Signs of life

Wild creatures takeover the spring garden and reward the curious with great entertainment

an about-town frogFrogs about town

The pond is once again full of frog spawn - in fact there’s more than ever this year. Turning out some old containers, that we'd meant to get rid of last year and never got around to, we found frogs hiding amongst them.

Always a pleasing sight, frogs. I would add ‘especially in a town garden’ but in my experience it’s the town gardens that have the most frogs in them. Country gardens, surrounded by fields, have far lower numbers. It seems that the lush variety of town gardens, thickly planted and many with small ponds, are a better habitat than the ‘green desert’ of farm land.

Bees are a-buzzing

Honeybees are already out and busily foraging the spring flowers, visiting crocus and primula. I’m seeing the wonderfully named black female hairy-footed flower bee on its favoured pulmonaria flowers and once again, big furry queen bumblebees have been coming into the bedroom, quartering the floor in their search for a nesting place, and needing to be guided back outside to find more appropriate habitat. I come across these queens a great deal in spring and generally hear their loud buzzing before sighting their slow and careful investigations - holes in walls, gaps in walls and under stones and the old tunnels of voles. 

peacock butterfly

Butterflies awake

Having rested overwinter, Peacock and Brimstone butterflies are on the wing once more. Who knows where they hide in the cold months - in a shed perhaps or under the eaves somewhere?

Birds building nests

Now is the time to spy where birds are nesting. Their beaks full of moss and plant debris, they are fast and cautious and not always easy to spot, but I’ve seen a few. There's a bluetit building high up behind next door’s guttering, sparrows are under the roof tiles of another house nearby and blackbirds are in the ivy again. In the same place as last year, a wren is building in the lower growth of a mahonia, while another wren has taken to the pyracantha hedge at the end of the courtyard. We’ve worked to thicken up that hedge in order to encourage nesting birds, so it’s good to see it being used.

Sit back and enjoy the show

So begins a new season of watching this delightful daily soap. This also means another year of that ever-present, slight anxiety as I think of new ways to help these wild beings and what changes I can bring about to make things better.

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** Please note the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author and are not necessarily those of the RHS **

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