Welcome to our blog. It will follow the development of our garden from quagmire, after completion of our self-build, to a garden that reflects our eco-friendly principles. We are wanting to create a garden that meets our needs as a family but is also a wildlife friendly zone. Well that's what we are hoping, time will tell if we are successful.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Green stuff and monkey business

In the last few days there has been damage to the vegetables. Here the spinach is looking more stalky than leafy. I thought it was the local fat pigeon population but then during dinner we noticed that the Mother was out and about munching away.

Then again the next day she was at it again. This called for drastic reinforcements. Here she is pecking away in feigned innocence.

Meanwhile, I attempted to increase the height of the fence by a few inches.

I was feeling less than exuberant about them when I shut their coop for the night and then I saw that I'd forgotten to open the door to their sleeping quarters after I'd cleaned it. The poor hens were roosting on the ramp and there were only three of them! Where was the Mother!!!!

It was dark and quiet, as we listened out for any sounds from the birds but nothing...The led wind-up torch was a bit of a let down as it didnt' have a wide beam but eventually we found her asleep in a hollow she'd dug earlier in her enclosure. I realised that she couldn't help herself, I mean spinach is always greener on the other size of the fence.

Come to think of it, egg production has increased recently, I wonder if some of the eggs will be green...

Today, a friend has kindly helped to clip the hens feathers. Hopefully they are too lopsided to make it onto the compost bin now because otherwise they may prefer the neighbours' flowers on the other side of their fence.

If that doesn't work, we have another method of bird control...our new puppy. She is our first puppy in the family so again everything is new. She is adorable and well loved already. Welcome Rosie!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

How green does my garden...and pond grow?

 The pond water after all this time is still very green. It's been filled with rain water but it is too rich in nutrients so the algae are flourishing. I had hoped that the plants in the water would help to oxygenate it but with little effect. The other day I saved a frog and put it into the pond but I have no way of knowing if it is still there.
 I heard that barley straw is good to get rid of algae so I've tried a DIY bag made from an orange bag and some straw left over from the strawberries. After a few days I got impatient and resorted to more serious methods:

a solar powered pump oxygenator. I was very cynical about whether it would work.

I need to weigh down the air stones so the tubes are hidden but they are definitely aerating the water. The only drawback is if the clouds come out or you stand in front of the solar panel then it will stop. Fingers crossed that there will be some improvement in the water.

Meanwhile, thanks to all this rain, colour is returning to the garden. It's hard to believe that there is a drought and hose pipe ban on.

These are one of my daughter's sweet peas that survived the warm winter.
I was given these Anenomes by a friend as they share my name.

The neighbours' fence was a great spot for this opportunistic climber. It appeared last year for the first time through all the tarram, whackered down type 2 stone and then gravel so I thought it deserved a sporting chance. I think it may be a clematis, but I will have to wait and see.

Things are improved in the front garden as the horse manure is finally all on the flowerbeds and the wood chips is down around the veggies, so there are no huge bulk bags taking up the front garden.

 Thankfully, the hardy Geraniums Johnson's Blue have survived the winter and are looking great.
But also their larger cousins, the Buxton's Blue are spreading too. I hope that between them they can cover the whole flower bed and hide the straggly leaves of the Alliums and the nearly rotted tulips.

I'll keep dreaming but meanwhile, the weeds wait for no man, or woman. Eek! The ground elder is back!

Chickens Plan A

Here is The Mother, I know she is plotting something as she patrols the perimeter fence. She is standing in front of a ditch that she and her friends have created...she is biding her time.

Last week it was particularly wet and stormy but the chickens still came to the fence to greet me, hoping for some tasty morsels.

Here they are going bonkers over spinach. They make wonderful clucking sounds as they peck it down at incredible speed. Little did I know but the chickens were about to have more fun. While I was out, they escaped...my daughters returned to find an empty enclosure.

Now thankfully, the chicken's desire for sweetcorn overcame their desire for freedom as they were lured back. Whether it was the wind that blew open the fence or Big Bird's amazing ability at pecking the string fence tie but the salad definitely was cut. Perhaps, it will come again as per the seed producers claims...
I couldn't be cross with the chickens, after all they do stare at the vegetable patch all day without being allowed free access.

The next morning the somewhat fatter chickens laid an egg in the middle of the enclosure like it was a peace offering.

I did catch The Mother eyeing me up...I'm sure she's   hatching Plan B