27 Jul 2010

Use the back door

Christmas wreath on door with bird's nest in it.
We've been a bit slow in taking down our Christmas decorations, and a bird (I think it's a tit) has hatched four chicks in this wreath on the front door.

26 Jul 2010

Slow worm seen

Slow worm on gravel, seen through grass.
A slow worm (a legless lizard) seen in the garden today. We usually see several of these a year, often in the heaps of lawn cuttings. The slow worm is a protected species like all the UK's native reptiles. It's harmless, and is good in the garden for removing pest insects.

They grow up to 50cm long and live about thirty years in the wild. Slow worms shed their tails as a defence mechanism, as other lizards do. The shed tail continues to thrash about on the ground as a decoy to predators whilst the slow worm escapes and grows another.

24 Jul 2010

Marigold and poppy companions

With the 'Black Magic' sunflowers.

'Black Magic' sunflower.

This is the plot in the middle of the vegetable garden in which the 'Black Magic' sunflowers are growing. This plot is filled with marigolds, bordered with red poppy, and has those sunflowers in the middle in two groups of three.

Poppies, marigolds and sunflowers.
The red poppies do an amazing job of attracting hover flies. The adult hover flies feed on nectar and pollen, and so aid pollination in the garden; and their larvae feed on aphids and other plant-sucking insects. I like the way a hover fly will stop mid-air, right in front of your face, and check you out.

Hoverflies on red poppy flower.
Hoverflies on red poppy flowers.

21 Jul 2010

How to make bread

How to make bread - video.
French baker, Richard Bertinet, 'the nearest thing bakery will ever have to a Jedi', shows how he makes bread in this video from The Guardian newspaper.

18 Jul 2010

Black Magic sunflower

This is the beautiful 'Black Magic' sunflower from Johnsons Seeds.

'Black Magic' sunflower.