Coronavirus Garden Safari

As the UK ends the second week of lockdown in an attempt to limit the spread of the coranavirus, Covid-19, I count myself fortunate to have a garden. Spring has sprung and the increased warmth from the sun has induced flowers to open and insects to wake. Beautiful butterflies such as this peacock can be found sunning themselves.

Fluffy bee-flies with their improbably long proboscises are buzzing around.

The fabulously named hairy footed flower bees are flower bothering.

Bees are getting busy.

The birds too are busy building their nests, take care when trimming hedges. This pair of jackdaws have no need to keep to the 2m social distancing rules.

The blackbirds are stocking up on supplemental food such as the cat biscuits left over from the hedgehogs’ supper.

Fresh water is important for all of our garden wildlife such as birds and squirrels. A shallow dish on the ground for hedgehogs.

For the night owls there are owls.photo of tawny owl in tree

Also hedgehogs. Why not make a hedgehog feeder, create a gap in your fence and hope for some prickly visitors.hedgehog on lawn

Maybe even a bat or two.2 bats

Try to look out for flowers and wildlife in your garden or on your daily walk. Use the lockdown as an opportunity to learn new skills, stay in touch with loved ones, reconnect with old friends. Photo of buddleia over underpass

For more information on Covid-19 visit the NHS website. Stay home, keep 2m apart when out, wash your hands; these measures will hopefully protect the NHS from being overwhelmed, and protect vulnerable people from a killer disease. If you are one of those strange people who doesn’t care about the old and the sick dying don’t forget this kills young healthy people too, including valuable NHS workers. Let’s hope our new found admiration for “low skilled” low paid workers such as carers, shop workers and delivery drivers lasts. Take care of yourselves and others. With kindness and cooperation we will get through this.path through sand dunes

Meteorological Spring

Meteorological spring commenced 1st March (astronomical spring didn’t start until 20th March). Indeed at the beginning of March the garden had been showing signs of spring. The crocuses opened out to reveal prodigious amounts of pollen for any passing early bumblebee queens.Photo of crocus flower

After weeks of watching the snowdrops sullenly hanging their heads …Photo of snowdrops

… they did this, revealing their green stripey undergarments.

The quince was looking blousey and fabulous as usual.Photo of quince flowers

Even the cherry plum blossom was budding.Photo of cherry plum blossom buds

Then this happened: Dubbed the Beast from the East, a wintry blast of cold air from Siberia brought 27cm of snow to Hereford.Photo of ruler in snow

The snowdrops’ new found confidence was cruelly squished.Photo of snowdrops squashed by snow

The quince managed to keep looking sassy though.

The hedgehogs that had just woken from hibernation decided to go back to bed, which was just as well as they would have needed a mini digger to get into their feeding station.

The mouse managed to tunnel out.Photo of mouse hole in snow

The garden did have a bleak beauty to it though.

We worked around the clock to keep the water from freezing and to put out extra rations for the birds. Mostly blackbirds.

A couple of robins.

Blackcap.Black cap drinking

Chaffinch.

Long tailed tits.

Wren playing hide and seek as usual.wren in foliage

The snow brought a new visitor to the garden, a fieldfare, Turdus pilaris.  They belong to the thrush family and are usually found in social flocks in the countryside. They frequent hedgerows feeding on berries and insects. Most of the fieldfares seen in the UK migrate here from Scandinavia during the winter.fieldfare in the snow

Later around four fieldfares turned up, bullying the blackbirds for a share of the apples. As soon as the snow left, so did they.

November Colour

After so many storms there doesn’t seem to be many colourful autumnal leaves left on the trees. However, there is still autumn colour to be found. The smoke tree seems to have managed to retain most of its leaves, sheltered by the conifers.Photo of smoke tree autumnal leaves

A snapdragon plant that I bought cheaply from a DIY store on account of it being nearly dead has made a remarkable recovery despite my care and has started to flower.

The last of the cyclamens are blooming on the lawn.Photo of cyclamen

The golden rod has gone to seed and is now more of a silvery rod.

Michaelmas daisies are paying no heed to the religious calendar.Photo of michaelmas daisies

There is always herb Robert to be found.Photo of herb Robert

The purple bee lavender is looking glorious, but watch for lurking spiders when you admire it.

Evening primrose is the best substitute for the missing yellow disc in the sky.Photo of evening primrose

Fox and cubs are a blaze of orange amongst the murk.Photo of fox and cubs

And of course we have the usual autumnal suspects of berries …

…and fungi.

A Cemetery Stroll

Photo of chapelAs it is nearly All Hallow’s Eve, the night when the souls of the dead are supposed to return to the mortal realm, I though it would be apposite to post about a cemetery stroll. This is especially true as I believe I am acquainted with more souls in Hereford Cemetery than in the rest of the City!Photo of cemetery

The last time I took you on a Graveyard Bimble it was the middle of summer. Now as we are well into autumn the place is even more windswept and barren.Photo of cemetery

I visited shortly after dawn on a rainy morn.Photo of tree

There is still autumn colour to be found.Photo of autumn leavesAnd the gardener had made good use of some ornamental grasses.Photo of cemetery gardenThe nearly bare trees made beautiful outlines against the moody skies.

