Tuesday, 7 July 2015

A Little Frog Blog

After all chance of frost had gone earlier this year (2015) I reinstated my over-wintered Chinese Dragon pot. I decided it would make a great mini pond.

I went to the bottom of the garden to a wild pond we have known as the Bottom Pond. It was a bit choked so I weeded it a bit and then selected some starwort to, hopefully, keep the water clear in the new mini pond. It was impossible not to also 'select' other plants and wildlife as well. I let little nymphs and squiggly things, including some tadpoles, drop gently back into their home and hurried up to the top of the garden to plant up the Dragon in the Little Garden by the house.

Bottom Pond after weeding out
Little Garden
It's very easy to do. Put some water in the bottom of the pot. Select an attractive weighty stone or brick. Mine was a sea-worn lump of masonry (I'm a beachcomber) and this held the plant in place. Gradually add more water and build up stones/pebbles etc to look attractive and natural. This allows birds and bees to drink without drowning.

A few days later, when the water had settled and cleared, I was surprised to see a large tadpole near the surface. It had survived its journey from the Bottom Pond, being dragged out of the pond, plunged into a bucket, carried up to the new location and then tipped into the Dragon pot. It seemed better to leave it lonely in its new home.

I saw it occasionally over the next few weeks but it always quickly zipped out of sight. My other half suggested I should add even more pebbles to allow the tadpole to get out when hopefully it changed into a frog. This done we stepped back to wait...

On Monday 6th July 2015 as I stepped out of the back door and looked across the Little Garden I saw the new arrival posing in the sun. Here is our new frog still with tadpole tail. Seeing these close-ups (thank you to my other half for the great photos) you should now also be able to spot it on the top image too!

...and back into the pond

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Around the garden 16 June 2015

Mid morning on June 16th I wandered around the garden snapping away with my camera taking in some of the beautiful flowers and the growth and the changes since April.

Little Garden. Pots by Errington Reay and Rooke's pots
Built around 1902 our house is 'back-to-front'. The Little Garden is by the lane and used to house a stable (demolished by the time we arrived); and an outside toilet and coal store in 2 buildings side by side (half demolished by the time we arrived) and now gone. We now park the car on top of them!
Little Garden
The Little Garden has blue brick path and pebbles. We tracked down some Staffordshire blue bricks and cleaned them up. We then lifted the concrete slabs we had inherited with the house and found, yes, you've guessed it, the original blue brick yard underneath which was very unexpected! This is a valuable lesson; but in fairness the originals were so badly damaged we covered them over with the new pebbles and the blue bricks we had purchased.

The bigger part of the garden is away from the lane and hidden - a lovely surprise!
Meconopsis cambrica (Welsh Poppy) self-set. Much loved in our garden

A lovely combination of large red poppies and bronze fennel
Common spotted orchids in our mini meadow
The Bottom Pond - a bit choked with starwort
Gunnera manicata, detail of giant leaf in the sun

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Around the garden 30 April 2015

Surveying/photographing the frost damage to the Gunnera manicata
Euphorbia palustris
My standard oak over 25 years old - apparently it's not possible to do this!
Primroses, golden hop and Staffordshire blue brick edging tiles
Bluebells about to flower by the house
Appropriate footwear!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Hellebores in full flower

It's April 1st 2015 and the hellebores are looking fabulous. Most plants are not yet awake in this cold, damp garden in the Staffordshire Moorlands but the hellebores, along with primroses, ramsons (wild garlic) and pulmonaria, are doing really well. Here are a few snapshots from my phone from around the garden.

Cream hellebore with ramsons
Double pink and double cream... with a few pots
They have been bowed down with frost and, yesterday, battered with over 24 hours of severe gales but this morning all still looking good.
'Black' - a favourite
Love this green-flowered one but not sure of the variety

Also our Gunnera manicata is beginning to awaken...  click HERE> to see more about it.