"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Monday, 8 June 2015

#30 Days Wild - Week One

I am sure many of you in the UK have heard about the Wildlife Trusts' "30 Days Wild" project and I know many of you are also taking part. The idea is to make time each day during the month of June to do a Random Act of Wildness to connect with nature and/or help wildlife.

Monday, 1st June

I bought a lavender plant to be planted in my Green Man pot to encourage visits from bees and butterflies. You can never have too many lavender plants in a garden :)

We put up the Bee "hotel" - no visits yet but its early days.

Tuesday, 2nd June

I spent 10 minutes just watching bees on a clump of Thyme in a garden wall - there were visits from Honey Bees, Buff-tailed, White-tailed, Common Carder and Early Bumble Bees plus a Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata). There is something very soothing about listening to the sounds of bees and watching them go about their day to day life.

Wednesday, 3rd June

I decided to visit a local churchyard today to see how wildlife friendly it was. The good news is that the grass has been left to grow among the gravestones and this brilliant border has been planted with pollinator friendly flowers. It was very attractive to look at and Alliums, Geums, Napeta etc. were buzzing with bees :)

A resident had planted Blue Cranesbill geranium around the base of a tree on the grass verge. I have one of these at home and its very popular with pollinating insects.

Thursday, 4th June

I made a brief visit to Winterbourne House and Gardens and spent most of my time in a greenhouse full of carnivorous and insectivorous plants. I find these fascinating and just wish now I had bought a Venus Fly Trap to bring home.

Friday, 5th June

A busy day on Friday so had less time to spend on wildlife. I used to try and read a nature poem every day but have recently got out of the habit so I resolved to begin again starting with some poems by John Clare.

John Clare (1793-1864) is often known as "the peasant poet". He was the son of a farm labourer and lived in the village of Helpston, Northamptonshire, for the first 40 years of his life. Clare had a great gift of observing and writing about the minutiae of nature and rural life at a time when enclosures were changing the landscape. Sadly, he spent the last years of his life in a lunatic aslyum.

Had a surprise in the post today - really looking forward to reading this book :)

Saturday 6th June

Spent half an hour today wandering round the garden looking closely at plants and insects with a magnifying glass and hand lens. Only one photo today as I couldn't get the camera to focus through the glass and lens!

Sunday, 7th June

Yesterday I spent an hour sitting quietly and observing a small area (about a metre squared) of the wildflower "meadow".

At first you notice just the flowers but as time goes on you notice the different textures, colours and shapes of the leaves and flowers.

A Tree Bumble Bee Queen whizzed past me on her way to alkanet flowers and I could hear the constant buzzing and humming of bees feeding on this plant behind me.

You start to notice lots of tiny insects clambering among the leaves

and I watched the journey of this spider for many minutes.

Sadly, my peace was shattered as B decided to start mowing the lawns! I could easily have sat there for another half an hour.


Chris Rohrer said...

That sounds like a great challenge. I really love the plant choices and box. Very good. I created my first sparrow pile for the birds. It's tricky because you want to make it look nice and neat but piles are still piles.

Hope you are well. Chris:)

David Turner said...

I love that churchyard, especially all the alliums, and I only wish more parishes adopted a more wildflower & wildlife friendly mowing regime.

Insectivorous plants are fascinating aren't they and it was great to see the specimens you saw the other day at Winterbourne. I remember it was in David Attenborough's 'Private Life of Plants' that I first saw some of the plants you have photographed and to this day that series is actually my favourite 'Attenborough' series :-)

Kindest regards and here's hoping for more wildlife filled days through the remainder of June :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer - Thanks so much Chris - yes I am fine thanks and I hope you are too. B has been cutting down lots of bamboo - so have lots of bamboo sticks now and am hoping to make a much bigger insect house. We have a log pile up in the wooded area which grows by the year and as you say piles are still piles!! But hopefully a good place for insects and years ago it was used by hedgehogs :)

David Turner - Thanks very much David. I was really chuffed with the churchyard border - so excited by it I went back home to fetch the camera as I'd only spotted it whilst driving past. There was something so lovely about the way it was humming with so many bees. I agree with your comment about more parishes adopting a more wildlife friendly approach - problem some have I think is that some parishioners prefer a neat manicured approach thinking that an unmown one is untidy :( Really do approve of the God's Acre project and approach.

