Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Somerset Native Wild Flowers & A Big Garden Wash Out!!...

Hello All,

I thought that it was about time that I actually put 'finger to key' and typed an update on what has, or mores the case, hasn't been happening in Higgy's garden!

Well to be honest There isn't very much to say, the wet weather has really put a stop to any sensible gardening as our low lying garden has been extremely 'squelchy' to say the least! In fact we have had days when the garden has sat pretty much underwater with only my (not so dry) dry riverbed preventing the rest of the garden from flooding as you can see below!...

 At about 2 feet deep you can see how my dry river bed became a reservoir with all the water from the garden running into it and draining away! The shear 'wetness' of the garden generally has brought gardening to a stop this year! 

With the garden so wet any thoughts of further projects become impossible! In some ways the wet weather preventing me from getting out hasn't necessarily come at a bad time, as my health hasn't been very good over the last couple of months and I have been laid up for much of it with a bad back and painful hips!

Despite the treacherous wet weather and health issues I have still been secretly planning a few things in my mind and will hopefully share these plans with you over the winter months.

Two things that I have been able to do recently is order wild flower seeds for my wild flower meadow and order a few native trees to plant out along the garden's boundary to enhance the hedges and provide food for insects and birds alike!

So with little else to report this is what I will be trying in 2013...

Wild Flowers 
As last year I will be sowing seeds direct into my meadow and also growing some as plug plants to be planted out in Spring. I have again generally gone for seeds that are native to Somerset or at least the South West where possible. Below is my latest list of seeds that I have ordered from my same supplier as last year Emorsgate Seeds http://wildseed.co.uk/ I have listed the common name with a link to Emorsgate description of each plant and finally its area of origin...

Common Spotted Orchid http://wildseed.co.uk/species/view/43 (Somerset)
Small Teasel http://wildseed.co.uk/species/view/47 (England)
Corn Marigold http://wildseed.co.uk/species/view/7 (Cornwall)
Cat's-ear http://wildseed.co.uk/species/view/66 (Somerset)
Pheasant's-eye http://wildseed.co.uk/species/view/9 (England)
Wild Mignonette http://wildseed.co.uk/species/view/115 (Somerset)
Bladder Campion http://wildseed.co.uk/species/view/131 (Somerset)
Meadow Crane's-bill http://wildseed.co.uk/species/view/58 (Somerset)
Yellow Rattle http://wildseed.co.uk/species/view/2 (Somerset)
Night-Flowering Catchfly http://wildseed.co.uk/species/view/129 (England)
Small Scabious http://wildseed.co.uk/species/view/123 (Hertfordshire)
Greater Knapweed http://wildseed.co.uk/species/view/33 (Dorset)
Common Poppy http://wildseed.co.uk/species/view/8 (Somerset)
Cornflower http://wildseed.co.uk/species/view/6 (Herefordshire)
Corncockle http://wildseed.co.uk/species/view/4 (England)
Square-stalked St john's-wort http://wildseed.co.uk/species/view/220 (England)
Hedge Bedstraw http://wildseed.co.uk/species/view/54 (Somerset)
Nettle-leaved Bellflower http://wildseed.co.uk/species/view/30 (Somerset)
Lesser Burdock http://wildseed.co.uk/species/view/21 (Somerset)
Scarlet Pimpernel http://wildseed.co.uk/species/view/14 (Somerset)
Common Knapweed http://wildseed.co.uk/species/view/32 (Somerset)

As you will see from the above list the large majority of plants that I have chosen are from Somerset or England generally. However there are a few rogue plants in amongst them, which might at first glance seem strange! There is actually some logic to this as I will try and explain. Common Knapweed grows very well in this part of North Somerset and did extremely well for bees last year, so I've included Greater Knapweed in the hope that it will also do well. Attracting more moths to the garden is something that I'm keen to do also so I have included Night-flowering Catchfly which should provide night time nectar for visiting moths! Corn Marigold is a native to Cornwall but having used it for several years I can honestly say that it is one of my best wild flowers for pollinators and only this year I kept it in flower from May until the first 'heavy' frost which was at the beginning of December! So I suppose the conclusion is that I am trying to keep as native to this region as I can, however there are valid reasons and benefits to certain species by adding a few other things into the mix also, so do your research and obviously be prepared to be a little 'flexible' once you've had a season or two and you start to build a picture of what works for you!

The only other thing that I have achieved recently is to get my native trees but I won't bore you with more details now and save it for my next post when I've got some pictures of them to post alongside my rambling words!

Finally I'll leave you with a run down of a few visitors to the garden that have kept me entertained whilst off work with my current injuries....

This Great Spotted Woodpecker is a fairly regular visitor to the garden now. I have also had a couple of visits from a Green Woodpecker although it generally sits in the large Oak tree at the bottom of the garden and out of range for a decent picture!

In November I found several 'Ruby Tiger Moth' caterpillars in amongst the long grass of the wild flower meadow. Having not seen one of these moths before I'm extremely excited to see what other types of species we get in the garden next summer!

My Blackcap pair have continued to visit and seem at home on the fat balls or generally hanging out in the bushes and hedges in the garden! 

It has to be said that it has to be everyone's favourite, the Robin and they never fail to disappoint. This little chap follows anyone who ventures out into the garden (including the dog!) and has also taken to sitting on top of some trellis by the kitchen window so that he can stare in at you as if asking for some food!

Finally some kind of mosquito or gnat which was sat warming itself up in the sun. At only a few millimetres long impossible to ID with the naked eye so I took a quick snap. Unfortunately despite a reasonable picture I still don't have an ID for it! Please feel free to ID this one for me if you can!!?

Well that's about it for now,  lets hope that the weather starts to improve and gives us some decent periods of dry weather to dry the ground out a bit and let us get out into the garden again! I'm really not sure how plants will do with all the wet around their roots and I'm sure next summer will be interesting seeing what has survived what hasn't and if anything has actually thrived from all the wet!?

Next time I will give you a detailed look at my Native trees and my reasons for the species I picked and how they will benefit wildlife in the garden.

As always a huge thank you for reading and following my ramblings! Please do leave comments and feedback as they really help me develop this blog and hopefully make it an interesting read for all to enjoy!?




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