Thursday, March 29, 2007

29 March: Nature and stuff

Yesterday, after a misty and chilly start, it became sunny and warm enough to sit out in the garden to wind some wool that was dyed on Tuesday.

The recently emerged bumble bees are still making good use of the hellebores to feed - and the hellebores have been good this year, with plenty of flowers and colour. The big one, H. Argutifolius (I think), near the house, provides an attractive evergreen to look at from the kitchen window, with the earliest flowers of the year. Down at the end of the garden, under the birch tree, are a group of varied hellebores, dark purple, reddish, and pale with purplish patches. They have all flourished, but so far have not provided the expected masses of seedlings.

Over in the side border, in the "herby" section, is a clump of what was labelled as comfrey when I bought it. But it's not the anticipated tall plant with curls of purple flowers that adorns some roadsides and hedges (the one I really wanted). It has similar flowers and leaves, but much smaller and the flowers are pinker, and the whole plant is only about 9 - 12 inches high. The initial disappointment with it has been more than offset, however, by the fact that it is irresistible to the local wren.

Yesterday, while checking the plants for progress, I noticed a number of ladybirds on this comfrey. And as I looked, there was a lot more movement, which turned out to be loads and loads of spiders, all scooting about on the leaves and on the soil round about. So I wonder if the spiders are what the wren comes for?

While I sat on the bench winding wool from skein to ball, a sparrow flew down to drink from the birdbath. I warned him that DH's cat was in the garden, but he took no notice, and flew up to the hanging seed feeder on the far side of the pergola. After taking lots of seeds from that, he moved to the big feeder on the near side of the pergola, only about 6 feet from where I was sitting. My presence, and the fact that I was moving about, and occasionally speaking to him, didn't seem to bother him at all, and he was there for several minutes, until the cat approached and finally spotted him, whereupon he flew up to the top of the birch tree and annoyed the cat by being totally out of reach but still plainly visible.

Actually, it's fairly unusual to see only one sparrow - they normally live in flocks, but it's been a funny spring for avian visitors.

And today is Peanut Yorkie's birthday - hope you enjoy it, don't overdo the sangria (or sweet sherry?) and have Many Happy Returns!


KAZ said...

What an idyllic scene.
I love wrens - so tiny yet so loud when they sing.
We don't seem to get many sparrows in Manchester these days. No one knows why.

Lucy said...

Wrens luv spiders!
a year or two ago we lost our crop of cabbages and kale to cabbage white caterpillars but we didn't much care because a whole family of wrens came and feasted on them all the late summer long. I can never understand how their little lungs can make that much noise.