“Grandpa Ratz” is the latest family member to book in to Hereford Cemetery’s bed and board. His flowers survived Storm Brian and added a splash of colour to the bleakness.

He loved flowers and I’m sure he would have approved of these.

So here’s to all souls past and present; have a safe and enjoyable Hallowe’en.Photo of sunset

Sunny Buzzers and Minty Loungers

August was a bit of wash out, but we did have a couple of sunny days which brought out the insects. This golden shimmering hoverfly, Xylota segnis for one.

The yellow rose was the sun lounger of choice for this hoverfly, one of the Eristalis family I believe.

The goldenrod is a regular favourite for the honeybees.

This bumblebee was having to get at the cyclamen upside down.

The bees decided to freshen up on the mint flowers.

The mint moths were inevitably to be found there too.

Also lurking in the mint was this green shield bug nymph.Photo of speckled bush cricket nymph

The speckled wood butterfly decided the ivy was the best place to catch some much needed rays.Photo of speckled wood butterfly

May Flowers

Now that we are at the beginning of May I thought I would just quickly post some photos of what has been flowering recently. Starting with the lilac.Photo of lilac

The lilac contrasts nicely with the yellow laburnum blossoms.

The Spanish/hybrid bluebells have been posing with broom, tulips and primroses.

More tulips.

Purple bee lavender.Photo of purple bee lavender

Candytuft (iberis).Photo of candytuft

The bladder campion is starting to flower.Photo of bladder campion

The cuckoo pint looks interesting.

Greater celandine.

Forget-me-nots and strawberries are flowering all along the path around my alpine trough ….

…which is also doing well.

And the dog violets are still gracing the lawn.Photo of dog violet

May Flowers

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Spring Things

So, spring seemed to burst into life before being hit by an icy blast again. Here are some of the things that came out in the sunshine. I will start with the dark purple tulips that I planted.Photo of purple tulip

Red tulips.Photo of tulips

Mini tulip.Photo of mini tulip

The comma butterfly posed nicely for me, while an orange tip butterfly thwarted my every effort.

The holly blue came out rather overexposed, but I was just grateful that I got a shot of it.Photo of holly blue butterfly

There were hoverflies, I think this is a Marmalade Hoverfly.

I thought that this was a sort of hoverfly, but it seems it is a sawfly.Photo of sawfly

I think this is a type of solitary bee.

Pretty sure this is an Ashy Mining Bee.Photo of ashy mining beeBee enjoying the last of the flowering currant.

I was rather pleased with this shot of a buff tailed bumblebee in flight. Sometimes I get lucky.buff tailed bumblebeeSome ladybirds were getting friendly with each other. Unfortunately, as they are non-native harlequins, they aren’t friendly to anything else.

Weeds? I don’t seen any weeds, just pretty flowers that feed our pollinators.

And finally, here is the lilac bush taken by flash at night. It gives off the most lovely scent day and night.Photo of lilac bush at night

Marching Towards Spring

Only one more week until astronomical spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Let’s see what is blooming; the cherry plum blossom is still clinging to the trees.

The cream primroses have been joined by purple ones.

The lilac buds progress.Photo of lilac buds

The dwarf narcissi in pots are flowering.

However, the big daffodils in the garden are still thinking about it.Photo of daffodil buds

The yellow crocus has outlived its purple cousins. It has also avoided being eaten by sparrows, I have been informed that they have a penchant for yellow petals.Photo of yellow crocus

The forsythia gets ever more yellow.

The quince is going strong.Photo of bee house with quince and flower pots

Newcomers include grape hyacinths.Photo of grape hyacinth

Dog violets.

The flowering currant.

Red dead-nettle.Photo of red dead-nettle

For those of you who remember the pinnacle of my gardening prowess, the alpine trough, here it is.

Transformation

Things have been transforming as we move from spring into summer. The strawberry flowers have turned into strawberry fruits.

The apple blossoms are forming apples.

The gorse flowers are becoming furry pods.

The tiny yellow flowers of the smoke tree are turning pink, the bees are still hyperactive on it though.

The honeysuckle and St John’s Wort have begun their journey into “berryhood”.

The proud poppy has been battered down by the rain.

This pretty rose has been transformed into a hunting ground for a spider.Photo of spider on rose

Five days on, not only are my alpines still alive, but the plant at the back is now flowering! Thank you everyone for your kind support for my gardening efforts.

The fledgling crow has been looking perkier and stronger today. He flew down from the tree rather well, though he makes no attempt to fly up into anything (he climbs the tree). His parents brought one of his siblings, who can fly, to join him today. They were all eating together, so that was a good sign. I’m guessing the parents have been putting more effort into the more advanced chick in another garden up until now.Photo of fledgling crow