What a wonderful Easter weekend we have just had in Aberdeen. Saturday was lovely and bright, though still a chill in the air and Sunday was incredible. It was so warm I even considered getting the sun cream on. The wooden seat for our granite bench was taken out of hibernation from the garage and the soft seat for our old wooden bench was retrieved from the towel cupboard! We had our lunch in the garden and I’m sure many people gave the BBQ its first outing.
I have decided to give husband Mike a blog name – it seems to be the done thing and is quite fun. So from now on he will be known as ‘The Traveller’. The reason for this is that he is always – well – travelling! Usually, though, the travelling is done during the week leaving the weekends free for all those little tasks I have listed during the week. (I wish!)
The first job last weekend was to put up another wire on the fence ready for the new growth by my fan-trained plum tree which, by the way, is doing extremely well these days. I am now beginning to panic about the training and pruning, but I am sure there is lots of advice on the web.
Next job was to put up our Bee Hotel: a Christmas present from my ecology-minded sister and brother-in-law. (See top picture). These are supposed to provide nests for solitary bees. I had never heard of solitary bees , but apparently they are many and varied with such wonderful sounding names as leafcutter bees, carpenter bees and my favourite: the wool carder bee. These wool carder bees are so called because the female collects hairs from hairy plants such as Lambs Ear and rolls them into a ball which she then uses to line a cavity in a wall or in wood. The male is very territorial and fiercely guards his chosen patches of plants. If another insect strays in, it is likely to be wrestled to the ground and crushed with three prongs at the base of the male’s abdomen. Do I really want to encourage this sort of behaviour? I would like to see the female bee doing her stuff though and flying off with balls of ‘wool’ almost as big as herself.
The bee hotel came with a packet of seeds with flowers chosen specially to the bees’ taste – hence we started calling it our bee B and B! Even if I don’t get any bees, the bee B and B is an interesting addition to the garden.
I can’t believe I was complaining about the white heather under our ornamental cherry tree – well it has now taken the huff big time. Whether it was me cutting it back too severely last year or whether it was a problem with the bird feeders that I started hanging on the tree, I shall never know, but about half of the heather has just given up and died!
There was nothing for it but to cut it right back. I then moved a purple heather plant from round the side to partly fill the gap. I gave the whole plant a feed of ericaceous compost and a good water as well as giving it a light trim to remove the dying flower heads. While I was at it I dug the soil above the cherry tree to try to encourage it to spread in that direction (at the suggestion of David, one of my email followers). That is the last time I complain that something is growing too well!
The Traveller and I spent the rest of the day weeding the borders. Well, if the truth were told, we did a bit of weeding, a bit of sitting, a bit of weeding, a bit of photography, a bit of admiring the garden – you get the idea. A hot sunny day in April in Aberdeen was such a novelty that we really needed to enjoy it. You never know when the next one will come along.
As I was weeding I was closely shadowed by our resident robin. I thought it would be nice to include his photo, so later in the afternoon went in for the camera. We set it up on the tripod pointing at the bird bath and I started digging around there so we could get a really picuresque photo. I dug and I dug some more; I put some extra bird seed on the path and I dug again. No robin. Unbelievable, we have a camera -shy robin. So then we had another sit on the bench just listening to all the lovely birdsong. We were fascinated by a rather fluffy, fairly dull bird on the wall who seemed to be cleaning his feathers and taking in the sun. He didn’t rush off when the camera was out, in fact he seemed to enjoy posing.
A bit later we did manage to photograph the adult robin and surprise, surprise he turned out to be the parent of the fluffy bird on the wall!
Last week I had visited a local garden centre for some more compost and of course I came back with some new plants – well you have to don’t you!
I found yet another variety of primula to add to my collection – Primula Snowdrop. It will look lovely in the rockery with the purple Aubretia.
I also replaced a plant that I had lost previously – night-scented Phlox (Zaluzianskya Ovata) . It is a bit delicate, but a wonderful plant whose flowers open in the evening with a wonderful scent. Just to be sure, and as there was a sale on, I bought two! I will try to get some cuttings rooted from these in case we have a hard winter.
Spring continues at a pace with more tulips opening, the lilac tree about to blossom and the garden full of the scent of wallflowers and narcissus. It is a great time of the year.
Next Garden Update: End of Month View: April