Another fine and flowery day!

I love snapdragons

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Himalayan Balsam 

This invasive plant was introduced in the 18 hundreds . They were brought over as an ornamental flower as they were cheap and easy to propagate . It’s becoming a serious threat as it attracts our bees and stops them pollinating our native crops and flowers .

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They are also ruining our streams and rivers as they loosen up the banks as they rot down , making them corrode away .

I urge you all to please if you see them whilst out and about on your walks , to pull them up .

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Try and do it early summer before they set seed as they are spreading quickly

Wildlife Camera Sightings

So finally got back from Devon and what’s the first thing I want to do ? You’ve guessed it … look and see what my camera has captured! Well here goes …. Wildcameraa wood pigeon Wildcameraa squirrel Wildcameraa magpie Wildcamerathe usual suspect cat , I wonder what he’s up to ? WildcameraAnd at last- the one I was hoping for… a fox! WildcameraWildcameraWe’ve reset the camera at a different angle in the hope of getting more close-ups and clearer pictures of these lovely animals…watch this space!

Greenway and Dittisham 

An amazing and ridiculously dog friendly place to go!

First we started off at “greenway ” – a national trust park which was Agatha Christie’s holiday Home and the location where John Suchard’s Poirot was filmed.

Surrounded by beautiful scenery and dogs are allowed anywhere including formal gardens. The only place they’re not allowed is the house itself .

Hurry up

It is quite hilly but well worth the views you get . The staff are really friendly almost like a family and you are made to feel very welcome . Easily lose a good few hours . But must warn you parking has to be prebooked  in advance . National trust members totally free . 

Next stop ferry to Dartmouth and back just a two minute drive from greenway . You can board a ferry and take a 1 hour ferry to Dartmouth and back . Yet again dogs allowed for free .

I just had to get in shot !

This is the life !!

A very nice leisurely cruise . You can see agatha christies house plus the royal naval college where prince Philip first met the queen and a viaduct built for the steam trains ( still in use and also dog friendly ) by Isambard  kingdom Brunel .

Not another boat !

And when you finally get off the ferry . Why not get straight on another boat to dittisham . Yep you guessed it dog friendly . Two minutes across the river . A really small village with lots of trails to discover . Or if you have older dogs just visit the local pub “FBI ” fishing boat inn. It’s very small but the staff are incredibly friendly again .

It’s not a posh place , in fact it was like going back in time but well worth a visit to get a real Devon experience .

Tomorrow is the pirate festival at Brixton . Watch this space to see what we get up to!

Devil’s Coachman

Ever seen one of these in your garden ?

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This a a Devil’s Coachman.

These are very good natural pesticide . They eat slugs , spiders,  fly larvae and other invertebrates .

It’s rare you’ll see them in the day as they’re nocturnal and like to hide in damp crevices or rotting wood .

If you go to touch one it will rear its hind quarters like a scorpion and opens its jaw and it can give a nasty bite if it’s really threatened . Image result for devils coachman

However they are a real gardeners friend so be glad you’ve got them in your garden.

“The Violet Ground Beetle ” Image result for violet ground beetle

This less aggressive beetle has similar tastes  to the devils coachman and will also feed on carrion (dead animals) – which is great for us because it gets rids of waste.

Females lay their eggs in soil and the larvae emerge as active feeders themselves.

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Violet Ground Beetle Larvae

I never said all nature was beautiful . But there is a balance where everything has its role to play. So remember that if you see these creatures in your garden, don’t hurt them, they are there to help!

Save our Bees

IMG_3045.JPGWhy isn’t more being done to save our bees ? Neonicotinoids are believed to result in a decline of the queen bees’ life span in colonies. This causes stress on worker bees to almost constantly raise a queen bee, leading them to try and forage while too young and to often die from this dangerous task.
The truth is that without the bee to pollinate our flowers , trees and crops we will starve .

What makes things worse is it’s all our fault Pesticides!

So the only thing we can do is ,

do our bit . Planting bee friendly plants as in my previous blog . But also reduce or stop the use of chemicals .

If you have got a medium sized garden try to loosen up on the weeding as these are a vital natural food source . Or maybe dedicate one small section of your garden to allow those ugly weeds that the bees need to feed well . 

Oh and please leave some water out even just a small dishful can make all the difference!

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Bumble Bees 

It’s still a little early to see bumble bees . But the ones you’re seeing now are out to find they’re new nesting site so it’s a good time to start looking at flowers that will encourage them if you want to help these struggling and vital insects .

I have a few favourites that always seem to be swarming with bees .

Buddleia are a very good attraction to bees and butterflies hence common name “butterfly bush ” it’s really easy to grow and maintain plus you get the best of both worlds with aromatic flowers.

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Forget Me Not

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Foxgloves

although I advise against these if you have dogs as they’re poisonous to them

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Wallflowers

( very vibrant colours and extremely aromatic )

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Ceonothus

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Ribes 

A member of the currant family

Another good idea is to try a cottage garden seed mix simply scatter and see what happens.

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This was mine last year!

If you want to buy bedding plants . I’ve found poppies , French marigolds and cosmos also draw our striped friends in.

If you plant just a few of these plants in your garden you will see an increase of bees in your garden .

Have you ever looked closely at a bumble bee ? There are around 24 species of bumble be and nearly 250 species of bees in the UK!

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When these furry friends do make their way into my garden I will be sure to share more with you, but for now- why not get your garden bee ready?

Flower of the Month- April

It’s April, and we are getting closer and closer to the summer time. Spring is in full swing and we have a huge range of plants coming to life in our gardens and in the wild.

But which plant am I choosing as my flower of the month for April?

The Tulip.

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This single red tulip just opened it’s petals a few days ago in my garden- and there will be more blooming throughout this month. The tulip is a pretty flower that comes in all different colours- and is a great draw for bees and I’m sure that many of you will see these beauties appearing over the next few weeks!

A View from my Pond 

Take a closer look at this photo . Believe it or not , this isn’t compost it’s a small section of my pond . So many tadpoles it’s hard to separate them . I’ve never had so many!

I like to encourage frogs into the garden as they reduce the need for insecticides especially slug pellets which I like to avoid using as I have two dogs: One springer “Archie ” and a sprocker “Millie “.

So well this year I’m definitely going to have to supplement the tadpoles diet . But not just yet as they’re still feeding on their egg sacks . I will give you updates as the next few weeks go on.