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 ūüėČ
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 ūüôā
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 ūüėČ 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 ūüôā
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 ūüôā
Before I forget below is the gallery of photos…
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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!!!

Its been too long…

Oh my, it has been soooo long since I have updated the blog.¬†Oops. Never mind. Anyway a lot has happened since last time. For example my garden is now more gardeny (you’ll see later) the allotment has gone wild (which you won’t see later¬†– give me a few weeks!!). Elmwood Gardening Show was held and there is some news on the bees. So there is something for more or less everyone today. Firstly I would like to say a big thanks to all who have come to the gardening show. I hope you all enjoyed yourselves and that there was plenty for you all to do. This years activity was hapazome, a¬†Japanese¬†print making technique in which you place flowers or leaves onto a side of natural fabric, in our case bags. I got the idea after watching Alys Fowler’s the edible garden. If you would like to do this yourself it is in the show guide. I would like to attach this PDFwhich is my show guide, which you can print out if you want to if you didn’t manage to pick one up or just have a look through. Luckily the rain held off on the day until right at the end and even then it was only spitting a little bit. Below is few pics from the Gardening Show…

The Food Stand

My Great Nana making a fat ball for the birds

Next the garden in now more gardeny news. After my little tidy up, which was more like an operation, just saying ūüėČ I decided to elminate the veggie element from the borders at home and created bee border mark 3. I am still going to keep the tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and chilli’s in the greenhouse as I can’t let them go, just can’t. The fruit along the fence have had a serious haircut, maybe a little too serious, but never mind. As another thing to prepare for the bees I am in the process of sorting out a mini wildflower meadow to put the beehouse in. It may look a bit bland at the moment however its moment is coming. Writing about bees, my bees will be arriving hopefully between March and June next year and it looks like it is going to be an interesting affair.

Like I wrote, a serious haircut...

Bee Border Mark 3. We've moved into the raised bed

The remnants of bee border mark 2 but the beginnings of the wildflower meadow

Only the greenhouse left to tidy. YAY ūüôā

My Tea Tree Oil Plant from harrogate!!!!

I hope the slugs don't get my chocolate daisy's

Newly planted patio pots

Cyclamen by the Greenhouse

Also I have been to the¬†Harrogate¬†Autumn Flower Show. I think it has been my favourite of the shows I have been to this year. I think it was because it wasn’t that busy and it was full of lots of interesting and unusual things. Here are a few photos from the marquees.

I’m not going to really mention the allotment in this post but in the next post there will probably be a lot more to show you.

Finally could anybody help me with identifying this moth or butterfly. It was on my sedum at the beginning of September. Anyway thats really all that has happened since last time. I hope to see you all later.

Anthony

Elmwood Gardening Show 2011 – August 2011

Well, hasn’t it gone quickly, this Saturday will be 3 weeks until the show. At the moment I am busy making the show handbook and putting the final plans into place.

Firstly I would just like to set out a few instructions for the show.

  1. Please could you bring 2 sheets of cardboard, a hammer and some interesting flowers, petals, and leaves. All will become clear on the show day, and please, please remember to do this!!
  2. Check in your entries upon arrival otherwise your entries will not be counted. This all includes the mini competitions as well as the main one.
  3. Bring in a homemade recipe for the food show and you could always enter this into the food competition. This doesn’t need to be veggie based, it could be anything for example cakes.
  4. REMEMBER to bring your entries and have fun at the show.

Secondly just a reminder of the competitions.

There is the main competition, with the following categories…

  • Tomatoes
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Flowers and Herbs

Then there are the mini competitions, which are as following:

Potty Creations

This is a competition all about making the most interesting and striking planter. You can use the design rules or throw them out altogether and just have mix mash of colour. The only rule for this competition is that you must be able to bring it to the show.

The Best Garden

This is a simple competition in which you will only have to take a picture of your garden from April – August and mount them up in a colourful and eye catching way and bring them down to the show where they will be judged by each other.

