Our Gardens and our Pollinating Insects

Well hello there internet friends. I might have slightly neglected this blog..again but oh well it’ll fine. So really I’ve come to ask for some help from you guys for a project that I am undertaking at college which comes in the form of a little survey and poll. Which will be below after I give you a little overview about what it’s about.

So as the title entails my report is going to be about our gardens and our pollinators but more specifically I’m going to research about what we do as gardeners and horticulturists. For example do you provide habitats for bees by providing bumblebee houses or give a selection of what plants you grow that you think is beneficial to the pollinators. I’ll do an example just to get the ball rolling and if you have any queries or want to add anything else just comment at the bottom! I’d love for you guys to comment some of your favourite insect friendly flowers!

And please remember to like and subscribe to me and share this post with your friends so I can get a bigger response and get a varied response.

I promise to actually do something and make this blog a more regular occurrence (I know I keep saying this but it WILL happen) So come back I will try to post every Monday, so come back next week and I’ll update you all on like everything, and also I’ll have a more regular look through all your posts because you guys are awesome!

Anthony x

The Amazon. It’s more than just a rainforest.

The amazon, it’s more than just a rainforest.
It’s on your sole,
It’s on your skin,
It’s on your tongue,
Sometimes you eat it,
Perhaps one day, it might even save your life,
It already kind of is,
It regulates our climate,
And the very air we breathe.
It’s amazing,
Inspiring,
It’s essential
AND WE CAN HELP PROTECT IT.

I’m sharing this with you all because the Amazon Rainforest is in trouble and needs our help in our to safeguard its and our future, as without it our planet simply couldn’t support us. Sky and WWF have teamed up together and have pledged to save 1 billion trees.

I dare the world to save the planet,
So why not join the Sky Rainforest Rescue Campaign, once you’ve signed up and supported them,
Share this post,
And together,
Lets show the Amazon the love that it deserves.

I’m baaaacckkkkk, and for real this time

Hello everyone, after a rather odd time I’ve decided to resurrect the old blog however this time I think I’m going to start taking it a little bit more seriously. So my new take on my blog as it would be is going to start putting how to’s on, future ideas, reviews amongst other things. So this is a rather short post just informing you all at the moment so before I end it and begin working in new things I’ll just get you all up to speed. So I’m still at college and dislike it intensely, I’ve taken my garden back and the turf goes down tomorrow symbolising its new beginning.
Think that will do so one final note, I would love to get more people reading my blog and so it would mean a lot if you could share posts to Twitter, Facebook and onto your WordPress or other blogs. You guys can follow me on those platforms too if you so wished, I love talking to you guys. Also if you have any questions you would like to ask or any ideas you think would be of an awesome inspiration be sure to comment below.
Thanks for reading this and look forward to connecting with you all in the future….
Anthonyy

Let it grow, Let it grow…

Hello, Hello, long time no see to this blog, thought I better update it and get back into the swing of things. So what’s changed then? Um well not much, the garden still hasn’t been finished so there’s not a lot I can do in there really until it has been so there’s nothing to do really. Everything has had to be called off because the garden isn’t complete so no show this year. Well I can’t do anything until it has been so I’m like not going to do anything till it has been. Enough of that because I could easily spend a blog post moaning about the garden so I’m not going to.

So I read somewhere recently that it takes about 7 trees to offset an average uk families carbon emissions. This got me thinking about things. If people just planted one tree, they would be making a difference. Not only would they be reducing their own CO2 emissions but they would be creating a new mini biodiversity by providing the tree. You will attract the butterflies and their caterpillars which in turn would attract the hungry birds. As your tree began to grow, evolving and changing the more creatures it will be able to support in its fragile and complex eco-system. As it begins to mature you may see the squirrels clambering through and even maybe have hungry jays feasting on acorns.

I’m going to leave some simple instructions on what you need and how you do it. I’ve done it, I did it all the way back in 2004 and now my oak sapling is starting to overtake me in height. Any queries you have will hopefully be answered in the instructions to follow. If they aren’t just leave a comment or tweet me and I’ll get back to you 🙂

So What Do I Need to do???

