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  • Writer's pictureOverstrand Life

Tuesday 9th April 2024 - Warmth, Looks Pretty Pathetic, Spotter Survey and Adaptable Seeds

Discounting today, the weather since my last blog on Friday has been dry with good spells of sunshine and warmth.  For us, it’s been perfect for spending time in the garden and having our second BBQ of 2024. Peter has been busy on his vegetable plot and mowing the grass while I’ve potted on tomato and pepper plants, as well as trying to revamp the area at the end of our garden, dominated by trees. 


I say ‘trying’ because I currently don’t know whether it’s all going to work out as planned, as they say, ‘time will tell’.  We have three trees in this part of the garden, a fig, walnut and Portugal laurel. The latter has to be one of, if not, my favourite tree; it’s evergreen, has stunning blooms followed by berries which the wild birds gorge as they strip them from the stems.  The tree canopy means, when the fig and walnut are in full leaf, light on the ground below is at best, dappled.  We have a variety of shrubs, beneath the trees, but it is the choisya and mahonia which have been hampering the growth of other plants, apart from the Spanish bluebells.  The other week, I cut back the choisya which immediately gave more light to the ground below and this weekend it was the turn of the mahonia; this is now denuded and I must admit, looks pretty pathetic.  However, I followed the instructions on a Youtube video, showing they will tolerate a hard cut back and I did this before, some twelve or so years ago, and it came back with leaves, followed by flowers and berries.  I have moved a few plants into this better lit area, which may or may not take.  If it all works out, this area of the garden will have more colour and interest.


The warm weather, over the weekend, has started to bring out the butterflies.  In our garden and on our walks, I have spotted a tortoiseshell, a couple of holly blues, either a peacock or red admiral (it zipped across the garden too fast for a proper identification) and an orange tip.  I was particularly pleased to see the orange tip and was able to log this sighting on the Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s spotter survey.  The spotter survey has been designed to help answer the question on many people’s lips, ‘Is spring starting earlier?’  There are a couple more indicators, I will be looking out for in the village and logging as and when I see them.


It's amazing how adaptable seeds can be to different situations and conditions, taking advantage of the tiniest crack to germinate and grow.  Buddleias are a good example and of course weeds are too but what surprised me, last autumn, was two bellis plants growing in a crack in our garden path.  These were self-set seeds from plants in the adjacent border.  Since then, care was taken not to tread on them and this spring the plants have rewarded us with a display of their daisy flowers, see photo below.  Now, what’s the betting, if I purposely drop bellis seeds into some of the other cracks and crevices in our garden the seeds don’t germinate!


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