Grand plans

DSCF9884And so it begins….the buying of seeds. I always start off sensibly, thinking about what I would really like to grow, then as winter drags on the blood seems to rush to my head and before I know it I’m acquiring packet after packet of seed. But, at the moment I’m still in the sensible, logical stage and have selected some veg, a packet of Himalayan blue Poppies, which I did have in the garden until the crazy chain saw guy trampled them all……and LOTS of Wild flower seeds. I must say though, Wild Flower seeds certainly aint cheap!!! This little lot cost me an arm and a leg!

DSCF9883I have a delightful Wild Flower Hedgerow mix which will be sown under the hedge all the way around the front garden…..erm, well… once I’ve weeded it!

DSCF9863And here, for the meadow behind the potato digger I have a selection of Meadow mix and a Wild Flower Cornfield mix. Ever since I’ve had the meadow, which is years now, hardly any Wild Flowers have grown in it, so I’m poking holes in it every day with a garden fork hoping to give the seeds a chance to establish themselves this year.

DSCF9749And under the enormous old Beech trees I shall sow a Wild Flower Woodland mixture. All the Wild Flowers are British, and many contain seeds from rare and declining British Wild Flowers. I’m hoping that they will flourish and feed and delight our pollinators… I need to go to work on creating more log piles and wild corners that will eventually become buggy hotels and homes to hedgehogs and other small mammals.


I‘ve left the Buddleia seed heads on for Winter feed for the birds.

I am beginning to worry about our wildlife. The seasons are now so varied and unpredictable that they are having a detrimental effect on all sorts of species. At the rescue, tiny hedgehogs as well as adults are constantly being brought in. The late Spring we had last year resulted in the hogs having their second litter exceptionally late, so very few of them will survive. Now, the mild winter is bringing the adults out of hibernation and they have nothing to eat so are wandering about, starving. I do hope you Brits out there will help these little guys out, by leaving a little food and water out. They will eat cat and dog food, but dislike fish.

The other concern is that birds are already building nests, and again, there is little food to feed the young and a sudden cold snap will kill the chicks.

DSCF9886Ivy coming into flower, it’s a superb plant for wildlife as the seed heads provide an excellent winter food.

Talking of strange weather, last night was downright weird. As I let the dogs in about midnight, I heard the wind screaming and roaring around the garden. The odd thing was though, not a single branch was moving, it was almost like the wind was trapped in it’s own vortex! To add to the spooky effect a couple of owls were shrieking, and my little midnight warbler, a robin, was singing away. It’s odd with robins, they sing day and night, all year round, the only garden bird to do this.

DSCF9844Remember the felled tree border that was FULL of giant, heavy concrete stones? Well, aftrer much grunting and cursing, Hubs eventually moved them for me. He was not at all impressed with me faffing about re their exact location which meant him moving them several times….

DSCF9842But finally they ended up on this flagged area and are now planted with a variety of grasses. Aint they sweet eh?

Now I can crack on with clearing that border!


 The wild winds we’ve had recently brought down a bower that my aged Clematis had been growing up, so I was really worried that it’s roots had snapped. So I trotted off and bought a new support for it, and was so pleased to find it more or less intact. I think I’ve gone a little bright re the orange paint though….hopefully it will disappear once it bursts into leaf…

DSCF9826And finally….just look at the Shitake mushrooms growing in the mushroom kit. I think they are quite ready to be fried in butter with garlic and herbs…



  42 comments for “Grand plans

  1. January 22, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Hmmm. My last comment went ‘poof’! Let’s try again. I’m very impressed with the size of that buddleia — it must be charming arching over that path and blooming away. At your recommendation, I got two: a tiny one for a small corner and a larger one for a big container.

    Himalayan Poppies? I’ve been tempted by the photos on those seed packets many a time. Unfortunately, they never germinate! But perhaps they will like your climate better. You are so good with seeds.

    The new location for the flagged area looks terrific. Well chosen (and thanks to your husband’s help!). I like how it sets off the plantings.

    • Snow Bird
      January 22, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      Oh noooooo….sorry to hear your comment went poof, I absolutely hate it when that happens, so thanks for doing it twice! The site has been on the blink tonight for some reason, I’ll have daughter take a look at it when she gets in.
      I’m looking forward to how your Buddleia grow, my experience is they’re impossible to kill and grow so quickly. Yours will be a butterfly magnet like mine, I’ve counted up to fifty butterflies on mine at any given time in summer. I’ve bought another one now, it’s called Flower Power and is rainbow coloured, it’s in that space by the wheelbarrow in the back garden pic.
      I grew the Himalayan poppy and it was so beautiful, but the guy trampled it to death. It did take two years to flower though.How strange yours didn’t germinate….