1. Firstly you need to gather a few bits and in order to partake in this activity. It’s perfect to do with anyone so you could even get children involved and plant their own which they can grow up with. You need will need some Compost, A large pot, An English Oak Acorn or two. Below is an image of an English Oak with its leaves and acorn, it is fairly easy to identify. The acorns will soon be ready to collect, they usually start to ripen in September, but get out quickly otherwise the squirrels will get them before you do!!

You want to collect the ripe brown acorns

2. After you’ve collected your acorns and things you are ready to start. Fill your pot/s with compost and firm down. 

3. Plant ONE acorn per pot. This is to eliminate competition between saplings. Push down so the acorn is covered. 

4. Patience is now required. Now you need to place your newly planted acorns in a quiet part of the garden in order for them to overwinter. As acorns have to go through a winter before they will germinate.

5. Check on your pot the following spring and hopefully your new oak sapling will have started to grow.

6. The final step is to repot your tree when you see roots come through the bottom 0f your pot and either plant out into the garden or repot into a larger pot.

I hope that you will give this a try and if you do I will gladly help anyone with any problems and would love to see the saplings progress. I chose the English Oak because it is a native species to England and if you are reading this from another part of the globe simply replace this with a native species of your own 🙂

My Oak Tree this Spring

Anyway I hope you take up this small challenge if you don’t then please share this message. Just doing one thing can start to help the planet. I hope you liked this post and my new look blog 🙂 The fonts should look like this but I’m not paying $30 for them. You’ll just have to use your imagination 😉

It suits the theme and everything, I really want them

Say NO to Gas Storage, Say NO for the LAST time…

I have decided to write this to show my frustration and concern over Halite energy’s plans to create 19 UNLINED caverns beneath the River Wyre which would store 900,000,000 cubic metres of gas. We have an action group, Protect wyre group, http://www.pwgroup.org.uk

I have posted some information onto this blog post regarding the plans.

Halite Energy (previously called Canatxx) wants to create
19 unlined caverns in the layered salt 300m beneath the
River Wyre to store 900mcm of natural gas.

Have you any idea how much gas this really is?

900,000,000 m3
of Gas =
18,000 of these!

Placed in a line, these
would stretch from Wyre
to the Middle of France!

Have you any idea how near to your home this will be?

The proposed site will be within half a mile of Fleetwood,
Knott End and Preesall, 1 mile from Thornton, 2 miles from
Cleveleys and 3 from Poulton.

Let’s put a STOP to this scheme NOW!

There are also numerous reasons why you should object to these plans as the website shows…..

1 The Unsuitable Geology of the Preesall Salt
At about 300m, this proposed underground gas storage scheme would be the shallowest and therefore potentially the most dangerous in all Europe. The Preesall salt bed is split by numerous faults any one of which could be a route along which escaping gas might migrate.

Gas travelled 8 miles underground from similar geology in Kansas in 2001 before mixing with air, exploding and causing fatalities. Many homes, on both sides of the river, are within half a mile of the proposed site.

2 Gas Migration Risk to Fleetwood, Thornton & Cleveleys
Under the Wyre there is a massive fault which brings the salt bed next to the porous sandstone bed which underlies Fleetwood, Thornton and Cleveleys. If the stored gas were to escape into the sandstone it could build up, travelling miles and miles along faults, cracks, pipes and sewers, eventually rising up to the surface in and around properties.

3 Gas Migration Risk to Over Wyre Villages
Similar faults occur on the Over Wyre side of the estuary. Here there is added concern because the gas could escape into the network of old brine wells, abandoned pipes and the old salt mine where for 100 years ICI have put water down shafts and pumped up the dissolved salt. This area of salt is riddled with huge holes resulting in the ground collapsing over much of the area. Yet it is so close to the site of the caverns, which raises concerns about how far escaping gas could migrate eastwards towards the Over Wyre villages.

4 Potential of a Well Head Explosion
Accidents can never be ruled out. Technology is not foolproof and human error must never be discounted. If gas escaped from a cavern and rose to the surface at a well head, it could mix with air and explode. The Wyre Way, a well used public right of way, runs past the well head area. If an explosion occurred anyone close to the well heads would have little chance of survival.

5 Evacuation of Thornton – Fleetwood Peninsula – Over Wyre
An explosion may not happen straight away. Under certain conditions a cloud of gas could drift in any direction towards settlements on both sides of the Wyre. In those circumstances how could the residents of Fleetwood, Thornton and Cleveleys be protected? How would you evacuate 60,000 people from a peninsula with just one road out? Equally, evacuation of Over Wyre residents would be difficult, if indeed possible.

