Back after a little break

It's been nearly two years since I last posted. A lot has happened since then and we are in a new home with new, smaller garden. Instead of being in suburban London, we're living in rural Norfolk in the Breckland area. We are still lucky enough to be adjacent to a woodland, however the two … Continue reading Back after a little break


Xylella fastidiosa is not a Harry Potter character

Re-blogged from (thank you!)     You may have seen a few stories about Xylella fastidiosa in the last year or so, and maybe dismissed them because you are not an Italian olive grower (or maybe you are… in which case, buongio… Source: Xylella fastidiosa is not a Harry Potter character

Bird’s foot trefoil

I absolutely love this plant, and this blog does a great job at explaining why.

Scotland's Nature

The familiar and unpretentious bird’s-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) seems to be spread all over the Scottish landscape; it is found on grasslands, meadows, rock ledges, sand dunes, derelict sites and roadside verges. This perennial herb, member of the legume family (Fabaceae, which includes peas, vetches, broad beans and clovers) is valued in many countries as pasture, hay, and silage, although it has become an invasive species in some parts of North America and Australia.

Bird's foot trefoil and daisies Bird’s foot trefoil and daisies

But more importantly for the aspect of ecosystem services, the bird’s-foot-trefoil is a larval food plant for several butterflies and moths and a valuable nectar source for many other insects. And, like some other legumes, the bird’s-foot-trefoil produces highly nutritious pollen.

However, it is not advantageous for the plant to make its pollen available to all that want it; pollen grains, which are full of proteins, amino-acids and vitamins, require…

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Big Garden Birdwatch 2016

I didn’t take part this year – but read Wildlife Kate’s account of the 2016 Big Garden Birdwatch!


I watch the birds in my garden just about every day and, with the cameras I have, I am in the privileged position of being able to watch all my feeders even when I am working at my desk, where they are connected to screens in my office. I can even access them via my phone app, through the icatcher software that I use to monitor and record all the footage. So, when Big Garden Birdwatch comes around, I already could pretty much predict the exact species and numbers I am likely to see!

Yesterday, I spent an hour in my hub, photographing the visitors there. This is set up for photography and the background from these feeders is on the other side of the lane, so is always nicely out of focus, making the birds stand out. I get more of a variety of visitors on the patio feeders…

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Is Nemasys harmful to bumble bees?

Recent study finds consumer biological control lethal to bumble bee Bombus terrestris in laboratory tests For many years, gardeners and horticulturists have been using biological control products as a means to eradicate garden pests such as weevils, carrot root fly, thrips and slugs. Many gardeners, including myself, have used these products as a more natural … Continue reading Is Nemasys harmful to bumble bees?

Harvesting Nettle Seeds

A fabulous blog on harvesting nettle seeds which are a natural pick-me-up and on the to do list for this time of year.

Whispering Earth

Nettle Seed

I passed a lovely afternoon recently in harvesting my first nettle seeds of the year. They are so abundant right now and so helpful during these busy periods that it was a real pleasure to get out gathering them.

There are a couple of great articles on the internet describing how to harvest nettle seeds along with their uses which I highly recommend reading, notably those by Henriette here and here and Kiva Rose here and here. Though many people know how beneficial nettle leaf can be, until the recent revival of interest in nettle seeds it was a little used remedy in modern herbal medicine. Even now it seems to be much more popular amongst traditional herbalists and herbwives rather than medical herbalists, not that the distinction is always so clear.

The benefits of nettle seeds have some overlap with those of the leaf, both being…

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