Green Shoots, Big Feet and a Beak

 

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February

 

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January

 

From a distance not much appears to have changed.

After all the clearing out of the last couple of years the terraces are looking quite bare and I am itching to get planting. It’s been easy to believe that Spring has arrived, given the lovely warm(ish) days we’ve had this week. But the soil is still saturated. And it wouldn’t be the first time March has snuck around and bitten us on the bum.

The white bits on the weather forecaster’s map last night seemed perilously close… so I think I’ll give it a couple more weeks.

 

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Nevertheless, there are stirrings to be seen.

 

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Speckled un-named hellebore, picking up the purple of the Phormium behind

 

The hellebores are at their best right now. Perennials are putting up new growth. The roses too. Soon be time for pruning.

 

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Pennisetum ‘Red Buttons’, Hemerocallis, Hellebore, Pieris, Rosa ‘Alpine Sunset’

 

Beautiful though it may be, the Pennisetum rather took over last year. You can see the evidence of retaliation by shears.

An architectural grass, it gets to over a metre tall with an even greater spread. So I’m thinking of moving it, and possibly the Day Lily too, and then refreshing this part of the border.

 

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Narcissus ‘Tete a Tete’

 

Colour at this time of year would be much enhanced by bulbs. I bought these dwarf daffodils for the house last year and when they finished flowering put them out here.

They haven’t opened sufficiently yet to attract the attention of the birds. Much as I love having them the wild pheasants are so destructive. They ripped apart many of the snowdrops up here and so, although I had the perfect spot, I didn’t have the heart to plant out the irises.

We’re not at all keen on introducing a predator, so a cat isn’t the answer. I shall start an experiment with repellant sprays.

 

Ptolemy fluffed up Wm

 The stone retaining walls act as a good lookout point

 

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It’s a problem here too, at the top level, home of the bird table.

Big Birds, squirrels and everything else congregate here, waiting for seeds and bits of nut to fall from on high. Nothing grows underneath.

I’ve tried lavender, although as it turned out it has struggled everywhere in this garden. Presumably it doesn’t like the wet. And then I went for low growing spreading things like Ajuga, but even that can only withstand so much trampling. I considered thorny plants, but don’t want to be to responsible for the loss of an eye.

Any thoughts on what I could use?

 

 

 

Linking up with Helen’s End Of Month View at The Patient Gardener’s Weblog. Click through to find out what other gardeners are up to this month.

 

 

2017-03-03T15:59:58+00:00 February 28th, 2014|Tags: , |98 Comments

98 Comments

  1. elaine February 28, 2014 at 11:40 am - Reply

    Thyme doesn’t mind being walked on – maybe you should leave it ‘au naturel’ and gravel it

    • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 5:20 pm - Reply

      I do like the idea of using an aromatic, it’s what I was trying to do with the lavender. I had hoped as the birds pushed through it they would release the scent.

      • CJ February 28, 2014 at 9:27 pm - Reply

        I was going to suggest thyme round the edges and some pebbles/gravel in the middle. Beautiful photo of the pheasant, a shame he’s a bit destructive. We get the odd one at the allotment from time to time who wanders around pulling things up.

        • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 11:38 pm - Reply

          Something aromatic would be perfect wouldn’t it? The birds would release the scent as they step on it and push through it.

  2. snowbird February 28, 2014 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    I find sage to be indestructible and the bees love it.xxx

    • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 5:21 pm - Reply

      A dwarf form of sage could work too!

  3. Cumbrian February 28, 2014 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    Yes, nice to see signs of spring. Lots of snowdrops in the garden, and I saw a display of early daffodils on my wanderings yesterday.

    • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 5:24 pm - Reply

      It really does lift the spirits. I noticed today that our February Gold have just squeaked in.. on the last day!

  4. Joanne February 28, 2014 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    The ground below my bird feeder is in a shocking state, I wish something would eat below there. Not rats before I have a plague of them! It might be difficult for you, if lavender didn’t survive I suspect the Mediterranean herbs I was going to suggest wont.

    • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 5:29 pm - Reply

      That area is completely undermined by mouse tunnels. They help out the ground feeders, darting out of their holes when they see a tasty morsel drop. I shall give the herbs a go, if it doesn’t work it’ll be gravel.