Yes, love insectivorous plants too - we have had Venus Fly traps in the past although sadly they never seem to last long. I think you can grow them outdoors certainly in the summer months - might be worth a try. In fact, when I return to Winterbourne, if they still have some will buy one! I enjoyed that DA series too - I have them all in a boxed set and all the books (two signed by DA himself - treasured possessions!!!!).

Kindest regards to you too David and many wildlife wonderful days in June for you too - I think you are going to have some very special encounters in your new cottage garden :)

Toffeeapple said...

Those Alliums are gorgeous. I do love to see the bees busy on the lavender and other blooms. We have a lot of Tree Bumbles around here, they are so distinctive in their colouration. I also have a couple of Bee Flies around here which is rather neat because they lay their eggs on the larvae of the Miner Bee, which make their nests in my lawn.

We are back to very cold temperatures today, 10C maximum so far!

Lovely post, as usual, thank you.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

the bee hotel I bought my parents has drawn a big fat zero visitors so far.

My library has lavender in the gardens. Bees love it, as do I.

Countryside Tales said...

Matthew Oates was doing a signing for his new book near me on Sunday and I was already booked to be elsewhere! Grrrr. I must get a copy too. Did you see him on Springwatch last week talking about Emperors?

Sounds like you've been having a lovely start to June. You have given me the nudge I needed to create a herb garden (ours are mostly in pots). I have a spare patch of land and have been humming and haaing about what to do with it and now I know. I must have been waiting for your post :o)

CT x

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good week and it's a great project which I hope will encourage more people (unlike ourselves!) to take some time out of their busy lives to just stop and smell the roses, so to speak! You are right about the lavender! Also spending a little time just watching a little wild area makes you notice so much more. The churchyard garden is lovely and I can just imagine how that sounded with the bees. Lovely photos too! :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Thanks so much. We used to have some mini alliums in the garden but they eventually stopped flowering although the leaves still come up! I really have to get some for next year - saw some white ones today when out and they are beautiful too. We get Tree Bumbles here too although I haven't seen as many as last year when they nested in our house roof! Glad to hear you have bee flies in the garden - they are amazing :)

Yes, its been cold here again today too :( Its not like June at all and last night the temperature dropped to around 4 degrees!

Simon Douglas Thompson - Thanks Simon. Lavender is a great plant for gardens. I've only had leaf cutter bees use my bee hotels and they tend to appear a bit later in the summer so fingers crossed your parents' bee house will get visits from them. It will be worth the wait :)

Countryside Tales - I was very lucky that the book arrived in same post as the new BT internet hub which distracted OH as I am not supposed to be buying any more books!! Just couldn't resist that one though - do so love Matthew Oates. Yes, I saw him on Springwatch :) What an awful shame you couldn't go to his book signing. He's given a talk round here at Calke Abbey and also led a butterfly walk at Charlecote I think it was. Afterwards I really regretted not going and will make the effort if he does something similar locally again. He has such passion for butterflies :)

B's planted the herbs in a stone wall that edges the patio area and he's growing a few more like sage from seed to add to the collection. I really would like to get some fennel. Good luck with creating yours :)

Anonymous - Is the comment from you again MMM? Its so weird the way it sometimes comes up as anonymous and sometimes from you. Thanks so much. My son had read somewhere recently about a horrendous percentage of people who had never heard a cow moo or sheep go baa! I can't imagine a world without nature and the countryside and its so sad that many are missing so much. It would be a really great project for children I think and I hope loads and loads of schools are taking part.

Went to a Garden today and spent ages watching bees again and saw my first damselflies - at long last :)

amanda peters said...

Lots of lovely wild things going on at your house, love the church yard and I looked at the book after seeing him on un-sprung, which has been so good this year, lots of interesting guests. Plantlife man was on to night, shouted at the TV, "come to my house and lets talk about linear plots mate"
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - lol Amanda - your last sentence had me in stitches!!! :) Still giggling now :) Sadly, I missed Unsprung tonight as OH and son wanted to catch up on a programme they had recorded :) Springwatch has been good this year although haven't watched every single one. The Matthew Oates book looks good :) His eccentricity and passion is just brilliant! :)

Millymollymandy said...

Yes that was me and in fact I was looking for your reply and wondering where my comment was!! Then I found it. I could swear I check that it is set on MMM before I hit post. Very odd. :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Millymollymandy - its now come up as MMM - it really is strange. Perhaps its the very basic and ancient blog set up I use? For example, on my other blog I can actually reply to individual comments but can't on this one. Hence creating a new comment each time.