Thursday, 18 June 2009

Of peonies and quirky birds nests

Just now the peonies are in bloom, sumptuous bowls of cupped petals with yellow stamen hearts and gorgeous foliage. There are some wonderful rich colours, deep, deep red, crimson, sugar pink, white and salmon and the wilder natured herbaceous plants flow in and around them (pretty Geranium asphodeloides for example, with its tracery of stems and stars of pink and white). The lady's mantle is at its absolute best, frothy green flowers lapping over the gravel of the paths, breaking up the edges to create instant informality. As soon as it starts to go over, I will be cutting it ruthlessly back to prevent self seeding and to bring on new foliage.

Everywhere our abundant wildlife can be seen, blackbirds and thrushes eating the cherries (happily sacrificed to them in return for all the good work they do), blackcaps singing in the walnut, newts lazing in the pond and in the greenhouse a nest of great tits ..... in the cupboard. The birds get so used to visitors that they become very tame - our bird feeder is a great place to get close to nuthatches. And every now and then a bird nests in a quirky place - wrens in an old compost heap, duck on top of one of the walls, pheasant right next to the path. This year it's a great tit that has nested in the old wooden cupboard and flies in through a gap above the door! You can hear the chicks cheeping inside and I darent put up a notice saying 'do not open door because of bird nest' because if I draw attention to it, someone may do just that. They nip in and out when people are not looking, even though there is lots of coming and going in the greenhouse. These are not brilliant pictures but I didn't want to disturb them too much.... I'll give an update when they fledge!

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