  2. January 22, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    So happy to hear all your garden plans and dreams, Miss Dina! What delights you have planned. I look forward to the photos of all these color explosions. I love poppies, too, and can’t yet narrow down this year’s order from this catalog. They all look so lovely:

    I love the new clematis support. Of course, everything here is freezing and white, so I’ve been drinking in all the colors of your post quite merrily.

    Hooray for your husband’s mighty efforts! The rocks look amazing where they finally came to rest, just perfect!

    And if I wasn’t so very fond of you I’d be quite envious of that forthcoming shitake feast…I hope you’ll tell us how good they were, and include every mouthwatering detail!

    Thank you for the wonderful, perfect shot of joy you always provide, Dina.

    • Snow Bird
      January 22, 2014 at 8:16 pm

      Oh….what a lovely poppy catalog. I had me a good look around it, as you say there are many beauties there…..but….I rather liked, loved….Oriental Poppy Coral Reef Poppies, Grape Poppies Papaver, and Iceland Poppy Seed Artists Glory…..there were a lot more mind!!!

      Oh….I’m shivering thinking of all that snow, it is beautiful to look at but when it lingers for weeks and weeks it must create difficulties.
      Hubs nearly bust a gut even though he was assisted by a set of wheels. They should look pretty once I get the grasses in them growing a little.
      Hahahaha…..I shall post on the mushrooms JUST for you, I have a passion for mushrooms, just like a little Hobbit I am! Thanks

  3. godschool
    January 22, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    I’m always in awe of people who have such a creative approach to gardening, and really love it and make it look fabulous – I love your holistic approach thinking about plants and animals and birds and everything. I’m sure your garden will flourish and I’m looking forward to watching how it grows!

    • Snow Bird
      January 22, 2014 at 8:23 pm

      Oh, I do hope it all grows and ends up looking fabulous and being wildlife friendly, but sometimes the best made plans….and all that, but a girl can dream eh???I must say I’m really excited about the back garden especially as it has been a dust bath for the last two years because of the dawgs…thanks

  4. January 22, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    I’ve enjoyed reading this post – good for you, flagging up the need to keep an eye on wildlife; trees round here are weighed down with berries and, being an urban environnent, nearly every front garden has something to offer the birds! I’ve never seen hedgehogs here on the outskirts of London (but I suppose if we can have wallabies, we can surely have a hedgehog or two!). We do, however, have foxes and rats so I won’t be leaving any cat or dog food out!
    That business of the weird weather is a bit spooky, isn’t it – hearing wind but no branches moving? That would freak me out!

    • Snow Bird
      January 22, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      How good to hear you still have lots of berries around and gardens with plenty of food for the birds. All our berries seemed to have been blown off sadly. It was a bumper harvest this year for sure. I always leave a mound of apples for the birds to munch on over winter.
      Lol….I remember that crazy wallaby story….struth …It’s odd but lots of people in London are saying they haven’t seen hedgehogs for a few years, I wonder why?
      That was a VERY strange wind… sounded like a high pitched….WOOOOOOO….Thanks

  5. January 22, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    You are doing such a fabulous job, and I LOVE wildflower gardens. Keep up the good work….one day I would love to visit you and your garden……and if course hubs and the dogs, and the cats, and the hogs:) xxxx

    • Snow Bird
      January 22, 2014 at 8:51 pm

      Thanks Janet, you are MOST welcome here ANY time, it would be a delight to finally meet you, we could lunch amonst the meadows with flowers all around enjoying home grown food with the dawgs bounding around!!! xxx

  6. Glo
    January 22, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    What a great start to Spring now that you have received your varied seed packets and have such exciting plans. What a big job moving those heavy stones, but now they are moved to their new location, thanks to the workout by your husband. I can picture your wildflower meadow and garden areas from your description and look forward to seeing them as they evolve. I agree with others who have left comments about your caring ways towards all creatures great and small. It’s good of you to increase awareness to the plight of many of the animals.

