Royal Paddocks Allotments website masthead
email icon

Any comments, ideas or suggestions for what you’d like to see on the website? Please email us.

New Pond on the Block, Kestrel Pair, Butterflies, Jersey Tiger and paths

Date posted: Thursday 16th July 2020

New Pond on the Block, Kestrel Pair, Butterflies, Jersey Tiger and paths

There’s a new pond on the block! Tracy’s finally finished a project that was thought through at every stage and took a while to complete, with great attention to different depths and lining to create a splendid wildlife pond – sloping sides for creatures to enter and leave safely, marginal pond plants to attract damsels and dragonflies and a central depth of over 70cm to provide safe habitats for aquatic wildlife. And almost immediately it was completed the first pond skaters were in! It’s an attractive addition to a very diverse and interesting plot.

Last week while on my plot an almighty squawking and cawing broke out nearby, created by these two juvenile kestrels – perched high up in a park perimeter tree. The parent bird flew in briefly and then was off again, leaving the two young birds surveying the scene from their vantage point…not the best shot as they were quite far away. If I hadn’t had my binoculars trained on the tree I’d have never seen them!

After what felt like weeks of extremely hot and dry weather it’s now become cooler, overcast, muggy and humid (perfect tomato blight weather!). There have been a couple of days of rain, but not nearly enough and the ground is very dry, so watering the thirsty squash, cucumbers and courgettes is still a regular ‘must-do’.

Many butterflies around this summer – small tortoiseshells, peacocks, red admirals, holly blues, marbled whites, commas, large and small whites, meadow browns, gatekeepers and skippers foraging on the marjoram and flowers on my plot and over the site.

A spectacular visitor was spotted resting on the side of the Seed Store building last Tuesday, as we were having a socially distanced tea break; this stunning Jersey Tiger Moth, now fairly widespread in the south; scientific name: Euplagia quadripunctaria. It feeds mainly on ground ivy, white dead-nettle, bramble and common nettle – all the more reason to allow these valuable food source plants room and space on our site!

Many bees busy during the dry days of summer. A very popular plant at the moment is the sphaerocephalon allium, a real bee magnet; and also the majoram, now flowering profusely on my plot.

Since lockdown there has been less rigorous strimming and cutting back of the main road foliage, and the bees and other pollinators are benefiting from the ensuing flowering clover and other path flowers.

Still very sad about the demise and removal of the wonderful ornamental crab apple at the front of the entrance site with an empty space where it once stood, see above! It still had Mistletoe growing on the healthy branches; the tree surgeon who removed the tree has said that there were no pathogens, so it could grow back. We’re now thinking possibly of planting a new fruiting tree next year to commemorate the RPA’s centenary – the Royal Charter was granted on 30 June 1921.