Monday 26 August 2013

Swallows and Martins

Sitting in a chair taking a rest with a cup of coffee I was treated to a magnificent aerial display. Swallows, with swept-back wings and forked, pointy tails, dived and swooped across the garden, between the fruit trees and over the hedge. Martins, smaller and with shorter stubby tails, flitted acrobatically high in the sky.
I was fascinated. Some were swooping just a few feet from my face. However, over on the telephone wires in Clay Lane they were starting to congregate in lines. I guess they will be on their way to Africa in the next few days.
This summer has been a lot warmer than the previous few years and we've seen many more swallows and martins this year.

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Summer flowers

At this time of year there are some very striking flowers in our cottage garden. The subtlety of spring has given way to bold shows of colour and style.

Sunflower grew from seed dropped by the birds under their feeder.

Bright pink roses
Staely yucca with creamy-white bell-shaped flowers

Sunday 11 August 2013


The sunny summer weather has brought out the butterflies in thousands. The garden is all a-flutter with the lavender, marjoram and buddleias particularly popular. We've seen all colours - white with black wing-tips, orange wing-tips, brown, peacocks, tortoiseshells and a comma.

Of course these lovely creatures start off as voracious caterpillars which strip the leaves off anything.
Last year the rose round the front door was devastated by little stripey caterpillars. Each year small green/grey grubs completely strip the leaves of the Solomon's Seal after the flowers have finishes. We have self-sown tall yellow mulliens around the vegetable plots at the top of the garden which are host to hundreds of yellow and black striped caterpillars.

Unfortunately some butterflies are very fond of brussel sprouts. We have put nets over them to keep off the pigeons and pheasants but the butterflies have got in. So this evening I spent an hour on hands and knees squishing little green grubs and yellow and grey eggs. Not nice.

Thursday 8 August 2013


I was digging potatoes last night and disturbed a small brown newt about 3 ins long. We've seen one or two before mostly around the pond. I think this was likely to be a common newt or smooth newt and apparently after the mating season they spend time in damp earthy patches (like potato beds!) or under stones and logs till the springtime calls again.