Saturday, 21 July 2007

Pheasant, rain, midge cream and ladies mantle!

Our tame pheasant has now had a second brood and we hope she will be a bit better at mothering this lot; eleven chicks this time that run about crazily all over the lawn, then dash under her sheltering wings. It can be very comical watching them trying to get under her feathers with their legs sticking out. She follows the lawnmower closely, ready for any scattered grass seeds. Up in the air, the young kestrels tumble and cry, then hover over the parkland, whilst on the bird nuts, whole families of blue, great and coal tits are so involved in feeding that you can almost stand next to them.

The rain has done nothing to spoil the garden, in fact the plants are looking really lovely. Deliberately grown close together, all the perennials in the borders are self-supporting and nothing is staked. It all looks very full and natural and beautiful in the evening light if I take a group around. Amazingly, it hasnt rained on a single evening tour this year! Nor have the midges been bad, though we are always have plenty of 'Evening Balm' in the shop which is made in Scotland from organic ingredients.
This is the time for cutting back the first flush of growth; hardy geraniums, some centaureas, oriental poppies, lungworts and especially ladies mantle are cut hard back to create new fresh growth. I sometimes see gardeners have cut the flowered stems from ladies mantle but left the old leaves which I think ends up looking rather tatty. I cut the entire plant back so that all that is left is the brown 'core' and within just a week to ten days it is looking as it does early in the year - a mound of pretty scalloped leaves that hold jewelled water drops.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have just found this blog and am really impressed by the quality of the photographs especially of the wildlife. When I am in Northumberland I will make sure I visit.