Sunday, July 12, 2009


It's not been a bad weekend. The weather's been a bit up and down (OK then, a lot up and down - very warm yesterday afternoon, cool evening, bright sunny Sunday morning, torrential rain at lunchtime, another cool evening). England scratched a draw against the Aussies despite it all. Lancashire beat Worcestershire by seven wickets and a day to spare. I've been making a pig of myself with fruit from the garden, and not yet into the pear, plum and apple season. The rowan's looking like there'll be plenty for jelly this year and a good bout of sunshine in August is all that's needed for a feast of figs. The geraniums are mostly gone over, just providing a huge carpet of downy leaves in various shades of green and red. The pelargoniums have just started flowering and look very promising. As do the new carnations and pinks (I ordered a pile of very old varieties for to put into hanging baskets and containers on the patio). The garden's messy and a bit neglected but it's mostly fun in its way. Even if the slugs have eaten all the vegetables.

The goldfinches are on their second broods now. I'm not sure if the pair of fledglings that have been sitting on the outhouse roof this afternoon are this pair's first or second lot. Last year we got three broods. I think largely because I provided about two ton of niger seed for them. It's looking that way again this year. I also seem to be feeding a couple of dozen starlings, though it looks like they don't like the "Berry Essence" fat cakes (all the other flavours struggle to last a day). The wrens have been nesting in the brambles on the embankment again. Back in the days when the garden was more open I used to have the treat of seeing the wrens taking the new bods out for their first forays. These days there's so much cover I seldom get to see them, which in many respects is a shame but is rather safer for all concerned. The cock wren is often in evidence, he particularly likes foraging his way through the hanging baskets and the tree heathers. The blue tits and great tits are nesting behind the garages down the road. They've not been overly productive this year: already I'm being visited by a mixed flock of a pair of great tits and two juvenile blue tits, which suggests that it's been a poor year and the great tits have given up.

The adult robins aren't much in evidence lately, with the cock only singing at dawn, which suggests they're busy. I am getting a regular visit from one of their youngsters though. My garden traditionally is an overlap area between two robin territories, it isn't that unusual to see two pairs on the feeders. This time of year it becomes a temporary territory-in-miniature for the juveniles. It gets a bit fractious in the early autumn when the moult's completed and they all notice each others' red breasts and bad tempers.

I'd started to wonder about the robins as even they couldn't have been shifting mealworms at the rate they were going. Sure enough, it turns out that the collared doves have figured how to use the worm feeders. It isn't quite as ridiculous as the wood pigeons dangling upside down on the fat feeders.


Madame DeFarge said...

This sounds positively idyllic. We mowed the lawn and watched the usual influx of blackbirds. Other than that, our gardens remains resolutely moribund. You are going to shame me into putting out bird food to tempt the birds from our holly hedge.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Nice, Kev. Our garden is also looking in the pink. My heirloom tomatoes are juicing up nicely and my broad beans (an unknown crop over here) have been impressing the natives. Got Portaluca blooming on me new rockery, the snap-dragons, cornflowers, balsams and marigolds are in full flower, but I'm afraid your namesake Kevin the Camelia has finally popped it's Lancashire clogs - though the Campsis next door to it is still very healthy... strange. The woodpecker returned briefly, and it the woods a few weeks ago we saw our first hoopoe here.

Lulu LaBonne said...

We don't get many birds here on account of all the neighbours cats (obviously I keep a gun at my side in case I catch any of the bastards in the garden but they still sneak in).

Nice to hear about yours though. Slugs have got most of my greens, the flowers have been attacked by mouldy fungus...

Gaw said...


Our garden is rampant this summer. Must have had some near-perfect growing weather, what with the warmth and (mostly) regular showers.

Spring must have been kind too: we have the biggest crop of pears in prospect since we moved here five years ago.

I just wish we had fewer cats around here. Little killing machines.

worm said...

that was a nice read! Im currently learning how to garden, having only recently bought my first house, it's quite difficult balancing colours and flowering times and things - and frustrating that if you get it wrong you have to wait a whole year to try again!

oh well, it's all good fun

I have a particularly viscious attack-robin who lives at the end of my garden.
He's always there, sitting on the wall and squaring up to you with his cold black eyes, daring anyone to invade his patch

KAZ said...

We get lots of green but rarely gold. They probably can't compete.
Watch out for those Robins - I hear they sometimes fight to the death.

Red Squirrel said...

Your garden sounds pretty cool!

That draw in Cardiff was something else though :)

Jimmy Bastard said...

There's something magical about watching a robin at work. I would have to say that Mother Nature created a stunning creature in the form of the robin.

Scarlet-Blue said...

I'm being visited by a mixed flock of a pair of great tits and two juvenile blue tits

Quite right too - Mrs P and I are back from our hols, and great tits never, never, give up.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Mme dF: don't be fooled, my garden's a mess! A few bits of bread are the thin end of the wedge, I'll soon be having to give them suckling pig.

Gadjo: shame about the Camellia. Envy you the woodpecker and hoopoe!

Lulu: I've bought two big boxes of nematode worms for the slugs. I'm hoping the worms will eat the slimy buggers from the inside out.

Gareth: looking good for pears up here, too. I'm looking forward to perhaps actually getting to eat one myself this year!

Welcome Worm! You describe all the fun of gardening in a nutshell. (-:

Kaz: some of the February morning battles royal are a bit hair-raising!

Ta, Squirrel. I'm hoping the England batsmen forget how to get themselves out dozily next time.

You speak the truth Jimmy.

Ah, Scarlet, the voice of teh Maidenform bra.

inkspot said...

Our garden consists of 2 sq yards of grass. It looked fantastic until the dog started pissing on it and now it only looks diseased.

Hope this brightens your day.