Saturday, 7 April 2007

With the warm weather, the plants are springing away, comma butterflies are on the wing and the garden is busy with birds finding places to nest. I watched a pair of long tailed tits, their beaks holding curving pheasants feathers, disappear into the depths of a bamboo. They have nested here before and I hope they stay again and are not put off by all the garden activity.

Toads have been mating in the Mediterannean Pond, their long necklaces of spawn now twist through the water weeds and frogs are in the little pond in the greenhouse. There are newts in the round pond as well.

The sinister looking plant above is the Japanese Belladonna, Scopolia carniolica. A toxic plant, it contains alkaloids similar to Deadly Nightshade and induces a state of sleep which is similar to normal sleep. It was used at the beginning of the twentieth century in combination with morphine in a preparation known as Twilight Sleep. As a type of anaesthesia it was discontinued as the mortality rate was high!

1 comment:

Janet said...

The long-tailed tits have given me some entertsinment too. In the past I have only ever seen them in grouips of up to a dozen or so travelling, so i will be really delighted if we get dome nesting in the garden. I really believe that a good population of birds is one of the best indications of a healthy garden environment.