A busy month for the garden

Hands up whose loving what the warm weather this week has done for the garden! Ours is lapping up every last drop of sun and there’s been lots of change in just a few days.

Ground view of sunny garden

The snake’s head fritillary have gone from small buds to opened flowers. I had to create a makeshift pen with canes and twine to keep the pigeons off. They were charging their way through to get the seed dropped from the feeder and ripping all the buds off. Such clumsy birds!

Purple and white fritillary flowers

The crabapple tree is covered in little pink buds, not long until it will become blossom and the crabapples will be on their way. I am determined to do something with them this year! Perhaps crabapple jelly and crabapple schnapps. Does anyone have any good recipes?

Pink crabapple blossoms

Bluebell buds are shooting up. I looked back at a post from last May and they are two to three weeks ahead of the previous year. Pigeons were still decimating things though, so some things don’t change. Blogging about the garden will be a really good way of documenting changes in the seasons each year.

Small bluebell buds

This is cowslip. I love it! The bright yellow flowers bob about in the wind and they are always bright and cheerful, even when it’s dull outside.

Cowslip in flowerbed

We picked it up at a local plant sale last year but didn’t know much about it. A bit of Googling revealed this native British wildflower is in serious decline due to loss of habitats. It’s a good nectar source for bees and butterflies making it perfect for a pollinator/wild flower area in the garden. So if you have a bare patch consider planting a couple of cowslips. They spread and you can make cowslip wine!

Closeup on cowslip flowers

Our sweet peas are getting bigger by the day! It seemed to take forever for the seeds to germinate (three weeks in reality) but now they’ve started there is no stopping them. The variety is Painted Lady and they will be highly scented with dappled petals. I sowed all 20 seeds – some will be given away and the rest will be for our garden. Hopefully they will give us enough cut flowers to last all Summer.

Young, green sweet pea shootst

We were hoping blue tits would set up camp in the bird box we put up in the Autumn. A couple of them poked their heads in and out but it wasn’t for them. This week I caught sight of the house sparrows flying back and forth collecting nesting materials. They are scavenging all sorts of things but their nesting material of choice is strands of fibre from hanging basket cocoa liner.

House sparrow on nesting box

After much squawking and pecking, the house sparrows have accepted the starlings as neighbours. They all live in the same roof and we often see them sitting next eachother in the sun. They have been focused on nest building and watching them try and force big mouthfuls of sticks under the roof has been funny to watch at times.

Starling with twigs in mouth

In other news, Scott and I finally got an allotment! You can read about our stroke of luck here. Also, today is number 100 of HDYGG! Happy 100 everyone! It’s been fun getting to know you all and snooping round your gardens 🙂

28 Comments

  1. Had no idea they were in decline – I now must get some cowslip plants! Look at those big sticks in the birds’ beaks – fabulous captures.

  2. Crab apple jelly! My grabdmother-in-law used to make it from crab apples in her garden before she moved to Spain and it was delicious. I’ve seen some cowslip on my daily walks and I have to admit I wondered what its actual name was. Thanks for saving my time as I’ve spent about an hour looking up another wildflower!

    • It’s not something I’ve tasted or made before but I fancied giving it a go. Makes sense to with a tree full of crab apples! Even though we live somewhere rural, sadly cowslip isn’t something we see very often.

  3. Schnapps gets my vote – so long as I get to drink some…
    I love cowslips, my mum gave me some giant ones but they died sadly as I didn’t keep them wet enough (my bad) but I’ll hunt some more down and try again as I’m really keen on creating a bee-friendly garden. At the moment lots of lavender is about all I have for them.
    You have reminded me I have lots of sweetpea seeds to sow.
    Great allotment news, you must both be chuffed!
    Thanks for joining in again Gemma x
    PS. http://www.twiggstudios.com/2015/04/stem-ginger-lemon-grass-and-coconut-cake.html *BAM*

    • I will save you some schnapps! I imagine it’s going to be the sort of stuff that puts hair on a woman’s chest – I’ll have a shagpile in no time 😉 We are chuffed about the allotment, should be able to get some seeds in next week, yay! That cake looks amazing – you are so cruel (but I like it)…

  4. Garden is looking lovely, Gemma. How exciting! An Allotment! Woohoo! Can’t wait to see all the updates over this year – good time of year to get one!! 🙂

    • Yes, big stroke of luck! If all goes to plan, operation good life should be full speed ahead in a couple of weeks.

  5. oh i love how busy your garden is the birds in particular i just love the hub bub of them trying to attract a mate then nesting together. we have watched the soap opera that is 2 pigeons courting humping and now nests as well as starling fighting over who gets the deeds to the real estate that is the eves to our house this spring

    • The idea of that soap opera is hilarious! It’s nice to have some hub bub back in the garden again, all the activity is making them hungry – they emptied the feeder in less than 2 days…

  6. ooh, my hand’s up for loving the sun’s effect on the garden – I’m loving it! Congrats on your allotment – very exciting news, and loving your new birdy neighbours too! #hdygg

  7. Lovely to see your garden come to life – I had no idea cowslips were in decline or good for pollinators, will be keeping an eye out for some at the garden centre now!
    I’ve been aiming to plant some snakes head fritillaries in the garden for about 4 years now, I’ve finally managed to order some for delivery later in the year – I love how they’re delicate but slightly edgy at the same time.
    Brilliant news about the allotment! 🙂

    • Neither did I – I want to try and find a few more nooks and crannies in the garden for them to grow. The fritillaries are fantastic, the pattern on the petals is eye boggling…

  8. I feel rather pleased now with our Cowslip purchase, never knew they were in decline!
    We have two wood pigeons who traipse around the garden , they are ridiculously clumsy.
    The birds with nesting materials are wonderful, I just love sitting for a quiet 5 minutes watching the little birds feed and gather nest materials.
    The crab apple tree looks promising!

    • You can pat yourself on the back for your cowslip purchase Amanda! It’s difficult to get too cross with the wood pigeons. They are clumsy but do have an odd sort of charm 🙂

    • They are! I really wanted some that would smell nice, especially as my plan is to have them as cut flowers in the house.

  9. snakeshead fritilaries are my favourate – it reminds me that it is time for my annual pilgrimage to see a field of them by a river that seems to mark the start of my sunnier days.

  10. Oh wow Gemma your garden is looking utterly fabulous. I adore cowslips and had no idea they were in decline. They bring back poignant memories of my childhood and visits to Wales where they were in abundance. That was *cough* a little while ago obviously! Great news about the allotment, I look forward to hearing about it. Been a little elusive of late but contract in London just finished so about a bit more, hope you’re good x

    • I’ve never seen big patches of them in the wild, I’d image they look amazing though. There is a verge near us where someone has put signs up telling the mowers not to tough the cowslip area. I hope to catch them in flower one day. Glad to hear you will be less busy!

  11. congratulations on the allotment! that is such exciting news! i love your birdies and blooms. the cowslip is especially lovely, also considering it’s native. i’m sure the bees approve. 🙂

    • Thank you Doris! We’ve had quite a few bees in the garden so far this Spring, maybe the cowslip is working its magic.

  12. Congratulations on your allotment! What lucky neighbors you will have to be lucky to share a plot next to yours. I love the bird stories. I spend quite a bit of time watching them in our garden.

  13. This time of year definitely seems to Spring into action (doh!). Allotments, buds, blossom, birds nesting. I love it. I don’t think our bird box will be occupied this year as we put it up too late but I have high hopes for next year after seeing your little visitors. Great photo.

    Clare x

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