Today I managed to haul myself down to the Festival of Nature in town. It was very interesting – amazing how many wildlife and nature groups there are in this city. Although I suppose as we’re the home of the BBC Wildlife Unit we should have lots. On the way home I walked back through the park – appropriately as I had spent some time talking to the woman on the Parkhive stall. We have some fantastic parks in Bristol, and one of the best is Victoria Park on my doorstep. The council are experimenting with leaving big swathes of the grass in the park to grow wild, it has looked lovely recently with banks of buttercups growing up the hill. I picked some of the park grass to make this picture using sun sensitive paper. I’ve used it before, but have seen some lovely ones on the 30 days Wild Facebook page, and it inspired me. Dead easy to do, and not just for kids! I’ve added a touch of yellow to the middle of the daisy (from the garden).
Today it has rained a lot. In fact, thanks to my neighbour two streets away who runs a weather station in his backyard I can see that we’ve had about 4.8mm of rain today. It’s here if you want to check it out http://www.bristolweather.org I always used to hate the rain (let’s face it still do sometimes when we set into that grand old South West dizzle), but as I’ve got more and more into gardening I appreciate it, partly for the decrease in labour it brings. Everything grows like crazy and needs keeping in check rather than egging on. And the smell is earthy and real – especially walking up to the front of the house pass the sage, which releases it’s slightly medicinal fragrance after the rain. The downside is that this warm humid weather is slug and snail heaven and they are decimating some of the plants. I have no compunction in killing them.
This blogging everyday lark is harder work than it looks.
Day 5 Fossil hunting on The Jurassic Coast
The weather was amazing on Day 5 – it got hotter and sunnier as the day wore on. We climbed across the rocks round the headland at Eype and hunted for fossils. Didn’t find much, but you just have to see that smooth tip of a belemnite glinting under the rocks to fire up enthusiasm again. A great way to get in touch with the wild and notice nature.
Day 6 Flowery Frontyard
The frontyard is a riot of flowers at the moment. At the Bristol Harbour Festival last year Avon Wildlife Trust were giving away a tray of 6 plug wildflower plants. I took mine and planted them in the poor soil out the front of the house – but with lots of sunshine. Most of them have done amazingly well – especially the daisies. I’m not even sure what the others are – I should look them up really. It is a bee paradise out there at the moment, in particular the sage which has made a very good effort with flowering this year and is a big favourite. Once that has faded it should be about time for the lavender to open its flowers, and the poppies are just about to start too. There are sadly though, less bees than usual this year – I don’t know why. I know that for the past three years some garden bees have taken up residence in my neighbour’s extension roof just outside the back door, but they haven’t come this year. Two of my friends report them setting up home in their nest boxes though – just not near my house.
Day 7 On the Allotment
The broad beans are going great guns on the allotment. The ladybird a welcome sight to stave off some of the blackfly attacks (although they’re not too bad at the moment.) It hasn’t rained for days and everything is very dry. I find myself in the surprising position of wanting it to rain, so everything has a good soaking. It’s hard work trekking up and down the very hilly site to the nearest water and lugging back cans full.
Day 8 In defense of bees
Day 8 is a bit of politicking – talking of bees. I posted a link to sign this petition launched by SumOfUs. It’s against the merger of Bayer and Monsanto, both global agribusinesses who already are attempting to force through further use of extremely toxic pesticides and the production of sterile seed, ensuring their market domination. It is a very dangerous merger. I always feel a bit ambivalent about online petitions and the prevalence of clicktivism in this age of social media – replacing actual action, but sustained negative publicity does have an impact on shareholders and on the decision makers in Europe and in this country. Have a read of SumOfUs’s intro to the petition at least, and sign if you can.
A Koru is a spiral shape based on the shape of a new unfurling NZ silver fern frond – that famous frond which features on the All Blacks rugby shirts. It symbolizes new life, growth, strength and peace and is an integral symbol in Māori art, carving and tattoos. Our ferns don’t produce quite such a perfect spiral as the silver fern, but still they are waiting to unfurl and burst into life – it always amazes me that this scrunched up little fist turns into the feathery fronds of the ferns in the shaded spots of our woodland.
Today I walked through the Undercliffe on the Dorset coast from Seaton to Lyme Regis. It is full of ferns, and moss and lichens and the sounds of the sea and surround sound birdsong. It’s a very special, beautiful place. I recorded some of the sound, which I’m hoping by the end of the week to have turned into a 30 days wild ringtone. It will remind me of sitting under the natural green canopy on a humid Saturday in June.
A weekend camping in Dorset. Although the site we stay on is definitely not a basic back to nature type, there’s still something about sleeping in a tent, being outside until the light’s completely gone that makes you feel much closer to nature. I saw a gull – herring or common – feeding it’s very fluffy chicks on the roof of a house on the way back up the cliff. It wasn’t a particularly cute sight to be honest. And it was an incredibly clear night so we had a really good view of Mars – showing strongly, and very red at the moment. I know this because someone outside the toilet block had an app on his phone…
Its turned into a lovely warm sunny day today, just the sort of day Rose Chafer beetles like to take advantage of the newly opened pyracantha flowers by the front door. When they fly they’re like small ungainly remote controlled planes, and make a racket, but when they’re purposefully harvesting the flower pollen they can be quite hard to spot. They’re not around for a long – often just a few days, then we don’t see them again til next year. They’re very beautiful though, and another measure of the seasons passing by in the street.
I thought I would join in with the 30 Days Wild thing by trying to blog something about it every day. Given I barely manage a post every 6 months it will be a challenge! This is a homage to my mum who died in June 8 years ago, and who was a real wildlife enthusiast – particularly birds. When we were considering getting a colour TV, back at the start of the 70s, the argument that tipped in its favour was that the wildlife documentaries would look so much better in colour. They did. As did the rugby, but that’s another story.
Today’s post – one of the squashes I planted on Sat has germinated and showed its head for the first time today. It’s a kind of magic. Hopefully by the end of the month it will be a big strong healthy plant, ready to grow on the allotment.