With the glorious sunshine this weekend we have been getting outside and making plans for our back garden at Glandford. We are fortunate in having a half acre field as a back garden, but you can still do a lot for the wildlife with a much smaller plot.
|Out the back.|
|Common field speedwell|
Looking in a bit more detail there are a few wild flowers already coming through including common field speedwell (Veronica persica), barren strawberry (Potentilla sterilis), colt's-foot (Tussilago farfara) and some other interesting looking stuff coming up that is too small for me to commit myself to positively identifying yet! Not a bad start really, but lots more to be done.
|The site for the pond.|
Our area designated to be the pond should be big enough to get a good variety of plants established and attract dragonflies and have a good diversity of nooks and crannies in the water and around the edge for other invertebrates.
Although we have a good number of fruit-baring bushes with the hawthorn, a bit more choice is always desirable. Cherry and elder trees provide a good sugar-rich feast in the summer and apples, especially late fruiting varieties, are popular with thrushes in the autumn. For the insect-eating birds flowering and evergreen shrubs are a good idea as well as log piles and areas of bare soil. Attracting incests is good for the birds, but they are also fascinating in themselves. One of the best ways to observe the more flighty insects like butterflies, moths and dragonflies is with a close-focusing binocular. A lot of modern 8x32 binoculars focus down to less than 2m (6'6''), but the best are the Pentax Papilio 6.5x21 and 8.5x21 both with a minimum focusing distance of 50cm (1'8''). Not only are these bins good for seeing fine detail on a butterflies wings for example, they can also be quite handy for inspecting the contents of a pond without getting wet! Our plant shopping list includes lavender for moths and bees, a buddleia bush or two, a guelder rose and maybe a rowan tree (mountain ash).
|The old wood burner.|
With the addition of a pile of big stones, some decoratively arranged railway sleepers and few nest boxes we'll be sorted for the spring.
Lots more to do, but that should keep us busy for now. We'll keep you up dated.