an image of people playing the Ukelele

Ukelele – Sunday, 23rd June, 2024

A tadpole was seen with legs. I don’t see it, the pond water is still green and a little murky, though not as bad as it was a few weeks back. A couple of days ago, I saw blue damsel flies, none today. I see no sign of a bulrush stem, plenty of leaf, higher than the pond irises leaves, but a reluctance to flower, for that’s what the bulrush sausage is, an intense cluster of female flowers. There’s two pairs of water lilies. A grand, surprise of a flower, like a white regal boat, seeming to be floating on the water. They have stems, of course, sometimes visible but more often under the water, hidden under the lily pads. The pond irises have developed their seed heads, like long green lozenges.

Lavender – Saturday 15th June, 2024

Where have all the tadpoles gone? Just a week ago there were hundreds and now there are just a few. I doubt it is predation. There are no big predators, like fish, in the pond. We haven’t seen any tadpoles with legs, so it’s not possible that those hundreds have developed legs and lungs in the last seven days and left the pond. Which leaves two possibilities, the first is shortage of oxygen, but the pond is full of aerating plants and rain brings aerated water too. The second is disease. Disease can kill very quickly, culling high numbers in days, as is the case. To my mind, disease is the likely cause. I can’t think of anything else.

image showing leafcurl

Leafcurl – Sunday 9th June, 2024

In a mid raised bed, we have a beautiful cluster of deep purple lavender, with the bonus of its scent. Growing by it, we have purple toadflax, almost merging with the lavender, and lychnis with its reddish purple flowers, like an ad for lipstick. The same bed has globe thistles. As yet, they are small and green. It will be a couple of weeks before they are blue planets in a weird solar system. A few yards away, there’s a plum tree with clusters of plums, still green, but will ripen in the next week or so. Who will get the fruit? The birds or children? In the Fothergill beds, the geums are hanging on, with poppies and marigolds and penstemons taking over. Just behind is the buddleia tunnel suffering from leaf curl, the leaves blotchy and crinkled. I look closely at the leaves.

image of poppies

Poppies – Saturday 1st June, 2024

Nearby, there are giant scabious, popular with bumble bees, and at its feet purple cranesbill. Around the garden are small clusters of purple toadflax, one of my favourite wildflowers, though there’s none in the wildflower bed itself.

The banana plant is outside, it was in the greenhouse over the winter. About 1.8 ms high, the plant doesn’t look too happy, I see no new growth. It wants warmer days, but if we get them it will grow too tall for our greenhouse. Then what?

Purple Toad Flax – Sat 26th May, 2024

I was leading a wildflower ramble on the Flats. And saw what seemed to be a host of dandelions, but on closer inspection, I noted the flower was right but the stalk was too tall, and the leaves less toothed and were furry. Not dandelions but a related plant, commonly known as cats ears. We didn’t see a single dandelion, but lots of plantain, and across the Flats, into the distance, the broom a mass of yellow flowers. This is an area of acid grassland. The soil is poor in nutrients, and low in pH, and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) supporting scarcer insects including solitary bees and wasps. We tend to take the Flats for granted, being on our doorstep, but it’s worth a visit to see some of its unusual flora and fauna.

Spring Garden – Saturday 11th May, 2024

The pond is definitely clearing. For over a month, it has been a murky green, created by growth of single celled algae in the water. It seems that was a temporary phenomenon. The growth would have brought about by a flush of nitrates in the water. And my inclination is to think it was from the waste created by all the adult frogs we had in March, possibly as many as forty over the month. The pond is now clearing as the nitrates have been used up. We hope.

image of a bulrush

Bulrush – Saturday 4th May, 2024

A group are working on the scrapheap challenge. This is to make features for the garden out of scrap material. You might see it as a green initiative as, other than for garden use, the scrap might go into landfill. Today’s though is quite a challenge.

An image of Aquilegia in the garden

Aquilegia – Saturday 20th April, 2024

The silver birch too is in leaf, tiny as yet, not that the leaves get any great size. Last week, there were only male catkins, yellow like dangling earrings. But, all of a sudden, the female catkins have arrived. They are reddish, quite a bit smaller.

an image of a child generating power on a bicycle

Pedal Energy – 13th April, 2024

A beautiful, sunny day for our Spring Celebration. There’s plenty of cakes, pizza, and drinks. We have done away with plastic cups, using washable ceramic, and today washable plates too. This takes more work to wash them each time, which is why throwaway cups and plates are so popular, but we must green our lives if we are to evade …

an image of someone holding something in their hand

Mussel – Sunday 7th April, 2024

The pond has been taking our attention over the past week. The tadpoles are eating the remnants of their jelly. There are black masses of them, so thick, you can hardly see the individuals but for the wriggling of the mass. All the tadpoles are out of the jelly, and eating like crazy. There are unfertilised eggs remaining, but they …