Tuesday, 20 April 2010

We’re waking up


Midgefarm is stirring.


The mice are on the move. A new run under the compost bin keeps Old Podge sternly focused on the upper tier.

094 Meanwhile the mouse has decamped to the roots of the rowan tree two tiers below and sits happily stuffing its cheeks with bird seed.fat mouse fat mouse 2

The blackbird has been singing his heart out all week in the sycamore. 148 Winter still lives in the shade of the woods behind the house209

but even there Spring has crept in.197

201 231 235

Spring, an exhausting time for some.032

Friday, 9 April 2010

Poor Patty Bee

Garden and blog have been neglected for what seems like months and it shows. My poor patch is suffering from the combined effects of a harsh winter and an inattentive gardener. It’s a midden but I console myself with the thought that the birds and bugs don’t care and may even benefit from the mess.

I saw the first bumble bee today (although she may have been around before, I just haven’t been out in the garden to see her.)070

There are very few flowers out, just a few brave primroses 069which I’m not even sure bumbles feed on. Is she a queen? She was paying a lot of attention to the ground and I wondered if she was looking for a nesting site.

And no I haven’t named her Patty Bee, though come to think of it I may do so. The Patty Bee in the title is my poor dwarf rhodie which I don’t think will survive. A winter of repeated freeze/thaws has left a sad, wizened little plant. This time last year she was a riot of pale yellow buds.


But amidst the loss and chaos there are some small triumphs. I planted this globe flower last year. It seemed to take one look at my garden and collapse in a wilted, slimy heap (a not uncommon occurrence among plants and people faced with my midge farm for the first time) but here it is apparently back in strength and making me very happy. 064

Geranium splish splash (grown from seed last year) is looking robust in among the weeds.080

Camellia donation is almost out, many of the buds are frosted but I think there will be enough for a show.084and Mum’s teasels are looking good.091

I’ve been travelling a lot recently hence the Garden of Neglect. This week I was out on the Uists, a network of tiny islands linked by causeways.


At first glance the landscape appears very brown and barren, splashes of colour stand out because they are so unusual.


But then your eye adapts and you realise how beautiful a landscape without trees can be. There are greylag geese grazing everywhere, like rabbits, and the mudflats all around are covered in an amazing variety of wading birds.


It was frustrating that I was working and couldn’t stop but just from the car I think I saw a corncrake and watched a buzzard dive down by the side of the road to take a wriggling vole up in it’s claws.

I had a couple of hours at the end of the visit while waiting for the Loch Maddy ferry. But the tide was relatively high and the terminal didn’t support the population of waders I saw elsewhere


Looking closely however I could see some oystercatchers roosting in the kelp.


And it was peaceful watching the calmac ferry slowly appear on the horizon coming to take me home.


062This post approved for publication by my expert advisor:092