Alternative Six on Saturday!

I was a really busy bee yesterday. I spent about five hours cleaning, tidying and generally organising ready for some friends to come over in the evening so our house is now sparkling, then I went over to Coventry to get my nails done.

… I went for green with glitter this time and I’m a little bit in love with them!

By the time I got home I just had time to have some tea before everyone arrived so I didn’t have chance to write a Six on Saturday post, even though I had managed to squeeze a photo mission to the garden in. Not to worry, it just means I’m not limited to six things to tell you about today.

First of all I’m going to wish our Welsh friends a very happy Saint David’s Day.

More and more daffs are popping up in the garden now and they do make my Winter-battered heart sing with hope. These ones are in the corner of my birthday planter.

There are definitely signs that Spring is in the air I the garden, apart from the daffs. My friend gave me a Crocus bowl for my birthday back in September. I planted the bulbs and then left the bowl in the dark garage as instructed. I have to admit, I had completely forgotten it was in there until hubby saw the bulbs sprouting and mentioned it to me. I took it out to the light and it’s gone from strength to strength.

There’s lots of new growth appearing around the garden.

My Hydrangea is growing little cabbages at the end of its arms.

My Dogwood is looking beautifully red and is growing lovely limey leaves.

And my Pink Damask in my birthday planter has got pretty big already. This dies down completely in the Winter and then shoots up in the Spring ready for its big blousy pink flowers in the Summer.

There’s actually some pink already doing its pretty thing out there. In the front my Camellia’s gearing up to flower already and I’m going to start appreciating it from now on because once those beautiful flowers bloom, they don’t stick around for long.

In the back the Pieris is already starting to develop its pink tips ready for the full on sunset that it will impress with soon.

And my sale table Erysimum which must surely be the most stoic plant in the garden, determined to shine even through Storms Ciara and Dennis, is waving a couple of flowers above its foliage.

Gorgeous!

The lawn is a little unruly because we weren’t able to give it one last mow at the end of the Summer because, would you believe it, it kept raining, and I noticed yesterday that the fox run is visible.

This reminded me to check the garden camera to see what the wildlife’s been up to recently. This was a mission! I hadn’t checked it since before Christmas so there were more than four thousand photos on the memory card. It took me hours to go through them all and get rid of the blurry ones, the hundreds of pigeons and the ones that were apparently triggered by the invisible man! Do you know how many actual decent photos I was left with? Twenty! I’ll just show you the best ones.

Bit blurry this one, but look at the date! Looks like it was the pigeon Christmas party!

Just Mr Fox enjoying some chips …

… and a squirrel chowing down on a prawn cracker.

We got another hedgehog too! So pleased with this one.

Finally, how do I know it’s Mr Fox and not Mrs? I’ll just leave this here!

Garden Wildlife

Happy Saturday all. September tomorrow. I’m not sad about the end of Summer, not yet anyway. I still have a holiday to come so it doesn’t feel like it’s over. Plus, I quite like Autumn. Now come the end of Autumn, then I will be in mourning because I am not a Winter person.

Today I’m focusing on the animals in our garden, from the tiny insects up to the bigger visitors. I’ve been snapping photos all Summer with this post in mind. I’ve got so many now that I’m not sure how to narrow them down, but narrow I will. I’ve can’t tell you how many seconds, minutes and possibly hours I’ve spent, camera poised trying to get the perfect photo and ending up with blurry wings or a hastily departed flower!

I’ll start with the traditionally less pleasant critters that I’ve spotted throughout the last couple of months.

For the arachnophobes amongst you, feel free to scroll past the next section (or peek at it from behind a cushion). I’ll put a row of hearts when it’s safe to look again and I promise to move on to more cuddly creatures soon, but right now, SPIDERS!

I used to count myself as an arachnophobe, indeed, my Mum, who witnessed my screams throughout adolescence, bought me this which now proudly hangs in my shed.

294938F2-9507-43A6-8FE4-82BE9901B0B9

I have found though, since my gardening adventure really kicked in with a vengeance, that’s there’s really no place in gardening for irrational fears of anything creepy crawly. You’re in their domain, not the other way round, and they just get on with their thing. They really are more scared of you than you could ever be of them (as I found out when stalking them, camera in hand!) The beast above was stomping past my pots at the side of the house. I tried to get a better photo, but he disappeared next door (bet they were really grateful!)

💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚

Next up slugs and snails.

This snail was really quite pretty. It may have chobbled on my strawberries, which is unfortunate, but I liked it.

These ones were a lot bigger and not so attractive. The first I discovered in my potato bag and the second was hiding behind my Diascia Cherry Blossom.

Slugs decimated my strawberries this year! I assume it was slugs anyway, given the evidence above! The second one is on my somewhat raggedy Dahlia. Given the rain over the last couple of days, there are some humongous slugs slurping their way around the garden at the moment, but they’re icky so I couldn’t bring myself to take photos.

On to beetles and beetley type things.

A9D0DE63-51DE-420E-8B40-6B4B49EABE5D

I can’t remember where I snapped this one, and I can’t work it out from the background. Quite an impressive looking beetle.

DCC5001A-9D6D-4D77-99F9-8BE5E9AD3A11

This one was very well camouflaged on my petit pois. A quick google of ‘green beetles’ doesn’t bring up anything that looks like this, so I don’t know what it is.