The Grow your own Challenge

This is my favourite as the participants will have to grow the following 5 veggies (beetroot, carrots, lettuce, dwarf French beans and a tomato) and bring your produce to the show, and showcase them in an interesting way to will votes. This requires timing as you will have to grow them at the right time.

Finally I would just like to show you all my salad bed. It went a bit wrong early in the year, well June to be precise with all the salad bolting so I sowed it all up again but the flowers decided they were going to take over, especially the nasturtiums and poached eggs. You may have thought I will have cleared it all up but I decided to leave it and well the hoverflies absolutely adore it and with the sedum coming into flower the butterflies and bees are flocking to my garden and seem to all be congregating around my salad bed, so at the moment it’s the insect hub of the garden. That apart from my oak tree which also seems to be a big hit with the hoverflies too. Anyway below are the photos from the garden‚Ķ


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My sunflowers’ have started to come out but they are a bit strange as aren’t sunflowers’ supposed to face the sun, well one does and the other faces the complete opposite direction. It’s a bit strange but I would really recommend this sunflower. It’s a dwarf one called ‘choco sun’ but I would still put them in open ground as they will make strong sturdy multi headed plants.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is one of my many calendula’s which are in full swing at the moment and are being adored by hoverflies as well as me!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a view across my salad bed, you can see what I mean with the sunflowers. You can see the nasturtiums taking over the sides of the beds and the calendulas to the left.

Anyway, keep a look out for more updates towards the show and have a good time this August in your gardens.

Elmwood Gardening Show – July Update

 

Well its just over a month to go until the gardening show now and my garden is growing at a fair rate now with the bee border coming along nicely now with a few new additions from the gardeners world live show and a few more plants will be coming back home with me when I go to  tatton park flower show. It now only needs a Buddleia bush and the plants within it include a phlox, lavender and scabious. Sorry the pic is a bit blurry but its raining and really cold so it was taken really quick but never mind.

The New and Improved Bee Border

 

Below are a few pics from Gardeners World Live. I didn’t really enjoy it this year because it was too busy and it was manic everywhere you went!

With the show coming near expect to see some important details appearing on here for if you are visiting the show: for example what to do when you arrive and how the day will be run however a show guide will be available to  download on my skydrive account.

All links and things will be available on 1st August or the following days. (Meaning I will aim for that day but me being me will probably miss the deadline)

Now for all you internet goers who will not be attending I am trying to find a way in which you could take part if you wanted to. I think the categories will remain the same and there will be one for your gardens too if you don’t have anything else to ‘ show off ‘ !¬† I think you will have to either give a link to photos in the comments section for the new page that will be created for the show day or if you can paste the photo into the comments…I don’t know, I’ll figure that out when I get there!! alternatively you can always email me the photos and I’ll put them on for you ūüôā

All of the winners from this years show will be placed on the blog in the winners post shortly after the show along with all the pictures. I think I will keep you all posted on the show day.

Once again the date for your diaries is

Saturday 20th August 2011

13:30 – 16:30

Hope to see your all then and look out for updates on the show.

Anthony

My Garden Pictures – June 2011

Well school has unfortunately¬†started¬†so¬†I thought I should share with you what I have done during the holiday. I decided to tidy up the garden again and redo the bee border however it’s not just a bee border its the bee and butterfly border (and ladybird, lacewing etc) I don’t think that will catch on though! Below is a photo of the bee border below after it has been extended and planted up a bit.

The New Bee Border

 
I know it looks a bit bare at the moment however give it a few weeks as I’m picking up a load of plants from gardeners world live and tatton park flowers shows. I think the flower below is a scabious. I’ve had it a few years and the bumblebees love it so I moved it into the borders
 

Is this a scabious?

So far the bee border has the scabious, lavender, cosmos, chrysanthemums, sedums and bee balm.
 
