Latest posts by higgy50

Please help ID this plant!

Posted: 26/01/2014 at 10:41

I had some of these in a south facing porch in our old house and they flowered right through a mild winter one year!!

Big garden bird watch

Posted: 26/01/2014 at 10:38

You just have to submit what you see!

This does seem a shame I know but I presume that the countries general weather conditions etc come into play at some point.

I think most on here experience several species that simply don't turn up on the day.

If you feel it really is a complete misrepresentation of the norm you could put out some more feed and try again in a couple of hours maybe?

cold frame wood or brick

Posted: 26/01/2014 at 10:33

Another idea for anyone short on space is to simply add a framework with shelves to the side of a shed.

The picture below doesn't demonstrate this but I used a thick piece of fleece or you can use heavyweight weed resistant cloth to hang down over the front of the framework at night time. I did this by screwing a baton to the shed with the fleece trapped underneath, on the other end of the fleece was another baton to give it weight and keep it in place when rolled down. When not in use just roll the fleece back up using the bottom baton and clip up out of the way during day time or when not in use. (I hope that makes sense?)

 Apologies that I don't have a picture of it completed but I hope that the above explanation makes sense?



cold frame wood or brick

Posted: 26/01/2014 at 10:18

I have been fortunate to have sourced some reclaimed 6feet long 3x3 posts which I shall be using to build a cold frame out of soon if it ever gets dry enough! (Getting frustrated now!)

I also managed to reclaim of 2 old wooden sash windows, which someone was throwing out and I shall hinge on the top of the new cold-frame when built.....


So my thoughts like many others on here is see what you can 'reclaim' through the free adds or your local freecycle group and then get creative!

This is my old temporary cold-frame which was literally a few reclaimed planks of wood screwed together and then covered with fleece at night. Although a bit 'rough' it actually worked well. The only problem here is that where the wood meets the ground it will in time rot but then as it didn't cost anything!...


Adding some gravel into the bottom of the cold-frame works well for a bit of drainage and upsetting the slugs a bit.

Big garden bird watch

Posted: 26/01/2014 at 09:48

RSPB site still down!

I manage to get though yesterday and submitted my results but after hitting the 'submit results' button I got a massage something like

'Thank you for submitting your results, the website is experiencing problems try again later'

So I'm not sure if they have gone through or not!!??

Like everyone else I have other birds braving the weather this morning but that's the way it goes I suppose. It's absolutely 'lashing' it down here in North Somerset and the strong wind is creating horizontal rain!!  The birds are being battered today but they're still feeding, My female Sparrowhawk is also still passing the feeders every 20mins or so but not managing to catch anything so I wonder if she's young and inexperienced?



Big garden bird watch

Posted: 25/01/2014 at 19:46
Forester2 wrote (see)

higgy - that was a huge amount of birds you saw.  I could hear the sparrows cheeping away in the hedge next to the window but I couldn't SEE them so not included.  Still haven't been able to record my data yet.

That's a fairly normal day here although I would generally see Chaffinch, house Sparrow and Jackdaw also!

Since we have been developing the garden for wildlife and recording what visits our bird list has also grown, we currently sit at 45 species of bird in the four years that we have been doing this! We also have a butterfly list of 20 species and our moth list that we started this summer is at about 110 but we have a few UFO's!!

Having said this we are fortunate to have open countryside at the bottom of the garden but gardening for wildlife does work!!!

Hypercharleyfarley - I reckon your LBB's are most likely to be either sparrows or Dunnocks, the Dunnock is a much overlooked bird and is an interesting little chap when you take time to watch.

Did they look like this...


 Or like these House Sparrows?...

Female House Sparrow


 Outside Chance for a LBB could be the Reed Bunting?...

Reed Bunting (male on left, female right)

 Any of those look like your LBB's??



Overgrown Montana Clematis

Posted: 25/01/2014 at 16:54

I'm no expert on pruning but from experience they can be pruned back pretty hard. I only know this as we had one that was really old (probably older and bigger than yours) but had to get access to repair some broken fence panels. The only way to repair them was to hack the Montana and a Honeysuckle right back really hard.

Within 2 years it looked like this...

(the fence panels are behind it and it's spread up over a small tree!!)...

Someone who knows about pruning will tell you more but this is my experience of it if it helps?





Big garden bird watch

Posted: 25/01/2014 at 16:38

Forester, I also had the Sparrow problem, generally lots as with Chaffinch and neither turned up during the count today!

I did OK although couldn't deliver on 'dovefromabove's' wader but got close with Black-headed gull !!

So my results look like this...

Blackbird - 3

Dunnock - 1

Bluetit - 2

Starling - 3 (counted 55 in total if you could include the fly overs)

Sparrowhawk - 1 (this female bird actually did 3 passes over my feeders during the hour long survey!!!)

Robin - 2

Wood Pigeon - 3

Great Tit - 2

Crow - 2

Pied Wagtail - 1 (Unusual in gardens here)

Black-headed Gull - 6

Reed Bunting - 1 (usual number would be 3 - 5 birds)

Blackcap - 2 (Male & Female)

Goldfinch - 6

Collared Dove - 1 (low numbers for here)

Magpie - 1

Greenfinch - 4




Wildlife friendly

Posted: 25/01/2014 at 10:03

Looking forward to it Peachy, don't forget to ask if you need any help.



How to build your own raised beds

Posted: 24/01/2014 at 19:34

I have also made raised beds with decking which works quite well and is functional...

 And Sleepers, which make for a more 'substantial' raised bed...

 But for a different idea which sort of sits between deck boards and sleepers I use old fencing posts stacked alternatively as below to give a nice finish....


 With the 'fence post' raised bed above I added and bench on the end for extra seating.

Another material I have utilised for raised beds and that work well are reclaimed scaffold boards...


 Then just add some gravel to finish off...



And all these were made with reclaimed or 'free to collector' materials!!


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