    • Snow Bird
      January 22, 2014 at 8:54 pm

      This is such an exciting time isn’t it, it’s like the calm before the storm, you buy the seeds, sow them then run around like a headless chicken trying to keep up with the watering and transplanting etc….bring it on though!
      Poor Hubs, those stones were heavy but I think they will look pretty once the plants establish.
      I really hope my meadow takes this year, I am punching thousands of holes in it….
      Thanks So much

  7. Glo
    January 22, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    PS My first comment went poof like Nikki’s – said it had timed out, so I rewrote it in Word and pasted it on here ~ don’t know if there is a setting that has changed?

    • Snow Bird
      January 22, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      Oh nooooooooooooo….you too? I’m so sorry….it happened to me too, I think there must be a problem with the server struggling today or something, but it aint ‘alf annoying! Thanks for taking the time to have another go….xxx

  8. January 22, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Wow! You have certainly been spending the cold/wet Winter in Creative Mood…..All these plans…. 🙄
    I’m sure they will all come to fruition….
    Some hard work ahead…..then…..
    S-P-R-I-N-GGGGGGG……. :lalala:
    Hugs! xx

    • Snow Bird
      January 22, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      Winter is a lovely time for making plans ……I can’t wait for Spring, not too far away now….sighs….Thanks

  9. January 22, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Do your neighbours ever try to find out what you are up to, and what your planting plans are for the year?

    The kit Shitake mushrooms are good, we had a kit last year, it’s a big yum to think about them.

    • Snow Bird
      January 22, 2014 at 9:27 pm

      I have lovely neighbours who may think I’m a little dotty, but we do all get involved in what each other is up to and that’s great for sharing produce and plants….so much swopping goes on, it’s almost like a market.
      Oh….that’s SO good to hear about the mushrooms, I can’t wait to get my gnashers around them. They grow so quickly too. Thanks

  10. January 23, 2014 at 4:09 am

    While you’re having an unwinter, we’re having record breaking cold and my school has been closed all week because of the snow and ice. It’s really weird. A close friend of mine lives outside of London and she has a special cat-proof hedgehog house in her garden. We named her hog Nigel when I was there. She even feeds him cat food. I have a little hedgehog statue in my garden to remind me of England. We had a very similar unwinter a few years back that threw all the animals and insects off schedule. Strange days, indeed!

    • Snow Bird
      January 23, 2014 at 6:12 pm

      I’ve been watching your weather on the news and it’s terrifying., everywhere around the world now we hear of records being broken. Without a doubt, the weather is becoming more and more extreme worldwide. We seem to have endless rain and winds and over the last few years, snow in spring….
      I enjoyed hearing about Nigel….your friend sounds a real sweetie. xxx

  11. January 23, 2014 at 4:16 am

    I hope your wildflower mixes do well. I also worry about the wildlife around here and there ability to adapt to the changing and unstable weather patterns.

    • Snow Bird
      January 23, 2014 at 6:13 pm

      I really hope this is the year I finally get Wild Flowers in my little meadow area! Yes, the weather worldwide is more extreme and worrying, for people and

  12. Jo
    January 23, 2014 at 9:24 am

    You’ve got so many plans, I love this time of year, all the anticipation of the gardening year to come. Our wildlife is really struggling, I do what I can, but there isn’t much we can do about the weather, unfortunately. You’ve been very successful with your mushroom kit, they look beauties. I adore mushrooms, the only one in the family who will eat them.

    • Snow Bird
      January 23, 2014 at 6:15 pm

      It is a lovely time to plan while having no real gardening to do….then it all gets a little crazy….seeds to be planted weeds to be battled and the big clear up of course!
      The mushrooms have grown so quickly, I can’t wait to cook them…..hey lucky you, no-one to compete with for mushrooms!!! Thanks

  13. Linda
    January 23, 2014 at 10:00 am

    Your garden looks great with all the hard work done recently. I’m keeping my comment short as I keep getting timed out. All the best, Dina.

    • Snow Bird
      January 23, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      Thanks Linda….so sorry about you being timed out too….how annoying. It’s happening to me too as I reply to comments. It seems to be a server issue! xxx

  14. January 23, 2014 at 11:03 am

    As ever a most enjoyable post and terrific pictures.
    Although the wild flower seeds might have been expensive they’ll be well worth it once established. Besides which the cheaper mixtures usually only contain a handful of common varieties.
    I agree about the weather confusing fauna, flora and us. A cold snap is going to do none of us any good.
    I hope that those mushrooms taste as good as they look. xx

    • Snow Bird
      January 23, 2014 at 6:20 pm

      Thanks Flighty, I do agree with you about the seeds, I think that’s why the meadow area has failed in the past, low quality seeds, so it is worth the investment. I do hope they all take.
      Fingers crossed we don’t get a cold snap…..oh those mushrooms…..I can’t wait to try them!xxx

  15. January 23, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    I love all your plans for the garden. All those wildflowers and new wild areas sound fantastic. I want to do the same, but I don’t suppose I’ll plant as many wildflower seeds as I want to because of cost. I shall have to rein in that excitement, too, when I thumb through those seed catalogues!
    I didn’t realise that it was such a bad year for hedgehogs. I wish I had little hogs here to help, but I’ve never seen any all the time I’ve been here. I think it’s due to the intensive arable farming in the fields over the back of us.
    I adore mushrooms – so I’m very envious of yours!
    A wonderful post, as always Dina.

