Thursday, 4 June 2015

Day 4, #30dayswild

On 1 June I was in Yorkshire, and not able to write a post for this blog, but now I'm back there's a chance to catch up. Yorkshire was lovely, especially Nunnington Hall, a National Trust building with a delightful organic garden which nestles in a beautiful riverside setting. An added treat on the visit was the exhibition of 2014 British Wildlife Photography Awards winners (the link will take you to a gallery of the finalists, which is well worth a look, especially the Animal Portrait winner, which went to a photograph from the Farne Islands, and was my own favourite - having found the website I'm going to be looking at them all again!) Serendipity, or what?


Next day we went to Whitby - not much observable wildlife apart from the herring gulls, but a nice example at the Abbey of the effects of nature on sedimentary stone over the years:


We were in no doubt about the efficacy of weathering, the wind was an icy blast on Monday. On my last day, somewhat beset by the weather again, we drove past Rievaulx Abbey but didn't go in - somewhere warm, with coffee, beckoned. There were plant stalls too - pity I was travelling home by train.

Back home and there weren't too many dramatic developments in the garden, again the result of the cold weather, but the may blossom is now fully out, and will shortly be followed by the elder. One of the first things I did was head out to the greenhouse to see what had been happening there. To my horror I found that the nasty sticky yellow whitefly trap, which I put up because my precious scented pelargoniums were suffering, and which I thought was preferable to spraying, had caught two small bumble bees. I am now racked with guilt, and the trap is in the dustbin! The pels will just have to take their chances in future. I've sent off a donation to the Friends of the Earth Bee Cause to assuage my conscience, and will be assiduously assisting any bees I find from now on to make up for it. I was very impressed, visiting my brother and his family at the weekend, to see his bumble bee hive - sadly, my budget won't quite run to such a gesture, but I have got a house for solitary bees to put up this week. I've also sown some catmint for them which will need planting out soon. I think I might manage to make a woodpile too - well, more exactly, I'll collect up the random bits of ash tree which have come down, and put them somewhere in a better, and undisturbed pile. I don't expect the existing inhabitants will mind a minor change of location!


Tomorrow I think I'll take the camera for a walk...



Wednesday, 27 May 2015

30 days wild


This June the Wildlife Trusts are running a campaign called 30 Days Wild. I decided to join in so that I could spend the month thinking about how to encourage wildlife in the garden. I'm starting by revitalising this blog (four years on!), which had anyway turned into something mostly garden- and nature-focused. It's got a bit of a new look, and a new name, GeraniumCat in the Garden (inspired, huh?).

It won't only be about wildlife - gardening, food and related books are sure to get a look in, local history too, but for June I will try to post at least a picture most days for 30 Days Wild. I may be in Devon for part of the month, too, but that means dogwalking so I'll be out and about.

It seemed a good omen that last night while I was shutting up the chickens and thinking about what I'm going to talk about for 30 days, a tawny owl flew past and there were several brown long-eared bats flitting about. I want to increase the number of plants that are attractive to insects in the garden to encourage both bats and bees. So far, my greatest success is probably in attracting slugs, so I am embracing horticultural fleece with some enthusiasm.

Most importantly, I want to spend some time getting to grips with my new wildflower key. This will be a real challenge, and might be easier if I'm in Devon, because there are so many more wildflowers there than there are in North Northumberland!




NB: GeraniumCat's Bookshelf has also been on hiatus for some time, but I hope to be back there soon.