Thursday, 7 July 2011

We Have Birds

The cats are getting a bit too old to chase the birds now. It would appear that gone are the days when the back of the computer desk would be littered with a score of severed sparrows heads, or one would be woken in the night to the fluttering of tiny wings at 3am in the bedroom, thanks to a very proud Misty 'bringing one home' for the parents to eat. Cats never seem to understand that we like ours cooked.....and preferably dead first.

 This means that we can at last re-install the bird feeders in the garden, and so far we have three beauties!
One which holds seed laden suet balls, another with a mixture of wild flowers seeds, and a not quite so popular wire mesh ball full of peanuts. Please excuse any blurring in the photos, but it was very early in the morning, I was swigging tea, and running around the garden in my underpants!

 Sparrows, finches, great tits, blue tits and a house martin have dined on them so far, with blackbirds and starlings picking up the stuff that drops to the floor on occasion.

 This leads me on to a discovery at work today that is a common problem at this time of year.......birds nests.
Although it can result in things getting pruned or trimmed a little late, I do try very hard to make sure that any nests that are still in use aren't disturbed. Of course this can't always be avoided, and on the rare occasions that one still has eggs in, I will leave as much growth as possible, to maintain the original cover.
 This one was from last year, and was bare still, and so no problem there.

 All in all quite a tough but nice day, spent mostly pruning and trimming (without the petrol trimmer).
On my return home, I found Amanda in the garden, and things starting to look decidedly better.
Our rear borders had become, lets just say, on the mature side, and my lovely wife had set about trimming and pruning everything shrub by shrub, until some semblance of order had been restored. Our Hydrangea villosa can now see daylight, the Ginger Lily can breathe, and there is even a large flowered dahlia that we had forgotten about that may even flower now!

What with all of the clippings producing quite an aroma, Hobie can't resist tagging along and having a sniff.

 Things are generally flowering quite well now that the warmer, damp weather is upon us.

 This is a little trough that I planted up with some spare bedding left over from a job. It's put outside the kitchen window to stop the cats jumping across to the shed roof, whereupon the land and over time have clawed a hole in the waterproof felt roofing. Amanda hates the colour scheme and plants that I've used, and I can't really blame her. All a bit twee for us both generally, but what the heck, something had to be done and the plants were spare.

 Zonal geraniums are among my favourite foliage summer bedding. As far as I am concerned they don't need to flower at all. Available in all sorts of combinations of colours, they can be teamed with lemon scented geraniums to give visual impact, along with a wonderfully strong scent when brushed against.

 Crocosmias too, can be an interesting addition to the garden for this time of year. In a variety of red, orange and yellow shades, although fairly short lived flower wise, the impact is quite awesome. This one, Crocosmia 'Lucifer', is a common favourite, and we have several clumps spread around.

The Hydrangea paniculata Grandiflora is just starting to open it's flowers now. Planted about five years ago at about a foot tall, it now stands at six feet high and with a girth to match. Another winner in my book.

 This has been a favourite of mine ever since we were introduced, when I took over the herbaceous borders at Compton Acres Gardens. Lychnis chalcedonica 'Maltese Cross'. Although quite a toughy, when in full flower it's best to give a bit of discrete staking, as any heavy rain can flatten the plant when it becomes top heavy. Such a shame when the blooms are so impressive.

 Now, after a long days work for both of us, Amanda ponders where best to take the Sambucus nigra Black Lace' down to, whilst I head back indoors to work on a quote.
I hope you enjoyed this post.......TTFN.


  1. Fun circle bird feeder with the suet balls. I haven't seen one like that here. I like the zonal geranium leaves. Way to go Amanda on those shrubs. I'm really impressed you watch for bird nest while pruning. Sometimes, they are hard to spot in time as those birds are clever in hiding the nests.

  2. Hi Sherlock,
    The birds seem to particularly like the suet balls, although they can be a be yucky on the hands trying to get them in the feeder.

  3. What a delightful post! It sounds as though you both had wonderful days, from running around in one's underwear to take photos to bringing some order back to things. This is the time of year when photos like yours create serious cases of "zone envy." What I wouldn't do for a cool night!

  4. Hi Tim,
    As for the underwear, well, needs must when one has to take the shot. The big house garden you look after is looking amazing this year.