A3C31AF5-B0EF-416B-AEE6-85B90A8790DB

These are Lily Beetles and it’s such a shame they’re such a pretty colour because they’re destructive! I tried picking them off, but they don’t get the hint so I had to resort to chemical means. I made sure not to spray them once the buds appeared though because that would kill any pollinators that gathered their pollen.

Ladybirds. When I first saw the lily beetles I thought they were ladybirds, but they are sans spots. These are definitely ladybirds. Ladybirds really remind me of being a child. Surely it’s some kind of rite of passage to have a ladybird wee on your hand (although it’s not really wee, it’s some kind of toxic ‘back off’ fluid!)

Now for some random flying things.

Lots of flying things in our garden, including more than our fair share of mosquitoes! No photos of those because they either get squished immediately or they get away! I’ve lost count of the number of bites I’ve had this Summer – most of them through my clothes! Yep, these supersonic mozzies can chomp on you even through jeans!

Quite impressed with these two pics, although it does feel as though we should avert our eyes from the first pair, because I’m sure they really should’ve ‘got a room!’

I tried really hard to attract butterflies to the garden. I planted a Buddleia and I hung up bananas but it didn’t do any good and I saw very few butterflies all Summer.

3F3D5FEE-EF52-477B-9BE8-17CC0AC96178

I actually saw this one land when I was in the kitchen and ran out with my phone to take a photo. Luckily it stayed there long enough. Would you believe it, in the two seconds I was in the garden I managed to miss the Amazon man knocking on the front door and had to chase him down the street!

This is slightly cheating since I didn’t take the picture in the garden, but it’s too pretty not to include.

8D9B315E-17C5-40AD-90BF-5C558CAAD89C

I saw it at the garden centre. Isn’t it lovely?

Finally for the insect/arachnid section, I have LOTS of bee (and other stripy insects) photos, all of which were taken in the garden.

I’m going to finish with the best photos that we’ve captured on the garden camera since the last post.

We’ve tried to plant even more wildlife attracting plants this year, and I’ve also been a lot less ruthless with pulling up wild flowers and/or weeds and I love all the animals that are choosing to roam round our outside space.

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at all our lovely animals and sorry if the spiders disturbed anyone.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

 

Garden camera snaps

Today is a sad day.

59AA4313-F26B-47BE-8E54-ACD8AAD26253

Today I sold my lovely Juke in readiness for the arrival of my company car. I meant to take a photo of it before I drove it off for the last time, but *sob* I forgot! The photo above was taken three years ago when I brought it home for the first time. I had to trawl through Facebook to find it!

I appreciate that I’m very lucky to be getting a company car, and no doubt there’ll be a happy ‘new car day’ photo when it comes, but just for today, I’m mourning the loss of my baby.

So, I’m going to cheer myself up by showing you some of the best photos that our new garden camera has taken over the last couple of weeks.

I’ll start with the birds. We haven’t caught any small birds although we do get plenty of robins, wrens and various kinds of tits. There have been pigeons, collared doves, magpies and (whoop whoop) jays.

I’m surprised I don’t have more pigeon pics given the number we have frequenting the garden, but these are the three best.

Here’s the collared dove.

1085FEFD-FC8D-4BC2-BBBE-78F00F424C1C

It’s a bit more elusive and seems less food motivated than the other birds.

Magpies, while not the kindest of birds with a questionable moral code, are undeniably striking in appearance.

I moved the camera a bit lower a few days ago to try to get some closer up pics. The camera’s 12mp which is reasonably good, but the clarity goes when you zoom in.

Finally the jays. I’m really pleased by how much they’ve been visiting us. We’ve got loads of photos so it’s going to be harder to narrow these down to just a few.

We’d seen two jays around at the same time and assumed they were a pair, but you can see here that we’ve got four. Maybe a family? Don’t know.

We have squirrels too. I know they don’t have the best of reputations, but I like having them around, they’re little cutie pies, as you can see from my pick of the best below.

The inspiration for the camera, the hedgehog that got caught in our netting that I talked about in a previous post, has only been represented once.

9D546C28-B20D-4B32-9DEF-0C00FFEC92D4.jpeg

I hope the lack of hoggy presence is down to camera shyness and nothing more sinister.

The biggest visitor we’ve had is the fox. He comes for a mooch most evenings. As it turns out, he’s rather partial to prawn crackers and he’s definitely benefitting from me doing Slimming World!

The fox has only visited once in daylight hours, and it’s not the best photo.

19F97B9B-41FF-424B-849B-19EF5CFAE0A3

We’ve managed to capture evidence of harmony between different animals.

There are a few pics that I think should be entitled ‘caption these’.

2C6C225C-E958-41AC-A988-93D7CAAC676C83551395-F661-48D2-9EA5-6F814DB6E539D00CA48E-4615-41D4-86A8-295F9501293714F9CFEB-8807-4A3C-98D8-C10F1B696F3FCE926FE9-259E-4A66-BDF6-5654E5FB57D94AB27A30-658B-4FB7-92DB-018846980922

Spot the animal!

EAEDCE25-6180-4B71-8B39-1D3686326DA6

I’m going to finish on a photo which is simultaneously awesome and awful.

327B713D-59EC-44A2-89FE-4F7FAFEFC6A7

The cat is captured brilliantly but … pretty sure there’s been a murder! There’s no evidence of one in the garden, but that definitely looks like a wing hanging out of the cat’s mouth. Please please please don’t be one of my jays!

I love nature, but sometimes it’s so cruel.