Sunday 19 May 2024

The peaceful sanctuary of the garden








Greetings from my favourite time of year. I think I smile all the way round on my dog walks at the moment. Even the dog is doing mindfulness in the morning when we're down by the stream and the birds are singing. 

The garden is chugging along in a slightly stressful way. Patio Rat has had babies, which briefly unnerved me, although they are quite sweet when they rub their little faces with their hands. I discussed it with my nextdoor neighbour, who is happily pro-wildlife, and who doesn't see a problem unless they come into the house. They have been lying low lately, so I have calmed down somewhat. Although I am all for wildlife, there is part of me that still wants to stand on a chair and scream. Why is that? I have no idea. I am tamping it down.

The neighbour on the other side is rewilding vigorously and the huge growth of trees and shrubs is just full of birds' nests, it is wonderful. The garden is full of starling babies and sparrow babies. The newest starlings haven't learned to steer yet, meaning that when they fly straight at you or at the house, they have no idea how to change direction. They crash land where they can and hop to safety. 

The dog has had a couple of close rat encounters, which involved quite loud intervention on my part. I am happy to say that no rat was harmed. He is back to waiting by the entrance area now and saying things like, 'Ratty? Would you say that you are chewy?' and 'What is inside of you Ratty?' Ratty does not care to reply. 

I also have to check that there are no birds down low before I let him out or he runs at them barking madly. So it is not entirely relaxing out there, particularly as he likes to barge through the door first and rocket about the place.

The two younger urchins are doing exams. Which is also a little stressful for me. They seem remarkably calm though. Honestly, it's as if they're not even my children. 

I will take some garden pictures next time. I have new raised beds and asparagus and three types of beans. Also, I got some red-flowered strawberries at the Saturday market on, well, Saturday. Very pretty. We shall see if the fruit is any good or if it's all a gimmick. I might treat myself to a rose as well. I am torn between pink and apricot. My gut feeling is apricot, but if it's a bit too yellow or orange I might regret it. I have been agonising over it for ages. You know how I am with decisions. Feel free to weigh in with suggestions. I did find one that I love, but it apparently grows to 25 feet, so not entirely what I was after for a pot on the patio. 

The rose website has stunning pictures of them in containers, all glorious blooms and shiny, healthy foliage. I think we all know that mine won't end up looking quite like that. 

Any news at your end? I hope all are well. CJ xx

Sunday 3 March 2024

Silver birches

 









I am suddenly obsessed with silver birch trees. I was already very much a tree person, always wondering whether I can squeeze a tree in here or there and lamenting the tree cutting on my morning dog walks by the stream. Then I saw something about how perfect silver birches are for small gardens - slender, not too thick they block the light etc.

Plus, I remember reading ages ago that they are second only to oak in the number of species they can support. More than 300 insect species, according to the Woodland Trust. So I have put a couple in the garden. They are just very small at the moment, but I do so love planting a tree. If I were ever to come into money, I would buy woodland I think, trees just makes me happy.

And of course, now I am spotting silver birches everywhere. I chose the native one, which I assume is probably the best bet for wildlife. I'm also thinking about digging a hole or two in the patio and sticking in a fig tree and an olive that I have knocking around in pots, but I'm slightly concerned that I might hit the mains sewer. It feels like the sort of thing I might do. Does anyone know where they go? I seem to recall they mostly go out the front and to a main pipe running down the middle of the road, but it would be big mistake to make, even for me, if it turned out to be under the patio. Might just stick with the containers to be on the safe side.

Not much news here, I am working, working, working which doesn't make for exciting reading. The dog is well, and has been enjoying a dry and sunny day after surprise snow yesterday morning. No-one was expecting it at all, so the morning dog walk was full of astonishment from all and sundry. It was a proper thick white snowfall, but the day warmed up and it was gone by lunchtime. No complaints from me, I have usually had enough after a day of snow.



Just a week ago I was rescuing early bees who had come out for a look round and collapsed with exhaustion/cold/thirst/hunger. I found one on the pavement, with acres of tarmac all around. I took her into the kitchen where it was warmer and popped her on a plate with some honey and water. You could see her lapping at it for ages. When she was all warmed up and buzzy we took her out to the woodpile. I hope that's the right thing to do. A day or two later, there was another one. Hopefully they are tucked back up for now though.  

I shall leave you now and be back when I have some actual news. I hope all is well at your end. CJ xx