W for Waves, winds and Winter wrens

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W is for Wind, Waves and Winter. Wind is the main challenge for my garden along with salty air and occasional sea water run off! Even the most hardy plants can shrivel and hunker down under such conditions (For example I finally gave up on a spiky Pyracanthus!). The only consolation is that it is mostly in the Winter that the worst of the winds reign, and you can sometimes get away with the annuals and perennials during the Summer. Last year I was lucky as there were few real Autumn storms and some of the flowers just kept going! However a sudden storm or windy week in the Summer can bring havoc. The worst casualties are G’s big pots of bamboo, which we keep round the hot tub. They just turn into a browned off stalks by December. Luckily once Summer comes they do grow new shoots again, and I just cut off all the dead ones. I’m not sure what is the best plan, perhaps to wrap fleece round them come the Autumn.

Making the best of it, some of the grasses look wonderful with the wind rushing through them, reflecting the wild beauty of the grassland in the nature reserve.

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Plenty of Wildlife beginning with W too. I did my RSPB Garden birdwatch recently and was glad to be able to include a Wren, which was happily hopping about, probably searching for spiders in the hedge, and a beautiful pied Wagtail which has become a regular visitor.

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What they lack in size, wrens make up for with their loud song! Someone certainly thought it was Spring this morning at dawn, there was some fantastic singing going on in the dawn chorus!

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Wrens apparently often huddle together in nest boxes – with a record 61 once found in a single nest box! I’ve only ever seen one a time, but pretty regularly. Apparently the males make several potential nests and the female gets to choose which one she wants. Will have to keep an eye out for signs of nest making. I have some brass wren ornaments on the top of the trellis panel, which are tiny, but still bigger than the real ones!

Also have had cute little Wood mice in the compost bin (looking rather sleepy and startled when I open the lid).

Last but not least, Weeds. Well not too many hopefully in my garden, though it is rather difficult sometimes to tell if anything sprouting in my new bed is a) seeds I enthusiastically planted in Autumn, b) weeds inherited with my Eastbourne clay top soil c) seeds scattered by the frenzy of birds at the bird table and under it. I guess that’s a good excuse to just wait and see what turns up!

Anyway let’s hope we will be waving goodbye to Winter very soon!

Autumn ends, winter comes,
And everybody’s gone.
Days grow short, and pull apart,
And now the nights are long.
We winter wrens have made amends,
With the silence and the cold.
So, just leave us to our own device.
We winter wrens are fine.

So, just leave us to our own device
We winter wrens are fine
‘Cause there’s no mistake of the call we make
When there’s no one else around

‘Cause there’s no mistake of the call we make
When there’s no one else around

Lyrics, Winter Wrens by Dolorean

 

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New birds on the block

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New birds on the block

He who shall hurt the little wren / Shall never be beloved by men.” William Blake

New to my garden this year, is a beautiful thrush which has been busy digging worms out of the lawn, and waking me up before dawn with flute like singing when we have the windows open.

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Also for a couple of months I’ve had a wren, that darts all around the patio, and garden pots, flicking its tail looking for insects. Apparently these are Britain’s most common breeding bird, which is a little surprising. I wonder if it will nest nearby! These are also good singers, and very loud for such a tiny bird.

I’m also nearly certain I saw a goldcrest fly from my garden to a nearby pine tree so will be keeping a close eye out for that one! I’ve changed my birdseed to a no-mess mixture and as a result the sparrows have been in a lot less, but it’s possible it will attract other birds. I’ve already seen the robin on the feeder which is unusual.

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And the kittiwakes are back. Marking out the best nesting spots on the cliffs, and cosily pairing up.

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There are bees (early mining bees I think) on the willow branches overhanging from next door, and even a butterfly or two

In the garden the bulbs keep coming, a wonderful display and I’m looking forward to the garden bursting back into life. The shrubs are doing well and putting on a lot of growth, especially the euonymus fortunei that I‘m trying to grow into a small hedge, and the box plants. The bamboo is looking very brown though, probably a combination of winter wind burn and lack of water as it’s difficult for the roots to get enough water even when its wet. Must cut it back and give it a feed to see if we can revive it.

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And the camellia is back in flower, glorious

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Also went into Brighton and bought some more nice pots back for Mr W to drill drainage holes in. You can never have too many pots!

I’ve been busy in the mini greenhouse, and on the warm window ledges with my heated propagator so there are plenty of seedlings on the way, but I must say a lot have been very slow to grow, only finally speeding up this week! The exception is the rampant sweet peas that are now around a foot high and getting too big for the little greenhouse.

Enjoy the sunshine!