Thursday, 26 March 2015

Garden centre goodies

primroses-in-baskets So every March is brimming with presents for me, Mother's Day and then my birthday so I get to go and choose some plants for the garden as part of my gift. mini-daffodils Still loving the garden centre trolley like he did last year. I'm also still finding it hard to choose,garden centre Beautiful pink camellias, rather pricey though.camellia Lots of different roses. I'm still reeling after my Aldi Peace rose just went black. 99p for a reason folks. Avoid!  shrub roses Spotted laurel. Too local council car park like for me.spotted-laurel Hellebores.....pretty but toxic so won't risk it with my sensory boy.hellebores So much choice. A large polytunnel full of perennials and climbers, ready to start giving oomph to borders.plant-nursery What I wanted was Spring colour so I went for more primroses. I adore them! Pale yellow, the silver laced black primroses, polyanthas, candelabra primulas, primula denticulata (the drumstick primrose), purple pokered and red tipped Primula vialii which have disappeared from my garden and the good old cowslip.

I bought the ones below and was pleased to find the pink and yellow primroses with the slight stripe. They are also possibly my favourite UK flower which incidentally you can vote on at the moment at Plantlife.  What is the nation's favourite wild flower? 

Primroses like slightly damp roots so woodland areas of the garden or by ponds look naturalistic.
I do put some in pots and window boxes but keep well watered. I'm always forgetting with them and am met with a poorly droopy primrose, they do bounce back though.
primroses in all colours clematis Well if you can't travel by garden centre trolley when you're 5, then when can you?trolley-ride On my wishlist are these mini conservatories. In fact so much is on my wishlist; give me garden centre shopping spree rather than clothes shopping any day. Love the smell too - the compost and the damp air, the seasonal displays and the food goods. Terrariums primroses A gorgeous pyramid bay tree that I would love to have on the patio. bay-tree pretty-primroses Just a few plants that I chose: Primroses, a Lupin, mini Tulips and a Chrysanthemum. A few extra bits of Spring for some corners of the garden. I didn't want to buy too much as who knows what will be appearing soon from the ground and I always tend to forget about plants. Just hoping that this year the slugs will leave my lupins well alone.plants

Pop over to Mammasaurus for How Does Your Garden Grow?

How Does Your Garden Grow

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

This week they are the King's swans

swan colony River Soar Leicester A colony of swans in the River Soar / Grand Union Canal in Leicester. As we walked around the city for the Richard III reburial events we spent some time in Castle Park overlooking the river. Swans are usually territorial (like the ones on my local river that will come hurtling towards you!) and found just in pairs but where there is a larger area with plenty of food available they will colonise, like here.River Soar view from Castle Gardens These are Mute Swans and you can see the juvenile swans with their grey bills. Certainly they were enjoying the plentiful food offered by kind passers by. They are ok to eat fresh bread but really it can cause algae in water that can be harmful, so it would be better to take along pieces of carrot, potato, spinach or lettuce for them. looking-at-swans Of course in Medieval times they were on the menu and I bet our Richard ate swan. Recent analysis shows that Richard III had a rich diet of swan, heron and egret.Mute swan The swan holds his legs up like this as their large surface area of their feet is used to control body temperature.feeding-swans I bet swans have been under this historic bridge, West Bridge, for generations. They can live until they are 30 but unfortunately these days, 12 is a the usual lifespan and that is due to human elements like pollution, fishing tackle injuries, vandalism and dogs. Makes you think what a pest humans are!West Bridge Leicester Some of the stone heads of West Bridge built in 1891. They depict the characters from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. I have a bit of a fascination with carved heads, grotesques and gargoyles. Stone-Heads-West-Bridge-Leicester   photo Chaucers-Tales-stone-heads-Leicester_zpsq8ku1xik.jpg
A swan asleep tucks his head away. Happy snoozing away on the river. The slight staining on the head is from feeding in iron-rich waters or from mud whilst searching for water weeds, plants and snails.sleeping-swan So here in Leicester, the swans are for Richard III and what an event that was on Sunday and I cannot wait to write about it. A perfect day of history, sunshine and nature.River Soar Grand-Union-Canal
 I love our waterways in the UK, such special places for wildlife and nice to see us all happily coexisting from walker and canal boats to wildfowl and mammals.

 Fairly recently a cygnet had become trapped within a lock system and the parents tried and tried to encourage the young swan to fly out. Eventually I think a member of the boating community intervened and all is well. swans and ducks  photo Cor-Blimey-boat_zpsunxwf2ap.jpg


March celebrations #BalloonTime

cheery balloons Balloons make a party. Beautiful, colourful cheery balloons. My son loves them and so do I. The perfect decoration whether it be in corners of rooms, above doors, as table centres or fancy balloon arches. However, it has to be said than helium balloons are the best, they float, there's life in them and rather than just hanging there limp, they are bobbing around and are a lot more fun.

Monday, 23 March 2015

My solar eclipse memories

Here in Cheshire we were lucky to see the solar eclipse and here it is like the Cheshire cat's smile.

Such a strange sensation, the sky become dusky, everything felt silent. Like a dull cloudy morning but the atmosphere felt still.

A pair of wood pigeons landed in the tree opposite my house started roosting in their tree.

After the solar eclipse I did notice that the birds were singing again, was this the false dawn chorus? Had it really caused such a behavioural response?

Some facts:

If you missed it, there will be another total eclipse of the same size in 2026.

How marvellous that an eclipse happens - the sun is 400 times larger in diameter than the moon and 400 times further away.

In the UK, for the most, we were able to see a 96% eclipse. For a total eclipse Svalbard, in the Norwegian archipelago or the Faroe Islands, between Norway and Iceland were the best places to be.

Bailey's Beads  are the bright uneven edges at totality (when the moon obscures the sun), like beads due to the sun shining through the  rocky surface of the lunar landscape. The last bead that brightly shines is referred to as the diamond ring effect.

Solar prominences are plasma flares that can be seen under totality.

In places like Svalbard, the chroma, red gassy atmosphere can be seen.

The moon moves 3cm away from the earth every year. One day, 500 millions of years away, there will be no solar eclipse.