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Friday, 24 April 2009

Feeling Hot! Hot! Hot!

Well the sun has been beating down on us here in the south of England as though its the height of summer not that I'm complaining, I just hope the weather doesn't burn itself out and give us another wet cold summer like it did the last two summers.

Sunday I finally got round to tidying the strawberry tower by removing all the dead vegetation from last year. I only lost one plant and I gave the rest a spray of rhubarb insecticide as there was some aphid infestation observed.
The lawn had its second mowing of the season and it has fulled out really well in comparison to last year, so the resowing of grass seed last autumn and the application of fertiliser three weeks ago seems to have had a good result thus far. There is one area though that looks really sad, mossy and full of perennial weeds, I'll have to sort that out before it becomes a bare patch.

The compost bin which holds the rabbit droppings and bedding material from last year was investigated. I removed a sack full of the stuff at the bottom and added some of the fresh grass clippings to it, to help break it down further as I want to use it in the bottom of the pots I plan to grow the ochroes in this year.

Just before cutting the lawn I noticed a plant in the weedy patch, it had some very pretty flowers and my wildflowers book identified it as a forget-me-not, I think it may be the water variety. I do like these plants but they can be a bit invasive. I believe it came from two doors down, I observed this year that she has a large patch of these plants in her back garden and although I have some miss giving about letting the plant stay in my garden I have decided to give it a spot in my bog garden and aim to keep the spread under control.

Fledgling birds are starting to appear and today I saw a family of mistle thrushes, two fledglings and one adult. The adult flew off as soon as I approached but I was able to get fairly close to the fledglings and so got this picture.

Monday found me weeding and scraping that weedy, mossy patch of lawn and although I may have to go over it again I got most out this time. Once I'm done I'll reseed and fertilise before the next forecasted rain which is for next Sunday according to the Met.

Got some sowing done as well, seeds of khol rabi, chinese cabbage, 2nd batch of lettuce, calabrese and early purple sprouting brocolli. Also finally got round to pricking out the lemon grass seedlings and generally shuffled things around the greenhouse to make more space.

Tuesday I didn't really do much besides lots of watering of plants to keep them alive, I also potted on the largest cabbage plant and weeded under the larger of the two apple trees. While I was weeding I found numerous oregano seedlings which I potted up and a what I believe is a wild dog rose seedling, so I potted that on as well. Under the freshly weeded apple tree I planted out two more sunflower plants.

While I was weeding I observed there were lots of twigs on the lawn under the apple tree, now earlier in the morning I did notice a collard dove taking one of the twigs and flying away with it and just assumed it had dropped them earlier but since there was much more there than in the morning I decided to look up and blow! the darn things are trying to construct a nest in the apple tree. Now collard doves are easily spooked so why would they think about constructing a nest in a tree where we pass daily many times a day is beyond me.

On another note, I saw quite a lot of a blackbird fledgling and was lucky enough to get a really close photo.

The cucumber and salsify seeds have started to germinate.

Wednesday was very hot, too hot to stand in the greenhouse and do any pricking out of seedlings, so I opted to working outside and got some weeding done on part of the unpaved footpaths. I was also busy with watering everything due to the hot weather.
The chinese cabbage seeds have started to germinate.

The collard doves have been busy adding more sticks to their mess of twigs, describing it as a nest is a bit of a stretch. Well either they thought it was finished or maybe the female couldn't wait any longer because there is now one small egg perched precariously on top the mess of twigs aka nest. I can't see it surviving as the nest is so badly constructed (not surprising as this family of birds are notorious for badly constructed nests) and as the birds keep panicking and darting of the nest every time some one goes into the garden, I expect it will get knocked off or through the mess of twigs fairly soon.

Here is one of the parents and I have to say, though they can't build a decent nest they know how to pick a beautiful location.

Thursday I attempted to make a dent in planting out some of my flowering plants into the flower beds. I also got some weeding done again in between the vege beds footpaths.

The greenhouse is still way to hot to work in, those seedlings that need pricking out are glaring at me every time I go in there. Lots of watering continues to keep everything alive.

The inevitable has happened and the collard dove's egg has fallen. I think it might have happened when one of the birds attempted to add more twigs to the structure, I did see it flying to the apple tree with quite an awkward looking twig and wondered how it was planning to incorporate it into the nest aka mess of twigs. Maybe now they may get the idea its not such a good place to build a nest or they may be slow to learn and try again.
The robin family on the other hand are much better off and yesterday I was able to hear for the first time the chicks cheeping when the parents approach with food.
The Flowers in the garden were looking really beautiful in the sunshine and were very well visited by the bees. Not much longer till the spring flowers are all spent and the summer ones burst into bloom. Trees in the area are all of a sudden becoming
bright green with most now in new leaf.
The kids second pot of daffodils are finally in bloom and are perfectly beautiful in its own miniature way.
Friday not much done today, I have noticed that the early purple sprouting broccoli, lettuces have begun to germinate along with the lime basil.


  1. What a great blog! You surely do have lots of different butterflies in your garden. I only seem to get Cabbage White butterflies in my garden, though I did see a Male Brimstone at the allotment a couple of weeks ago.
    Has rebuilding started in the apple tree yet?

  2. Hi Jo, thanks for commenting, this is the first time I have seen so many different types of butterflies so early in the garden so I'm really pleased, I hope to see many more when the mini meadow is in bloom (its full of seedlings at the moment).

    I'm afraid the collard doves don't look like they will be rebuilding in the apple tree again this year, they haven't returned since their egg's fatal demise.

    Look out for my next posting as I have an update on the robin family.

    Bye for now, Kella :)



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