6 The Scheme would provide a New Terrorist Target
Unlike all other dangerous installations of this type, this site would not be ring fenced with security fencing and the open nature of the site and its proximity to residential areas could present itself as a terrorist target.

7 Ecological Damage from Discharge of the Brine at Rossall
50 million tonnes of saturated brine, the result of washing out the caverns, will be dumped into the sea off Rossall School. This will have a serious adverse effect on the sea bed life and fisheries.

8 Destruction of Countryside and Wild Life
The Wyre estuary is an important internationally recognised wild life area given special protection because of its bird life and salt marshes. The caverns would be created under these marshes. The land between Preesall and the coast is peaceful countryside which has great ecological and amenity value.
This proposal would destroy all this and create an industrial landscape.

9 Impact on Recreational Use & Landscape
People enjoy the walks and the views from the eastern side of the Estuary. The Wyre Way is part of the Lancashire Coastal Path but the industrialisation of this area and the noise would destroy the peace and enjoyment which so many people value, if indeed the Wyre Way was allowed to remain open.

10 Long Term Effect on House Prices and Insurance
What effect will gas storage have on house prices in adjacent areas? If an accident did happen then the negative effect on house prices and subsequent insurance premiums would be felt over a wide area.

Residents around the area have been sent these letters….

Dear Resident

There have been 3 previous applications to store vast quantities of gas at great pressure (about 1,000psi) in caverns which will be created by dissolving the salt bed which lies west of Preesall and extends under the Wyre Estuary.

These caverns would be enormous – up to 300 metres high and 100 metres in diameter – and they would be close to your home – within half a mile of Fleetwood, Knott End and Preesall, a mile from Thornton, 2 miles from Cleveleys and 3 from Poulton.

For each of the three previous applications you were magnificent. An average of 10,000 of you on each occasion wrote in to object. It was largely because of your letters that the schemes were turned down.

Now there is a fourth application (the Halite one) and once again we need you to play your part.

Have a read about the proposed scheme and our objections to it and then simply complete the on-line Response Form or download blank copies to fill in and then either send it to the Protect Wyre Group or deliver it to one of the drop off points.

We will present your letter to the Planning Inspectors as part of the evidence we will be giving.

We urge everyone in your house to send in an objection. It is one letter per person and not one per home. Your family and friends can also object even if they live outside the area – their concerns for your well-being carry just as much weight.

What else can you do to help? It’s easy and very effective – simply encourage everyone in your family to fill their forms in, encourage your friends and neighbours to complete theirs.

Please, Please take the time to read this information, comment, share and spread the word. I don’t think this is getting the recognition that it deserves as we don’t need it and corporate greed is influencing our areas future. So please, tweet, facebook, press this, reblog whatever, this issue needs addressing!

Finally if you are wondering what you can do to help, you can also fill out the Response Form on the Protect Wyre website, I’ve included the link. Even though you may not be a resident you can express your concern about the plans and for the saftey and well being of its residents. Please, Please do so, you have until 16th May and it won’t take more than 5 minutes!!!!

So before I go, if I haven’t convinced you, I live in Preesall, less than a mile away, imagine you are in my predicament, imagine the panic and pandamonium that would go on if something happened! And there would be over 60000 others to contend with!

Please, read, share and fill out the form. It would mean the world to me and hopefully safeguard my areas future…..

P.S For more info log onto the Protect Wyre Group Website

Goodbye Allotment and Hello New Garden…

Well if you read my last post you will know that I am redesigning my garden after a rather harsh winter on my garden, what with the wet weather earlier on as well as the chickens coming home and completely destroying what was left (so thanks for that) Anyway after much deliberation I am pleased to show you my garden plan…

My new garden

It has traces of my allotment in it as you can see with the layout of the beds. These will be done with railway sleepers so it should hopefully have a nice finish. I’m also turning my greenhouse around and the cat house will be moving net door. Hopefully at the end of march/april my garden will be ready.

Which now brings me to my allotment. I have decided to give it up as the people who own it have decided to move so I thought I might as well, at least everything will fit into my garden I suppose.

