Monday, 23 March 2015

Monday March 23rd, 2015

Nearly a year since the last post! A combination of having been very busy and also of feeling that all I had to do last summer in the rough garden was to observe, admire, celebrate - even to get lost in those rough patches!! Like the honey bees I luxuriated in the willow-herb which put on an amazing show of colour. And so, after this spring's ceremonial shearing of the growth, I now emerge, like the pheasants, hungry for new things! 

The patches lasted well through the winter with their mix of architectural plants such as teazel
or wild rose and shelter-affording plants such as willow-herb (really beautiful in autumn frosts), long grasses and even old nettle stalks.  Now they have gone, I see that a new generation of teazels and willow-herb is on its way, some evening primrose and buddlea which I inserted are surviving, but the real surprise is two lovely patches of young dogwood with beautiful coloured stalks, lovely spring colour and very amenable to being cut back to whatever shape I require, and also some cowslips which seem to have put themselves there.  The alkanet I really dislike in garden beds has been rehomed here as has some kind of iris which grows naturally around here and pops up in the lawn in damp spots.  The wild rose shrubs are graceful, I only cut them back if they get too big or prang me! and their taller stems are useful for small birds visiting the feeders. I've decided to encourage the naturally-occurring rush and large-flowering  grass in these patches as they provide year-round shelter and habitat for all sorts of species which are otherwise left rather exposed in the spring. However I've already noticed birds gathering moss for nest-building from the newly-exposed ground.

Over the autumn and winter I have seen roe deer, muntjac, stoats, numerous pheasants and a partridge using the grass 'pathways' between these patches, bringing them very close to the house.  We now have a duck who has fallen in love with some herb bushes (she nested in some mint by the front door last year) and the pied wagtails are back. I regularly see a fox, less welcome visitors are a rat (but I hope an owl will catch him) and of course grey squirrels which are a menace to birds.

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