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Nature blog - Jenny Bourne

The RPA Nature blog with Jenny Bourne.

Watch the seasons unfold right here at our very own allotments

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Des res for tawny owls, flowers, formation snails and much much more!

Date posted: Wednesday 24th May 2017

Des res for tawny owls, flowers, formation snails and much much more!

Yesterday two tawny owl nest boxes, purchased by our committee, were put up in a couple of lime trees adjoining our site, under the supervision of Matt Steinmann, Royal Parks Arboricultural Officer (and his dog, Peg!), who selected two decent sized trees that had minimal impact from the road.

Romain, from ATC Tree Care and Conservation, climbed up to approx 6m to position the boxes, with a clear flight path in for the owls. It looked alarming from down below but both Romain and team mate George are fully trained for the job!

Now let’s hope that the owls decide to take up residence – Tony said that there used to be a tawny owl in the tree at the back of his plot, probably 20 years ago so it would be exciting if they were to return and nest in our boxes!

The front entrance bed is now well established – bees and butterflies on the geraniums and scabious. The temptation is to keep adding more perennials as the list of flowers attractive to bees, hoverflies, butterflies etc is so extensive – would love to put in agastache, more asters, salvias, helenium, nicotiana sylvestris (for the moths) and much more but it’s only a small bed. As is often the way when you do anything, someone always knows better – ‘You don’t want to be doing it like that!’ and, true to form, a plotholder said the bed was too thickly planted, but we amicably agreed that plants could easily moved around later and I resisted the temptation to offer him the trowel…

Many white tailed bumbles around but this furry fellow enjoying the centaura had a reddish colouring – centaura, nepeta, alliums all now coming into flower and providing great foraging for bees.

Not sure what the purpose of this water snail formation was – any experts out there who can suggest an answer? My blog is now being read by at least 3 people, mostly family – my brother and second cousin so maybe, Mick and Will, you can find out and let me know!

Ants busy at immense speed and alacrity scurrying around the pot where they’ve taken up nesting in my yellow sedum. Only when they get into your shoes or clothes and give you a nasty nip do they really cause much of a nuisance..

A lovely tortoishell a couple of days ago and today my first brimstone spotted. I’ve seen tiny yellow butterfly eggs on the under side of leaves so intrigued to find out what they turn into.

It was so hot today that this young fox was slumped in the shadow of a neighbour’s bushes, this snapped yesterday afternoon – not at all apprehensive or alarmed by the presence of nearby people so I’m wondering if there’s something wrong with it, or maybe just a little dim!

In the heat of the last few days the best place to be is sitting under my apple tree with a cuppa, surveying my plot, thinly disguised as an allotment but primarily a flower garden – spot the spuds!