    • Snow Bird
      January 23, 2014 at 6:24 pm

      Thanks Wendy, if all the seeds grow it should be gorgeous for sure so fingers crossed eh? It is a shame about the price of seed these days, so yes, we do have to restrain ourselves!!!
      Hedgehogs seem to be really scarce in some areas, I think farming is a problem as well as gardens being too tidy. Their numbers are dropping drastically each year, at this rate I can see them on the endangered list….how weird that would be.
      Lol….you’ll have to get growing some mushrooms! This is my first time, all I have to do is mist them daily….easy peasy when they come in a kit!xxx

  16. January 23, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Mike was up at the top of the hill early yesterday morning when he heard a very loud and weird ‘whooshing’ sound, like wind. Probably not the same cause as your noise though because it turned out to be a starling murmuration! How I’d have loved to have seen that.

    • Snow Bird
      January 23, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      Oh wow!!! How fantastic to see the starlings….shame you missed it, but lucky Mike!
      The wind was really strange, it was truly howling yet nothing was moving….shivers….xxx

  17. January 23, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Your Shitake Mushroom’s look perfect. Well done. I bet they will taste as good as they look. x

    • Snow Bird
      January 23, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      Thanks Sam….I’m going to have some for lunch tomorrow…xxx

  18. January 24, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    How lovely to have lots of plans to look forward to working on! I love the idea of all the wild flowers in the garden and the encouraging of habitats for the creatures etc

    I reckon the weather vortex in your garden was like the vortex you are in all you whirling around keeping so busy! 😉 xxx

    • Snow Bird
      January 27, 2014 at 12:50 am

      I think that’s why I love gardens so much, they constantly evolve and grow ….nothing is ever the same, we are just the guardians, their slaves….the plants say move me….or weed around me….lol
      My aim is to have a garden that is beautiful and natural and good for all insects and wildlife that choose to visit or live there.
      Lol…..that was one WEIRD wind….I’ve NEVER heard anything like it!!! Ever!xxx

  19. January 24, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Fantastic pics. So now you have to get organised for growing. We have had unseasonable weather down here too. We have just had the driest and warmest winter on record, but also here in Wellington we have some damn annoying winds too. We are living up to our reputation of Windy Wellington, but it hasn’t been that bad in recent years. There is climate change, but I think there is cyclical weather patterns too. I think in the UK you are having weather that was experienced 50 years ago – same here. Good luck with all the planting. I await your coming summer to see your gardens, and little visitors.

    • Snow Bird
      January 27, 2014 at 12:52 am

      Thanks Peter, I do agree about the weather, it’s changing for all of us all over the world….we wil all have to re-think the seasons for sure. xxx

  20. January 25, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Good luck with the wild flowers – don’t be too enthusiastic with the weeding 🙂

    • Snow Bird
      January 27, 2014 at 12:53 am

      Thanks Sue….yes….I shall be very careful with the wild flowers…and won’t be weeing around them!!! xxx

  21. January 27, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Isn’t the weather funny these days! Here we are having quite the winter: tons of snow and freezing temperatures. I can’t remember a recent winter when we have had this many cold warnings. I fear for the hedgehogs and the nesting birds. How terrible there is so little food for them!
    So far I have resisted buying any seeds. They aren’t cheap are they? I have made no plans yet, so you are well ahead of me. I look forward to seeing how your seeds progress.

    • Snow Bird
      January 27, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      I think the weather is changing worldwide now and records are being constantly broken….it’s scary to think where it’s all going. Here it’s just endless rain and wind, there are floods all over the UK. It must be hard for wildlife, I do feel sorry for them, Oh….seeds seem to become more expensive every year…’s so easy to spend a small fortune. I tend to do a mixture of good quality expensive seed and cheap not so good quality, which often turn out great.
      Thanks Jennifer, hope the snow goes

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