snowdrops by the pond

Wood and Meadow

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Thursday 10th February 2000

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the woodand meadow

snowdrops THE SNOWDROPS are at their best; they've spread in swathes along the back of the pond, down the path by the shrub bed and across what I originally intended to be a patch of wildflower meadow.

nettle The meadow started off well enough. I planted a wildflower seed mix which produced plenty of Dog Daisies in the first few summers. Snakeshead Fritillaries, planted as bulbs didn't do too badly in the first few springs. But gradually Nettles, Thistles, Hedge Parsley and taller grasses began to take over. While these are Out of the bulbs it was the Snowdrops that found conditions to their liking.

creeping thistle Ironically our problem is probably that our soil is too rich. It is dark crumbly, what you'd call a loam, rather than sandy or clayey. As the taller plants moved in our small patch of wildflower meadow came to closely resemble the neglected meadow on the other side of the hedge.

cow parsley I should probably have been more ruthless in cutting it back. I always allowed so much time for the plants to flower and set seed that it was not until early autumn that I cut it back. Shade from the apple trees made it more like woodland edge habitat than open meadow.

At the moment it has a neglected look, it's a favourite place for next doors chickens to come and scratch around.

robinthe other robin We're seeing two Robins in the garden more often. The bird holding the territory around the bird table has been quite agressive. It chases off not just other robins but also Dunnocks and Sparrows. Both male and female robins hold winter territories.

The second robin is hopping about not far away, at the other side of the plant tub and I can't believe that the resident bird doesn't know that it is their, just a yard or so away. It's not until the second bird hops directly into sight that the first gives chase, flying under the hedge and then back again over our garden.

I get the impression that he, or she, is just at the stage between holding its ground and welcoming a mate into its territory.

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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