Cultivating the garden

At this stage I feel as if the garden is cultivating me but I walked down to the copse as the sun began to set and ended up with a couple of snaps. My lords, ladies and gentlemen, you should always call a spathe a spathe.LordsandladiesAnd this is my colour allowance for the day. Do you know which plant this is?ColoursI was worried at one point today that I would be singing “Woody doesn’t live here anymore” as the chilly rain kept him away. When the sun finally parted the clouds Woody was back in a flash. I remain hopeful that our tenants will sign up. After all it is a very favourable lease.

Good Morning, Woody

One of our trees has a series of woodpecker holes in the trunk. I was hoping one might be occupied this Spring and sure enough a pair of Green Woodpeckers appear to have selected our tree for their nest. First to arrive yesterday was Mr. GW. He started by inspecting the cavity. Then he embarked on a Spring clean. Bits of debris fell to earth. After a while Mrs. GW dropped by and, as wives often do, she watched and gave encouragement. Get a move on, Woody! She didn’t stay long as she was off to a social engagement – Lady Woodpeckers who lunch.

I tried to take a few photos through the orangery window with my superzoom . They were distinctly awful. I did go outside but Woody did not like that at all and fled the scene of the DIY.

My early start this morning was ostensibly to check the moth trap. It was 0c overnight so it came as no great surprise that the total yield was 5 Hebrew Characters, all rather tatty. Nevertheless the sun was up and as I admired the garden from the chill of the house Woody returned, bright and early. Appropriately enough he appeared to freeze. 18” above the hole he gripped the trunk and for 10 minutes barely moved his torso. A few tilts off the head was all I saw. Then he dropped down beside the hole and stayed in a similar mode for another 10 minutes. Seemingly satisfied that all was safe and well, work recommenced. Woody seemed to be tapping away at an extension, perhaps fearing that Mrs. GW might have added a few ounces over the Winter. All those lunches, perhaps. After lengthy tapping the clear out started and the debris was once again floating gently to terra firma. Mrs. GW arrived, added more encouragement and headed off to a well-earned breakfast. Woody was hard at it most of the morning and this time I did get one long distance photo. Never mind the quality, admire the pecker. Green Woodpecker-2

And so if all goes well we shall be following the ups and downs of woodpecker family life. I guessed this would happen so let’s call it The Foresight Saga.

Tales from the Lodge

Each day a pang of guilt goes through me if I have not blogged. Nevertheless blogging is taking a back seat yet again as the demands of the refurbishment and the garden take precedence. I feel even more guilty if I have not dropped in on my regular writers. I do miss them. However the refurb is turning into a nightmare. With each floorboard lifted more horrors are revealed and I am now staring down the barrel of a plumber’s bill that would have bought a modest house not so very long ago.

The garden is proving a refuge in which I can cling onto my sanity. The moth survey is hampered by temperatures down to 1c overnight and moths generally stay inside and watch Moth TV until it gets to 10c. Lepidopteran Street, set in darkest Lancashire, is a popular choice. Ena, Minnie and Martha are always entertaining. 31 brave species have ventured out however and I’d like to record my thanks to the Nut-tree Tussocks and the Frosted Greens who have been especially brave.

Last night we had heavy rain but I ran the trap anyway and was rewarded for my pains by a Great Diving Beetle – a ferocious and mighty predator – a spider munching on a Hebrew Character and a brace of Caddisflies. Now trichoptera are beginning to fascinate me as there seems to be little reference material available. This is in fact Glyphotaelius pellucidus and I am indebted to Ian Thirlwell for giving me its ID. Who wouldn’t like one of these before breakfast?Trichoptera sp 1b

I am also trying to ‘do’ some flora but I think I am better at butter. I can just about manage these 2: don’t ask me for the exact species but the top one is a stunning Azalea. We also have Camellia and Rhododendrons in full bloom. I guess that means we have acidic soil.Azalea

I thought our Bluebells were good (and these are ours) but next door’s show is simply magnificent.Bluebell CopseI find pleasure even in the compost heap where the odd fungus is sprouting.The MushroomThe scale of the garden is overwhelming me and so tomorrow I am meeting a gardener, who I hope will help me blitz it once and then do some regular maintenance whilst I play. I have been very productive at cutting things down and the pond is much improved. We also have a splendid new blue Hydrangea macrophylla, courtesy of some visiting friends – thank you Rob & Anita. Last night was the first time I heard an owl call. A Tawny Owl was maybe 50-100m away and I hope it will visit us at close quarters soon. I continue to be entertained by the woodpeckers giving me my daily yaffle.

Sometimes though we need a break and walk to the Down. Yesterday was one such day and here is a picture of where we went….. into The Magic Wood. Steve G and I have been debating on FB the merits of goblins as I was sure I saw some. Possibly though they were gnomes and just to brush up on my taxonomy of woodland spirits I am going to reread BB’s The Little Grey Men.


That’s all I have time for today. Until next time.