Big Butterfly Count

A Red Admiral butterfly kept me company whist I sat outside enjoying the sunshine and my mid morning coffee today. The beautiful creature fluttered from plant to plant seeking nectar to drink and occasionally rested on the lawn enjoying the sunshine just like me I guess. The butterfly above is a Peacock and the Red Admiral is below on the top left of the square picture.

Continue reading Big Butterfly Count

The Big Garden Birdwatch

We are feeding our garden birds everyday now. They like sunflowers seeds and peanuts in particular and we also hang out fat balls and apples for them. Some of the bigger birds such as Crows and Wood Pigeons also visit our birdtables now that food is scarce in the fields, hedgerows and trees and a pair of pheasants like to see what’s fallen to the ground for them.

Smaller birds scatter when the big birds arrive but they don’t stay long and we replenish the food whenever necessary so there’s always something for the little ones to eat. The weather is set to become much colder here so I’ve made a point of topping up the food a couple of times today already. If the birds are well fed they’ll stand a much better chance of surviving in the icy temperatures and biting wind set to arrive tomorrow.

Continue reading The Big Garden Birdwatch

Happy New Year 2017

Happy New Year to You!

I’ve already been thinking about what I’d like for 2017 and as usual I have a long list of places to go, people to see and lots of things I’d like to do. Writing such a huge list always means that I never manage to complete everything on it. Usually that doesn’t worry me at all because it’s easy to carry things over to the following year and I know that sooner or later I’ll make it happen.

We have plans for our garden too. We are planning to rejig a couple of well established borders, remove some old shrubs that are past their best and update a planting scheme or two. My lovely husband will help me. But I’m not kidding myself … I already know that I’ll probably have to carry some less urgent things over until 2018. But there’s something important on my list that just can’t wait.

Continue reading Happy New Year 2017

Wildlife in the Garden

Have you ever noticed how an everyday activity sometimes turns into a magical event? We live in a small village in the North West of England. We’re just on the edge of the village with our garden stretching out into the surrounding countryside. Apart from traffic passing through on the main street it’s a peaceful place. Just the way we like it. Everyday I make a point of walking to our local post box to send orders on their way to my lovely customers.

Continue reading Wildlife in the Garden

Looking Good 1st July

I saw a stunning planting combination today that I wanted to share with you. I wish I could say that this was in my garden. But it’s not… it’s in a neighbourhood garden. Who would have thought that bright pink and yellow could look so good together? The pink flowers with silver foliage are Lychnis coronaria and the yellow spires are Verbascum nigrum. Both are very easy to grow from plants bought from your local nursery or garden centre or they can be grown from seeds. Sowing seeds is the best option if you want a lot of plants to create an amazing display like this.

Verbascum&Lychnis-Collage

I love the pinky purple haired stamens at the centre of each tiny Verbascum flower which picks up the vivid pink of the Lychnis petals.

Verbascum-IG

Unlike most other Verbascums this one doesn’t have silver felted leaves but softly hairy green leaves.

Verbascum&Lychnis

Bees and Hoverflies love this Verbascum as it is rich in nectar and pollen… and so does the Mullein Moth. If you grow a patch of these it’s likely you’ll attract flocks of Goldfinches to feed on the seeds in autumn. It makes sense to grow plenty! Strictly speaking Verbascum nigrim is a short lived perennial but they are often treated as biennials with a fresh batch sown each summer for flowering next year.

Now is the time to sow biennial seeds.
There are several advantages to growing your own biennials:

  • The amount of flowers they produce is amazing and they are great for cut flowers.
  • Early flowering from April onwards
  • Extremely easy to grow and great for massed planting schemes
  • Inexpensive.You can sow several packet of seeds for the price of just one plant in spring.

    It’s worth planning ahead especially if you are starting a cutting patch or simply improving your spring garden. Early flowering plants such as Honesty, Wallflowers, Foxgloves, Forget-me-Not, Sweet Rocket and Sweet William can be sown this summer as well as Verbascum nigrum. If you have space for a seed bed outdoors they can be sown there and left to grow on until autumn. Alternatively they can be raised in modules then moved to small pots ready for planting out when your summer display is over.

Love GillianSo that’s what I’ll be doing this weekend. Sowing biennial seeds Woo Hoo! It’s good to have a plan!

You are most welcome to join in with Looking Good this week.

Do you have gardening plans for this weekend? Hope it’s dry for you! Gillian 🙂

 

Looking Good 22nd April

In spring new life bursts into the open yet despite the exuberance and vigour of all the new growth flower colours are soft and harmonious. In our garden I love the pastel blooms of the first bulbs in shades of lemon, lilac and soft blue. Then we have blossom in all shades of pink and cream plus fresh white of course. Usually new leaves are a fresh shade of lime green which sets it all off beautifully. I love spring!

Continue reading Looking Good 22nd April

Living with Nature

It’s a glorious morning here in Lancashire with the most amazing clear blue sky. I’ve been making the most of the sunshine by finishing off few little jobs around the garden. It’s a complete joy to be outside when the day starts off like this. Garden birds are singing their little heads off and the air is still and warm with the faint scent of spring flowers.

Continue reading Living with Nature