Well what an exciting time it has been in the garden over the last month or so! Not only have we had some great periods of hot sunshine that brought out lots of butterflies, we have recorded many more new species of wildlife almost on a daily basis! In fact I simply haven't been able to keep up with what has been happening and my records and identifications are really behind now!
As I touched on in my previous post, we were privileged to be approached by the BBC and asked if they could film for a Spring Watch special about butterflies and moths in our garden! Now I still haven't got to the bottom of how they got wind of what we have been doing for wildlife in our garden as several people have claimed responsibility!! All I can say is however it happened, thank you very much as we had a great day filming and thoroughly enjoyed the finished program, which had some fabulous content about butterflies and moths.
Martin Hughes-Games was the presenter and meeting him was great as he is a really genuine guy who is exactly the same off screen as he is on screen making the day really good fun! The whole team were in fact superb making it a great thing to be part of and of course promoting what can be done in your own garden for wildlife to a 'massive' audience! Let's hope we inspire a few more people to garden for wildlife and enjoy the wildlife that benefits from their efforts as we continue to do here!
Leading up to the day of filming we had less than two weeks to get the garden looking at it's best. I will confess that I spent every evening after work deadheading, weeding, planting and generally titivating to try and present it as well as I could. Things did get a bit stressful at times as many of the plants that should have been in flower where so far behind thanks to the wet winter and record breaking cold spring we experienced! This made life very difficult and I did use my local nursery to 'plug' a few gaps where we had lost plants from the cold spell.
If you can find a dedicated plant nursery who are reliable and grow a good variety of plants such as Middlecombe Nursery who I use do, then I would recommend that you stick with them. I particularly like Middlecombe as when I visit the plants are absolutely buzzing with bees and alive with butterflies showing that they are healthy and full of pollen unlike many plants that are mass grown and over-bred from abroad!
If you live in the North Somerset area then check out Middlecombe for yourself and get your own garden buzzing! For more info here's a link to their own website that tells you little more about them and the plants they grow... http://www.middlecombenursery.co.uk/General/AboutUs.html The nursery is situated just off of the A370 at Congresbury so is easy and accessible.
So with the onset of a film-crew arriving and having something to film I'm going to show below some of the plants we concentrated on not only for the camera but more importantly for our pollinators who were having an extremely difficult Spring at that time..
As well as the above plants that featured in the garden when filming took place (mid June) was a new plant that I sowed last year and it has proved absolutely irresistible to all types of bees is Campanula Canterbury Bells as below...
So as you can see from above we were relying on a few reliable plants to bring the pollinators in and of course add some much needed colour for the cameras!
The day before filming was planned to take place the heavens opened and we had torrential rain! I couldn't believe it and my already high stress levels were through the roof by now! I was moaning to my wife saying that "I haven't seen a butterfly all week" and "the garden isn't where it should be nothing's flowering when it should!" "There won't be anything to film!!" My wife just retorted that there was no more that I could do and the BBC should be able to get something onto film!
Quicker than expected the day of the shoot arrived, I got out of bed and opened the bedroom curtains in the hope that I would see sunshine and butterflies everywhere; No such luck I realised as I looked out onto an overcast day full of drizzly rain!! This really wasn't what I'd hoped for but it's what the day brought so we just had to go with it.
10am arrived and so did Martin and the crew, I was relieved to see that they were all good fun people and that we should have a fun filled day if nothing else! The cameras and equipment were humped around to the rear garden and I was blown away with what I saw next....
....the crew were stood on the decking open mouthed just admiring the garden, then I got a barrage of compliments and lovely comments about what I had created, which I have to say was somewhat of a surprise and extremely flattering. I think that often you work with something so closely that you don't take a step back admire your hard work and what has been achieved. I'm sure that there is a lesson for all of us there!?
Even better now was that the sun had come out and we could see pollinators starting to flutter around the flowers which had also plucked up thanks to the torrential rain the day before!