#30DaysWild – Challenge Accepted!

It seems that I’ve not written much on the blog for a while, mainly because it is a tremendously busy time of year in the garden. Any spare moments were filled with sowing/planting and are now, necessarily, filled with watering to keep things going. Tomorrow’s temperatures are forecast to be ~27 degs here, which means ~30+ in the Walled Garden at Wimpole where I am still putting in summer plants. I predict a short day, plus some watering of course!

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Meanwhile, I was alerted that The Wildlife Trust was once again running their #30DaysWild campaign for June, with the aim of getting as many people as possible to engage with nature each day. Over 65,000 people had signed up last time I checked their website. So I am giving that a go too. Originally I was going to blog about it every few days, but you know that didn’t happen! I have managed to keep up so far though and have been recording daily activities on Twitter.

Luckily, ‘Wild’ activities don’t have to be earth-shatteringly challenging or particularly outrageous, just something to get you to connect with the world outside your home, being mindful of nature and wildlife. For instance, one of their suggested activities is to take lunch outside in a park or a garden, or it could be going for a walk in the woods, spotting butterflies, looking for wildflowers in the pavement cracks etc. The Wildlife Trust make suggestions via their blog, website and App. Plus you can check out what other people are doing (and steal their ideas) using the #30DaysWild tag on Twitter.

I’ve tried to make my ‘Wilds’ quite varied and as many as possible outside of my normal gardening/dog-walking activities (although there have been a few days when I’ve taken the easy option).

So here are a few of the things I’ve been up to:

A visit to Thriplow SSSI: famed for its marsh orchids. Sadly, where once there were thousands I found only a dozen or so, but I didn’t get to see much of the second field as I was herded out of there by several large cows! I left as calmly as I could (having read the reassuring note on the entry stile). I hope that the orchids weren’t all on the other side of that field!

Foraging – Wild strawberries, Lime flowers, Dog roses, Lemon Balm and Elderflowers. Then variously making Linden tea, Lemon Balm tisane, floral ice cubes (all firsts) and that classic (but staple) : Elderflower champagne.

An educational visit to Madingley Hall for a guided tour (organised by the Wildlife Trust) with the Head Gardener around the Capability Brown landscape there.

Planting marginals in our new pond. These nearly instantly attracted dragonflies, as they now have somewhere to perch at the edge of the water. So ‘Dragonfly Spotting’ turned into another ‘Wild’ activity, which I was happy to share with my fairly immobile parents when they visited a couple of weeks back.

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Other spotting activities have included: bugs, butterflies, baby birds and parasitic plants (Broomrape).

 

Making a new wing for the bug hotel.

A visit to the ‘Gardens Open’ in Barrington (~15 participants). A lot of the properties have large gardens backing on to the river there, so it was interesting to see how people have transitioned their gardens to meadows with swathes of naturalistic planting.

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Today’s ‘Wild’ was to go to the Scything Festival at Wimpole. The farm/forestry team there have managed to convert the field (arable 20 years ago) leading up to the Folly into one of the the most wildflower rich meadows around. Now they hold a scything competition every year around this time. I admit to only watching all that hard work. It was far too hot for anything else!

Next week I hope to do a bee count, follow up on a local eel bypass project and make some impressed salt dough tiles. I’ll let you know how it goes …

So are you going Wild for June?

If not, there is still a week to go. You know you want to!

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Wordless Wednesday – Linseed: One of the prettiest crops

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Close-up those flowers are like pieces of the clearest blue sky

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Sadie paddling … sky or sea?

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A sea here

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The flowers are surprisingly sparse when you get near the field

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Beautiful

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Wordless Wednesday – Peony Power at Wimpole

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A celebration of their silky,

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glamorous,

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blousy,

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delicate,

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frilly,

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pretty little faces

 

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Wordless Wednesday – Orchids

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Orchids in the local quarry are only just starting to emerge. The annual count this evening is going to be hard going with so few flowers and spikes showing.

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A very fresh looking twayblade

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This bumblebee found a flower!

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Man orchid, with some of the little men in mid-twist

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One of the most advanced Common Spotted orchid

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Hopefully although there appear to be fewer orchids in the quarry this year, it may look different in two or three weeks time.

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Wordless Wednesday – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

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Echium pinnata. It has been such fun watching …

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The bees wind their way to the top …

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In a leisurely spiral …

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Up into the clouds!

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Wordless Wednesday – A dog’s-eye view of the meadow in May

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“Hello, I am Sadie. I am trying to find my way through this cloud of cow parsley”

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Lovely bright buttercups … “Oh yes, I definitely like butter”

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Salisfy … “they’re nice with butter too”

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Plantain … “If only my Mum would stop picking them for catapults”

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Ox-eye daisies … “They are fun ‘cos they bounce back as I pass”

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Cow parsley … “Great for hiding in”

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Dandelion clocks … “Not sure what the time is though”

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Red clover … “Oh good luck for me, I’ve found one with four leaves”

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Flowering meadow foxtail grass … “Excuse me while I sneeze!”

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The ditch … “Better wash off all that pollen. Now I am ready to go home!”

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Wordless Wednesday: Purple Reign – A Crown of Wisteria

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It seems to be a great year for wisteria in the UK

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There are lots of visitors enjoying the blooms and perfume

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It’s a treat to sit under

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We are seeing pollinators of all kinds

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 … on the ever lengthening cascades of purple

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The ancient-looking twisting stems add some atmosphere too

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It looks divine against a blue sky!

Posted in Flowers, The home garden, Wordless | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments