Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Tuesday, 29th April 2008


The fruit trees are blossoming. The Pear has been out for a fortnight but the apples are only just opening.

This is the James Grieve Apple.

There are various flies and hoverflies around at the moment including a lot of these tiny ones. I don’t know what they are and cannot identify them. At about 4mm long they are not the most inspiring species but I love their antennae.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Thursday 24th April 2008


A few more flowers from the garden. I think this Daffodil (one of the few daffodils still flowering) is a Mount Hood.

The Narcissi are at their peak.

And the beautiful Anemone de Caen.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Wednesday 23rd April 2008


I have done some gardening in the sunshine in the last few days. I mowed the front lawn but settled for weeding the back lawn. I took up quite a few Dandelions, each with its own little colony of Pollen Beetles (Meligethes aeneus).

The other insects in the garden were mainly very small flies and the much larger Bluebottles (Calliphora vomitaria). The latter were mostly sun-bathing on brightly reflective surfaces like this one on a yellow tulip.

This delightful plant in the boggy part of my ponds goes by the unfortunate name of American Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton camtschatcensis), a member of the arum family. It is said to have a foul odour but I haven’t experienced that – a combination of a poor sense of smell and the fact that I would have to get rather damp to sniff it.

Hidden away (perhaps too much) in one corner of the garden I have a Sambucus “Black Lace”. A form of Elder, it has beautiful black lacy foliage as its name suggests. It is rather hard to photograph (and appreciate) in its present position and I may well move it in a year or two.

The Viburnum that we inherited is absolutely covered in emerging flowerbuds. It obviously benefited from the drastic pruning that I gave it last Autumn. I love exploring its foliage for insects and today was rewarded with a Two-spot Ladybird (Adalia 2-punctata).

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Thursday 17th April 2008


I had another go at photographing the fish today. Still not brilliant but a bit better than the previous attempts.

I have a lot of Grape Hyacinth scattered around the garden in little clumps but I tend to find they blend too easily into their surroundings. When they have finished flowering I think I shall move them all to a raised bed somewhere and mass them together. When I took a close look at this one to photograph it I found one of the little bells had a tiny beetle in it.

I cut up the last of the willow twigs today. The long green shoots have gone in the Council’s garden rubbish bin and the woodier twigs have gone for kindling for the fire. One of the twigs had a large clump of empty egg cases on it. Probably moth or sawfly eggs.

Plenty of flowers are now coming out as the month progresses and the Yellow Archangel has joined those in the wild flower section.

Wednesday, 16th April 2008


We have a beautiful St Lucie Cherry, planted by the previous owners. Unfortunately it hides behind the shed, the Lilac and the Spruce and can only be seen to its best advantage from the bedroom window.

Some close-ups of the St Lucie Cherry.

This little Viola is called Princess. So appropriate. Given the choice between Pansies and Violas I would always choose Violas because they survive for a few years whereas one is lucky to get a Pansy to last more than one year. We have a few of these little Violas around the garden. They began life in a pot and got separated by accident but seem to have survived alright.

It is not possible to see the winter sunset from our house because one end has no windows. The sun is just now creeping into view at the end of the day.

Centring the camera on the sun so altered the exposure that tonight’s sunset colours were greatly exaggerated but the result looks so good I couldn’t resist showing it.

Tuesday 15th April 2008


It is traditionally said that Spring is here when you can put your foot on seven Daisies. If so, Spring arrived today.

The Flowering Cherry in the front remains at its peak and fortunately we haven’t had strong winds to make it shed its blossom yet.

Monday 14th April 2008


The two big Ash trees in our garden are bursting their buds. It won’t be long before they are covered in flowers and leaves.

At long last I’ve cleared away the dead ivy from the bedroom window. Now all I have to do is clean the window up and paint it. There’s still plenty of ivy left for the House Sparrows to nest in.

It doesn’t matter how difficult it is to eradicate some of our common weeds like the Dandelion. After all, can you think of any flower more attractive than this on a sunny April day? So long as they don’t totally overwhelm the garden they will always be welcome here.

Friday, 11 April 2008

10th April 2008


One of the shrubs which keeps a lot of colourful interest throughout the year is the Photinia fraseri ‘Red Robin’.

I noticed today that some of the leaves have been well chewed.

The only potential culprit I could see were a number of leafhoppers but sao far as I am aware they only suck sap and don't have the mouthparts to chew the leaves.

Some Narcissi are quite early but most of the varieties in our garden flower after the Daffodils. Most of the Daffodils are now dying off but these Narcissi are only just opening.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

8th April 2008


After a wet and very overcast start the day turned sunny and comparatively warm. In the garden the Tulips are beautiful just now.

At the opposite end of the size scale are the tiny Scilla sibirica bulbs.

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned the fish. We have a separate pond for them, on the patio. They are not easy to photograph but I tried sneaking up them today. Must try harder, as my school reports used to say!

Throughout the day, from dawn to dusk we have House Sparrows twittering away around the garden. Far louder than them are the Starlings which sit on the chimneys and gutters making every type of chirp and weird noise, even imitating the Nokia ring-tone on occasion.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Sunday 6th April 2008


Snow overnight but by the time I got outside the sun was shining and what was left was drip dripping off the shrubs and trees.

The snow had rather battered the daffodils but the newly blooming tulips had coped well and will shortly be at their best.

A long-overdue task has been the need to take off a large limb from the Willow. It has been overhanging the doctor’s car park and for the last couple of years I have had to prune the branches every couple of weeks. I could only do the job when the car park is empty and there doesn’t seem to have been a suitable Sunday until today. It was hard work but it’s a job well done.

And there’s plenty of wood for the fire!

Friday, 4 April 2008

Friday 4th April 2008

A beautifully warm morning and I got out into the garden and did some long overdue tidying up. My first live Ladybird of the year was sitting on a rose leaf – presumably trying to absorb some sunlight. It was a Seven-spot ladybird (Coccinella 7-punctata).

Less easily identified (i.e. impossible to identify) was a tiny caterpillar spinning on its silk as it hung from the Leylandii.

In the front garden there are some lovely little double Narcissi.

But the highlight of the day has to be the flowering cherry in the front which is becoming beautiful.