Finally I was wondering what to do with the roundabout, well its not a roundabout here, its a squareabout?? I have been watching bees, butterfiles and blooms and that has kind of inspired my to have a meadow, so maybe a mini raised up meadow would have a nice effect. Anyway if you have any ideas please suggest them.

One final note is that I am one step closer to have my bees. I go to my first bee meeting in a couple of weeks and start to learn about how to look after them, so watch this space…

Allotment 2012

I’ve finally managed to get round to going to the allotment today. The dreaded task of tidying up has caught up with me. Actually it wasn’t as dreaded as I thought it would have been, i mean it could have been a lot worse weed wise than it was:

A little weedy, but nothing serious

That said at least my shed roof was still on unlike my nana’s…

She's gone to fix that now...

I have a few projects I would like to do at the allotment this year. My first one is making a herb spiral on my roundabout, which I will probaby do later on in the year.The herbs in the old patch will move up to the roundabout. My second project is creating a mini pond and bug hotel where the mint patch is. The mints will move to the old herb patch.

While I was looking about I found that my purple sprouting broccoli was just beginning to show signs of a harvest to come…

Something survived the storm

I got quite a bit done, well for me anyway! I dug over and weeded one of my beds, only real disaster was that a rhubarb plant has died, which I thought was fairly weird. I started to weed one of my other beds but decided to go home as it started to rain.

Thats Better!

Also I discovered a load of strawberries which I think I’m going to pot on and grow but for now they can go back into the bed.

Strawberries 😀

Finally I would just like to show you a photo of the cheeky robin that follows you around the allotment. Today it went inside the shed looking about, I couldn’t photograph it inside but got one of it sat in the bushes…

"What you lookin at"

Leighton Moss – Friday 28th October

Firstly I think a change of theme is in order, so don’t worry you’re still in the right place!! I have changed from greenery to itheme2.

Anyway, onto the post. Last Friday I went to Leighton Moss, an RSPB nature reserve in Silverdale, Lancashire. I went mainly to get the last of my christmas presents but because I hadn’t gone round it for a while I thought we might as well, we being my nana and grandad.

I set of with a plan. I wanted to try to spot:

  • Marsh Harriers
  • Bearded Tits
  • Bitterns
  • Otters
I’ll put all the photos in a gallery at the bottom for you to look through (as well as the occasional one in the writing) don’t worry I’ll put labels on if you don’t know what they are 😉
Firstly I saw a Robin, stood literally a metre or two away from me.

Robin

We went to Lillian’s hide first, the biggest hide at Leighton Moss. There was where I saw the first thing on my list, the marsh harriers, quite a rarity but they are breeding at the reserve. You may or may not be able to see them on the photos as I have an awful camera, but if you want to have a look at them they will be just above the reedbeds. There was mainly teals, mallards, wigeon and pochard at the hide oh and absolutly loads of coots!!!
Next we went right to the other end of the reserve to the public and lower hides. On the way you go down the causeway path in which the staff have put up grit trays for the bearded tits. I learned that they change their diets so that they don’t have to migrate in the winter. In summer they eat the bugs on the reeds and then they eat the seeds off the reeds in winter. The reason they need grit is too digest the seeds. There was nothing on the grit trays however just before them there was a flock of around 15 bearded tits feeding on the seeds. Number two on the list gone 🙂
Bearded tit (in the middle)
Bearded tit (on tree)
The next hide was the Public Hide. There we saw a few comerants, great created grebe, a few black headed gulls and the odd mallard duck, not very exciting I know but its all part of the experience.
After a very long walk to the Lower hide and a walk through a wood (seeing some goldcrests) , I was beginning to get a bit excited as this hide was where you had the biggest chance of seeing the otters. Well unfortunalty we didn’t see one but you haven’t herd the best of it yet. Just after leaving the hide I asked what time was it and it was 12:25. What’s that got to do with it your all thinking, well I went onto the recent sightings page on their website and guess what. At 12:30 the otters made a brief appearance. I was like nooooooo. Anyway at the lower hide I did see some more coots and mallards oh and a swan. There was more great crested grebes about 5. I love seeing them dive in the water and bob back up again.
So then after are ‘near’ encounter we went to the tim jackson and griesdale hides. I’ve gotten mixed up to which ones were which but never mind. At one of them I saw nothing but teals, hundreds of them. I also saw a great white egret flying over head. Then at the other hide I saw 6 red deers. However because of the sun, you had to be very careful that you didn’t blind yourself 😉 Someone very kindly let me look through their telescope at them as they had it set up on them. Last year I think it was, was when I saw a baby deer.
Unfortunately no bittern, however I think it says that one did fly over, that must have been later, never mind better luck next time. I will see one 🙂
Finally on the way back to the visitor centre we stopped off at the bird feeding station. I saw blue,coal and great tit. Greenfinches, chaffinches and some more ducks.
Overall I had a really good day and can’t wait for my next visit, and who knows, maybe I’ll get my bittern and otter 🙂
Before I forget below is the gallery of photos…

