabbit to get underneath.

We regularly see young deer in the field below Horseshoe Wood at Waddow Hall and the other night our elderly labrador managed to spot one at dusk when even I had a job to see it. Although over 12 years old there is nothing wrong with her long distance sight.

The new pond in the wildlife meadow has remained dry all summer so we are considering putting in a membrane if we are unable to puddle it.

We have noticed a distinct shortage of honey bees in the garden but plenty of bumblebees and hover flies with the odd wasp showing itself on Spanish Angelica flower heads. The new additions to the garden such as Borage, Verbena bonariensis, extra Achillea and Phlox have all been welcomed by the various pollinating insects. We nbow have plants of Aster (Michaelmas Daisy), Crocosmia (Monbretia) and Tricyrtis (Toad Lily) all budding up for autumn plus plenty of Sedum both in the border and on the new raised alpine bed.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Progress in the garden at Waddow

At long last the drought has broken with 16mm (0.6 in) over the last two days with the volcanic ash and pollen dust washed from the greenhouse roof.

We have had at least three families of robins raised in the garden this spring, one perched betweek two trays of young fern plants awaiting (delayed) planting and another in the top of a sack containing used flower pots where a 1 litre pot was on its side giving an effective roof to the nest. The newly cultivated soil for sowing the vegetable seeds in the new kitchen garden gave up many tasty morsels to be taken to the young chicks.

In mid April we had a visit from a Tree Creeper visiting an old oak tree at the bottom of the garden and after exploring each tree it flew onto the next announcing its arrival with a shrill call before setting to work finding insects in the deep crevices of the bark.

The bird feeders have been well used and in the drought bowls of water have been regularly replenished. A Nut Hatch has been a frequent visitor plus many types of tits and finches as well as robins and sparrows. A couple of ducks tried to gain access to the small garden pond but we have had to discourage them with wire netting in order to protect the young tadpoles as we lost five members of our frog population in last winter's freeze. A week ago two young frogs were found hopping around when we cleared up the yard so they were safely transferred to the pond in the heatwave.

The newly planted raised alpine bed made of stone is proving an attraction for small birds looking for insects in the stone crevices and yesterday I saw a sparrow collecting strands of hair from our dog that were lodged in the wall, presumably for a new nest.

Recent plantings have included old pieces of old decaying timber in order to encourage beetles and other wood eating insects.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Signs of spring Waddow Lodge

On 20th February we saw our first Curlew of the season - all 22 of them! They seemed to navigate by aiming for Horseshoe Wood at Waddow Hall and then carried on up the valley towards Gisburn.
Also a family of deer spotted below Horseshoe Wood, 2 adults, 3 young plus an attendant hare.
Plenty of bird life with feeders being replenished several times per week.

New rose border being dug ready for planting and the fence around the new fruit and veg garden is going in mid March.

Snowdrops are looking their best ever. Also Witch Hazel in full flower with Snowflakes (Leucojum) now out as well.

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