Camassia, May 2005

Above: Blue Camassia, May 2005

Garden diary: April

31 May 2006 - May marvels

I've just put a Richard Jefferies piece on the front page, and particularly liked: 'From the tiny mottled egg come the wings that by-and-by shall pass the immense sea', which reminded me of the swifts. It is always fantastic when the swifts arrive, from their long journey across the 'immense sea', as they did earlier this month (see posting below, 4 May).

All green & growing

Everything in the garden is big and lush, much to the delight of the snails. In the early days of gardening I did make determined efforts to collect up snails and dispose of them, but after so many years of gardening I've got that more laid-back attitude gardeners often get, realising that once you've got a lot of enormous leafy plants, you can share a few leaves with the snails. On recent rainy evenings I've watched them all gliding silently from their hiding places, across the gravel, their little feeler things (can't remember the proper term . . .) waving about, and I just find them quite interesting. As long as they're not heading for my hostas. But even then - I don't like to kill them. I've realised that it must be something to do with early childhood influences - that snail on Magic Roundabout, who I think was called Brian. Obviously it made a lasting impression on me, so I find myself, about thirty years later, unable to harm snails.

Enough of the garden 'pests'. The garden is also full of young birds - and more species than in earlier years. Usually we have some young blackbirds, and a dunnock or two, and once we had a nest of robins. This year, we've had blackbirds and dunnocks both make nests in the ivy, with at least, as far as I could tell, one or two surviving young from each by the time they were able to fend for themselves, and the blackbirds now have a second nest, with young, who I can hear cheeping fairly loudly so they must be emerging soon.

Other gardens nearby must have provided homes for the other young birds - there are young chaffinches (first time I've noticed them in the garden), and I was pleased to see a young robin or two, as they've been rare in recent years. And then there's the starlings . . .

A nearby house has starlings nesting in its roof every year. This year they've discovered the bird table and some old grated cheese I put out there one day, and now they're around every day, about six juvenile starlings, all bickering and fighting with one another. They remind me of human teenagers, all bolshy, strutting their stuff and being argumentative one minute, but then still turning to the parent bird, beaks agape, demanding to be fed, even though they're perfectly capable of feeding themselves.

And, of course, the swifts are here. Hurrah.

The lovely people who buy via my Amazon links

Just a quick - but heartfelt - thank you to everyone who has bought items from Amazon (UK) from the links on this site, thereby helping, via the commission from my 'Associates' account, to keep this site running. I don't know who you are - it doesn't tell me that - but it does tell me what's been bought. So an extra big thank you to whoever bought 9 copies of a particular book. And thanks too to the person who bought an Olympus Mju 800 digital camera. (If you're a regular visitor, and you're reading this, I wondered what you thought of it (and do you know how to say 'Mju'? I'd hate to have to go into a shop and ask for one of these).

I know that some friends who have been visiting this site over the years do make a point of making their Amazon purchases via this site, and it really does make a difference, so thanks for your help and support.

4 May 2006

The swifts are here! The swifts are here!

They arrived yesterday morning. As is often the case, I heard them before I saw them. There are a lot of birds in the garden being rather vocal at this time of year, and yet the call I heard wasn't one of the familiar ones. I then dashed to the window to see if I could see them. There were just a few to begin with, high up.

They've come such a long way to be here, and yet they still fly so swiftly (hence the name, I guess) around the rooftops, with that amazing call. For anyone who hasn't encountered the swifts, and is interested, there's a website where you can see a clip of them flying or listen to their call - London Swifts also has information on how to help them to flourish.

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I also wanted to mention that I found an excellent website - Gardens for Wildlife - - which includes some really nice photos. Including one of a shield bug - I found one of these in my garden once - a striking-looking beastie - and took a photo, but my photo was rubbish. Here's a really good photo instead: Shield bug photo - There are also some very handsome garden views in the site's Garden Gallery.

Back to May highlights and diaries


Clematis - The President, May 

Above: Clematis "The President", May 2002

Garden diary: June