My greenhouse is coming along nicely now despite the fact I didn’t buy the things for it. I am going to try New Horizon growbags¬†in there as many people seem to recommend¬†them so I’ll find out for myself how they do and let you know how they fare.
 
Anyway below is a gallery of the pics from my garden.

 

The New Birdfeeders!!!

he first of my things to buy list complete, next its the greenhouse or iphone…have to decide that later. I bought my pole two weeks ago from the RSPB at their Leighton Moss Shop, I think they got a bit of a shock when I went to the checkout as I appeared with all my feeders! It came to the grand old sum of ¬£115. You’re probably thinking that this is a lot, but put it this way I shouldn’t¬†have to buy feeders again for a long time and all the profit that the RSPB gets the more money will go to their wildlife conservation.

Anyway here is a photo of my new birdfeeders and some of the birds that have visited all within 2 weeks of feeding them again.

My New Birdfeeding Station

These are the birds that have so far visited my new pole:

  • Blue Tit
  • Coal Tit
  • Blackbird
  • Starling
  • House Sparrow
  • Goldfinch
  • Chaffinch
  • Greenfinch
  • Collared Dove
  • Woodpigeon
  • Jackdaw

Think that is¬†all that has been for now, my robin, great tit and song thrush haven’t been back but fingers crossed. Here are the bird pics…

 
 

I wonder what will come and visit in the future!!!
Oh and let me know your wildlife experiences too…
 

My Beehive – One Step Closer…

At long last…its finally happened, my beehouse¬†has arrived. I was given my beehouse¬†by a person who recently had to give up bee keeping because of complaints by a neighbour. He has built it all himself and is to national hive dimensions. He has spent the last week or so fixing it up for my birthday. I really do like it, it will offer my garden a bit more rusticness¬†(if that’s a word!!) and the wooden theme is carried through.

The next step is to get my nucleus of bees, this just means the starting point¬†it is a cluster of around 10,000¬†bees and then 1 queen. I may be getting them at the end of july¬†in time for my show or may get them ready for next year. I’ve even planted a bee border close to the hive and is currently being planted up this year. I think¬†I will get¬†some more plants at gardeners world live and the tatton park show.

Below is a photo of my hive, and then below that is a pic of the hive I hope to get in the future if I get into beekeeping! 

This is my new beehouse which will be the perfect starter hive to get me started.

Above is the Omlet¬†Beehaus, this is the house I would like to get if I like beekeeping. I’ll think I will sell honey and put the proceeds towards this.

I hope you’ve liked the first insight in my beekeeping tales and I’ll let you know when the bee’s arrive!

Elmwood Gardening Show 2011 – Introduction

This is a little introduction for all yous who do not know about my show.

I set up my show back in 2009, for some reason I just thought that it was a good idea at the time and that it would be a great incentive to get family and friends to grow your own and add a little competitive edge to it. The show is held in my back garden and it is a great day for every one involved. And here I am 3 years later with my little show, who knows in another 3 years we may be as big as chelsea!!!

These are the categories in my show for 2011 :-

Tomatoes

Vegetables

Fruit

Flowers

Pots and Planters

You may be wondering why there is a category specially for tomatoes. This is because so many people entered them I just decided to create their own category. It is so competitive! I won 2nd prize for my little display last year, which I was quite surprised by as so many others were great. By the way I don’t judge if you are thinking that I am being bias, no my great nana judges it as they don’t really have the room however I may have persuaded her this year so…

Anyway if you are actually coming then take note of this, it has been suggested to have a cookery element of the show, so this will be introduced. Also if you requested a starter pack and have not collected your free plant, then you have until the end of may to collect it otherwise I’ll swap it at the plant swap at gardeners world, you have been told!!
Also for those who are coming, you can easily keep in contact using the comment feature at the bottom of each post!

This was a basic intro to the show for the people who are coming and the May update for the show will be coming soon….