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Nature blog - Jenny Bourne

The RPA Nature blog with Jenny Bourne.

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Where's the strawberries? New bed, butterflies and National Dawn Chorus day!

Date posted: Friday 5th May 2017

Where's the strawberries?  New bed, butterflies and National Dawn Chorus day!

A surprise visitor on our plots last week – this female mallard had been seen enjoying the small ponds in neighbouring plots, including a small ceramic sink as well as Flora’s larger newt pond! Jemima Puddleduck wasn’t much perturbed by my close presence as she pottered around my plot and checked out the next door neighbour’s strawberry bed. Someone said that a few years ago a mallard egg had been laid on their plot nearby – wonder if she was it, coming back to home territory?! I wasn’t keen for her to discover my pond, full of tadpoles, as she’d be hoovering them up, but she was quicker than me – a splash and in she was, trawling for snacks..! I shooed her out and had to cover the pond. Five days later and there’s no sign of her.. hope the fox didn’t get Jemima!

Continuing to work on our new front entrance bed, planted up with a variety of flowers that attract bees, butterflies, hoverflies etc, all beneficial insects for plotholders.. also some white flowers for noctural moths etc. The list so far comprises salvias, sedums, campanula, nepeta (great bee favourite!), helenium, echinops, digitalis, thyme, scabious and more.. also putting in a small shrub bed of hebe and perovskia..

It’ll need a degree of hoeing and watering – rampant with bindweed and couch grass when we cleared it and I’m hoping plotholders will lend a hand as they go past!

Peacocks, brimstones and this lovely female orange tip all fluttering around in the past couple of days. It’s been a poor time for butterflies and their numbers are declining horribly. I’m leaving patches of nettles wherever possible for egg laying. Didn’t see any cinnabar moths on my plants last year, either… gloom and doom to match the current national and international political situations!

On a cheerier note, it’s National Dawn Chorus day this Sunday, as well as our Plant Sale. I probably won’t be rising at 5.00am to hear the birds performing their glorious harmonies and choruses, but hope it’s a good one!