There is a famous phrase from a chidrens’ poem written in the 1760s by Isaac Watts that asks:
“How doth the little busy bee improve each shining hour?”
… and the answer in our case is by industrious labouring in our Socially Distant Garden.
What, you will be wondering, loyal reader, has happened since we last posted on the topic? Briefly as follows,accompanied by photographs which, I know, are what you like seeing more than leaden prose. So …
The weather has changed rapidly in the last week from colder than seasonal average to very much warmer with the promise of around 30C by the time you are reading this. the sharp seasonal changes we enjoy here are quite a shock to an aged physiology that is still adapted to more winter-like temperatures. We are continuing the experiment started last year of not cutting the lawn. Apart from a couple of mown paths, we are allowing whatever is in there to do its thing and grow as tall as it wishes. Even the majority of the dandelions are being allowed to flower as they are of use to the local insects at the start of the year. At the moment the yellow of the dandelions is being complemented by the soft blues of forget-me-nots and purples and whites of violets. We also have some soft-white violets with mauve speckles which we assume are hybrids.
The magnolia tree at the front was especially glorious this year. This was good because the Magnolia stellata in the rear garden only produced four flowers – all the other flower buds having been stripped and eaten in the winter by our ever growing colony of squirrels.The blossom on the Amelanchier canadensis tree and the sour cherry trees have been synchronised and a delight.
Talking of squirrels and other mammals, this year the occasional rabbit has morphed into three or more and there are baby bunnies around also grazing the mead. Lockdown has made the world quieter for wildlife and we are seeing the occasional fox, a regular skunk and many migrating birds. This is all to the good. As I am making a final edit of the a groundhog suddenly appeared on the deck to sniff around – very unusual and they are rarely seen in the gardens, preferring to live along the side of the highway at the top of or street.
Even before the viral fun started, we had decided to create a small vegetable bed in a spare bit of land on the southern side of the house and I had started digging and preparing it when a friend put us in touch with a young relative who has a business installing raised ”gardens” for vegetables and we decided to invest in his skills. Three beds (pictures below) each 8×3 feet with divisions into one foot squares. The planting is very high density but the system should be highly productive if we follow the rules and keep the rabbits out. Early days yet, but things are looking good.
All this letting stuff happen gardening as increasing the number of pollinators that are visiting. Meanwhile the sun is too hot so I am sitting in the shade with iPad and glass of apricot flavoured beer … perhaps I have said too much already. Time for a gallery of photographs – as usual, clicking on any thumbnail opes the gallery at fullscreen size and you can scroll through at your leisure.
Postscriptum: If you have not yet found it, or have been bored by my talking about it, my 1000 (local) Species project is doing well. There are so many just here in the garden without going very much further afield. If this stuff interests you, please visit the website at https://1000species.sparroworks.ca and/or the linked Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/1000speciesoneaday which will share one new species every day. You can subscribe to the website or “like” the FB page to ensure you have a daily dose of interest delivered automatically. Closing in the the first 100 species at the moment.