Kew Gardens

Yesterday I went to The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. It was a long way to go, up a 6 to be on the platform at Lancaster for 7:30. The train journey wasn’t so bad and I managed to direct us around on the underground (with the help of my iPod) The underground trains don’t hang about, whizzing round.

Anyway I had an afternoon to explore the gardens after meeting with somebody about learning at kew. Because we had limited time we only really went to the main attractions but even though they were still amazing. Here are some of the photos I took when I was there.

The Alpine House, I think...

 

Scilla Maderensis

 

A fern in the Princess of Wales Conservatory

 

An orchid of some sort also in the conservatory

 

The Princess of Wales Conservatory

 

I enjoyed the conservatory, it is very modern looking. It contains 10 different climatic zones and is full of plants including ferns, orchids and cacti.

The Palm House

 

Weeping Willow by the lake?

 

Inside the palm house

 

double coconut leaf??

 

Round weird fruit thing

 

These photos are from the palm house, it was really hot and humid and my mum nearly died from the palm house because of the humidity which I found rather funny because we had to rush out quickly.

The Japanese pointy thing (right in the distance)

 

The temperate house

 

The stairs up the tree top walk

I couldn’t leave with out going around the tree tops walk. It was really high up. If you walked on it a certain way it shook and it shook in the wind which wasn’t to my mum’s taste.

A view on the tree tops

 

Some strange tree that I can't remember the name of, it looks cool though!

Before leaving we went on this holly walk as my mum likes them, we found this yellow berried holly and this sort of weeping holly

Yellow Holly

 

Weeping holly

 

Finally  before leaving London we went to covent garden for a look round and then headed back to euston where I swear I got eye and neck strain from staring at our train on the departure board slowly edging its way across…

Before I go, I have had a dramatic development in my garden, A sparrowhawk attack at my bird feeders. It ate one of my starlings and made guard cats fluff up scared, it would probably eat them given half a chance as they are so gormless.

The sparrowhawk, you better not come back or else....

 

...I'll send my one of my guard cats out, oh and by the way the cat was watching TV while I took this

Reconnect With Nature…

Reconnect With Nature

An idea for a new project that people anywhere you can do. I used to be much more naturey than I am today and am wanting to ‘reconnect’ with the natural world.  I am posting this to encourage more people to do so. So spread the word!!! There are two ways in which you can do this, read on to find out about them…

The First Way

For this you would choose a local patch or nature reserve. Then for one day each month in 2012, you would visit your patch and just look around. You could look at the changes in birdlife, pond-life or the wild flowers each month or just generalize and look for anything. If I was doing it this way I would choose the RSPB reserve Leighton Moss in Silverdale, Lancashire. It is my closest RSPB reserve and it is where I get my bird food from so I might as well go round at the same time.

or you could choose

The Second Way

For this way you choose a different place to go each month. For example for one moth you could stick to your local patch and then the next go on a walk or to a nature reserve. You can go anywhere with this project and you can see a whole range of wildlife.

 

If you are a blogger you could post your visits if you wanted to and let the whole world in on what you have seen. I’ll be doing this!!! If you are not just write down what you see in a book, take photos and or even make a nature scrapbook, when you can stick whatever you find into your book.

Finally a quick message too, you can always just stop in your garden and see what you can find. Most importantly if you don’t already FEED THE BIRDS!! They are having a bit of a tough time at the moment with the previous winters and now avian pox they really do need your help. For any extra help look on the RSPB website. They have a load of reserves and lots of information and if your a member your entrance is free!!! Just have a search around for any places to go.

I will keep you all updated with the project and if you are looking to take part don’t hesitate to ask anything. Also finally, finally I will post any ideas on here for different things to do during the project!! I hope you will take part!!!