• And now for something different...

    Every now and then I like to bring you something that has value for garden wildlife but which you wouldn't find in many a book on the subject.

     And here is my latest off-the-wall suggestion for those of you who like to do things a little differently.

    Are they mouldy plums? Could it be mis-shapen apples? No, they are the fruit of the Handkerchief Tree.

    Now you're probably more familiar with it in spring, although…

    • 29 Oct 2010
  • Time to bare all

    It's that time of year again - the leaves are turning to all manner of shades of red, gold and orange. One of the best nature spectacles of the year and in some of our towns and cities with their mix of native and non-native trees and shrubs, the show can be enhanced.

    Once the leaves fall, it signifies to me the start of the planting season and if I really want to successfully grow some plants I should go buy some…

    • 26 Oct 2010
  • And here's one I made earlier...

     We start today with a little trip back in time. It's August 2005, and here (left) was the state of my new native hedge. Hawthorn was the main ingredient, with Blackthorn, Dogwood, Wayfaring Tree, Privet and Field Maple, plus some Dog and Burnet Rose to clamber through.

    The little whips, which had gone in two winters before, were just beginning to flesh out. They'd had a severe pruning when they went in the ground…

    • 25 Oct 2010
  • Getting ready for spring already

     I don't know about you but a scene like this does something for my soul. Sunshine, fresh foliage and radiant flowers - don't you just love it? Free therapy.

    As the observant among you will have guessed, this photo was NOT taken this week. Oh no. My files tell me this was the 26th April, and these are of course nice and simple and joyous wallflowers.

    So even though my garden isn't looking quite like this at this…

    • 22 Oct 2010
  • Autumn's last feast?

    A free weekend - yippee! I think the total time I was able to spend in the garden was about 15 hours, and I have the aching limbs, odd little scratch and general warm, happy glow to show for it.

    The warm glow is in contrast to the temperature I was working in, which had quite an autumnal nip to it, so it was interesting to see how nature had responded. Insects in particular were in very short supply, with just one…

    • 18 Oct 2010
  • The ultimate garden punk-rocker

    Sometimes wildlife entertains you; sometimes it thrills you; sometimes it just makes you chuckle.

     Such was my reaction on seeing this little fella walking across the path while visiting RSPB Pulborough Brooks yesterday. One can see why evolution equipped him (or her) with long bristles all over, rendering him somewhat unpalatable to any hungry bird or mouse (or a painful mistake). But why was it then necessary to give…

    • 15 Oct 2010
  • Suns and darters

    Today I left the garden behind for a good, hard tromp through the autumn countryside. But as always I couldn't help but learn little lessons to take back to the garden.

    And this is one that got me thinking most - Common Darters. There weren't many about - perhaps the wind was a bit too bracing. But in sheltered corners and up against sunny woodland edges I found them sunning themselves on prime vantage points.…

    • 11 Oct 2010
  • More American tales from the wildlife garden

     I'll be back talking about 'home grown' wildlife gardening by next week, but I'm still full of my American trip and I wanted to share my experiences of their wildlife gardening.

    How good it was to see the National Wildlife Federation running a scheme whereby they 'certified' whether your gardening had created wildlife habitat, a lovely little incentive that for this little street-corner public garden…

    • 8 Oct 2010
  • Spectacle among the sunflowers

     Regular readers of the blog will be aware that I am posting very late in the day for my Monday missive. My apologies.

    But I do have something of an excuse. I'm just back from fulfilling something of an ambition - to see the migration of Monarch butterflies on the east coast of the States. And it was...now let me find the right term for the location...awesome!

    But of course I couldn't help but think wildlife gardening…

    • 5 Oct 2010
  • When is a moth not like a buttercup?

     This little beauty turned up in my garden moth trap this week, which curiously has the name of a plant. It is a Ranunculus, which those of you into your plant Latin names will know it is the  genus of buttercups

    In fact, the moth experts out there will quickly tell me off, because it is in fact a Feathered Ranunculus. Now I can work out where the 'feathered' bit comes from - just look at those antennae on this male, which…

    • 1 Oct 2010