  5. Sue@GLAllotments February 28, 2014 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    You’re lucky to have a bare patch under your bird table – ours has long grass from seeds dropped. What about camomile as in camomile lawn

    • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 5:31 pm - Reply

      This is the advantage of the pheasant, and the blackbirds. Between them they have the lot.. I’ve never had to weed anything out from under there. Camomile is a lovely idea!

  6. Pauline February 28, 2014 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    I think I would just put gravel under your bird table, we have ours on the paving outside the back door. Super photo of Ptolemy, he looks so handsome!

    • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 5:33 pm - Reply

      Does the paving get stained? I was a bit worried that the gravel might go green after a while, from all the fertiliser!

      • Pauline March 2, 2014 at 11:15 am - Reply

        Not with all the rain we get, it soon washes away!

        • Jessica March 2, 2014 at 9:39 pm - Reply

          Must be very clean after today’s downpours!

  7. Patricia February 28, 2014 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    If you feed sunflower seeds to the birds the hulls, as they are toxic to plants, are the cause of bare ground. I think the best solution is to put mulch or gravel under the feeder rather than trying to grow plants.

    • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 5:38 pm - Reply

      That’s really interesting to know Patricia, and could well explain it. Bark chippings could look very good there.
      Thanks, and welcome to rusty duck!

  8. countrysidetales February 28, 2014 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    How can you talk about ‘repellant sprays’ while looking at that little face of his…? Actually, Pops has been sworn at several times this week for digging in my pots and thieving the tulips that are trying to grow there, so if the spray works let me know because I shall need some here 🙂

    • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 6:01 pm - Reply

      I was thinking of something like Grazers which is supposed to work for pigeons and geese. It can be used on edibles, even salad leaves, so should be safe. It does get mixed reviews though and I don’t know how organic it is.

  9. BadPenny February 28, 2014 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    My tete a tetes are out & I love them x

    • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 6:02 pm - Reply

      I shall get more this year, especially if they manage to evade the beak!

  10. islandthreads February 28, 2014 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    Jessica your hellebores look lovely against the phormium, your terraces look ready for the off, just waiting for things to warm up, I can remember times when there was snow at easter, I hope not this year,
    I was thinking thorny plants as I read but then reading what others have said I would go with gravel or paving and be glad they eat the droppings, in the sheltered housing where my mother lives they are no longer allowed to feed the birds because it caused a rat problem, Frances

    • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 6:06 pm - Reply

      I can see the reasoning behind that Frances, but it’s so sad that your mother cannot feed the birds. Particularly if you have limited mobility it’s a real pleasure to be able to see the birds outside the window.

      • islandthreads February 28, 2014 at 6:20 pm - Reply

        actually Jessica she is lucky that she is on the ground floor with a single french window to the communal garden, it is well planted with flowers and shrubs that encourage wildlife, there are lots of garden birds and in summer she can open the door and enjoy from her couch or put a chair out to sit on, there are also several garden seats, my brother and sister-in-law did well finding the flat, my mum is a very lucky woman, Frances

        • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 6:41 pm - Reply

          That sounds lovely. My mother had a bungalow in a similar sheltered scheme which also had well planted communal gardens. In the right location they provide the best of both worlds, beautiful vistas with none of the work!

  11. woolythymes February 28, 2014 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    gosh, so sorry. wet is not something i ever have to worry about (just the opposite, unfortunately)…be assured, whatever you choose, Ptolemy is watching and will undoubted just have to sample.

    • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 6:13 pm - Reply

      I am hoping I will find a common theme in what he likes to eat. White flowers seem to go down particularly well, which is a shame… the one colour I could not live without!

  12. Chloris February 28, 2014 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    It’s always lovely to have plenty of early spring bulbs at this time of the year. It is a big problem if you have pheasants about. I have one: The Vicar, who struts up the garden and peers in the window to see if he can spot me before ripping my crocuses to shreds.
    I think gravel is the best idea for round your bird table.

    • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 6:16 pm - Reply

      Love his name!
      No crocuses here either, although that could be squirrels too. Who’d attract wildlife into the garden, eh?

  13. Simone February 28, 2014 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    What about a minature Chamomile ‘lawn’ under the bird table? Pretty flowers and cushioned underfoot?

    • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 6:18 pm - Reply

      And I thought it was just me that spoilt the birds.. 🙂

  14. Alison February 28, 2014 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    Not much changing from one month to the next seems to be a theme this month. I had much the same to say in my EOMV post. Sorry the pheasants are so destructive, but they are beautiful, and for me, unusual birds. I have a Pennisetum that sprawled and took over more than its planned space, and I’m going to be taking it out this year. I’m really glad that you’re focusing on that terrace for your EOMV post, because it’s lovely to look at, even when not much is happening.

    • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 6:22 pm - Reply

      The strange weather we’ve all been having must have taken its toll, whether it be cold, rain or snow. Interesting that you’ve had the same problem with Pennisetum. I shall put it up on the bank where there is more space for it. There are other tall grasses up there too, so it will fit in well.

  15. Christina February 28, 2014 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    Hi Jessica, well, there might not be a big change from January to February, but I can certainly some, maybe most obviously in the hellebores that is blooming now. And maybe the biggest change of all is that the sun was shining in February when you took the photo :-)!
    Sorry to hear that the pheasants are giving you quite a bit of trouble in your garden, they are such beautiful birds.
    I have a similar bare spot under my bird feeder and just in the last days was getting tired of looking at it and wondering if I should try to plant something there. Didn’t get around to do it yet, so I am curious what other gardeners suggest to you and will take notes.
    Happy gardening!
    Christina

    • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 6:30 pm - Reply

      I am thinking at the moment of trying the camomile or herbs. If it works, fine. You would probably have a better chance than me! If not it will be gravel or bark chippings. The problem will be keeping the birds off long enough for it to establish. A chicken wire cage perhaps?

  16. Jo February 28, 2014 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    You could always make a feature of it with some large pebbles, or something similar, rather than planting underneath it. This time of year is great for watching all the plants bursting back in to life. My iris’s are blooming but I’m still waiting for all the other bulbs to follow suit.

    • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 6:34 pm - Reply

      That would work well too Jo, and in the surrounding areas where there is a bit less traffic I could plant the herbs. Thanks.

  17. Crafty Gardener February 28, 2014 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    Nice to compare and area of the garden in different months. I did it last year with one of my gardens and it makes interesting reading to check back.
    You are so far ahead of us … here we can’t even see the ground. I’ve moved our feeders away from the gardens so that anything that falls from them lands on the grass and if it sprouts it gets mowed down.
    Hope you find a solution to your challenge.

    • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 6:48 pm - Reply

      That’s a perfect solution Linda!
      Our lawn is quite a way from the house though, so it would mean we’d no longer get a good view of the birds. The bird table is right outside the kitchen window and they’ve got used to it. Even the woodpecker is less twitchy about being watched these days!

  18. Helen Johnstone February 28, 2014 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    My parents used to struggle with pheasants damaging their garden but at least they aren’t as noisey as guinea fowl which are awful! What about camomile or a creeping sedum?

    • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 7:00 pm - Reply

      I’ve heard guinea fowl too, very noisy. I’m definitely warming to camomile. Probably won’t be using that particular patch for the tea though!

  19. Rosie February 28, 2014 at 7:49 pm - Reply

    I was going to suggest Chamomile as a possibility if you want to plant under the feeder – I see one or two others have suggested it. Looks like Ptolemy, if that is indeed he, is looking out for his next meal or two:)

    • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 11:20 pm - Reply

      I have settled on a policy of calling all pheasants Ptolemy, on the basis that I can’t tell them apart. There are at least two (seen together) and I’ve heard more..

  20. Em February 28, 2014 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    We have the same problem under the feeding station, compounded by the little feet of food obsessed Jack, who knows the sound of the clinking spoon as I put out the bird porridge and comes running to catch any scraps. I have pretty dense hardy geraniums that grow under it but they do get splattered in poo. Hope you’ll come and see them….May/June time is best. xx

    • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 11:28 pm - Reply

      You’re on! But it’s my turn to host next..

  21. wherefivevalleysmeet February 28, 2014 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    Dear Jessica – I think the ground below bird feeders is a universal problem. I had one hanging over a little box hedge which actually prevented it from keeping pace with the rest of the hedge. In the end I moved it and the hedge renewed itself fortunately. I would be tempted to fill the area with pretty pebbles, and try growing some alpines or heathers around the edge to form a border.
    The speckled white Helleborus is lovely.

    • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 11:35 pm - Reply

      Oh, I’m glad the hedge recovered. I so love to have the birds in the garden but it’s not without cost. A combination of plants and pebbles is a lovely idea.

  22. Mark and Gaz February 28, 2014 at 10:27 pm - Reply

    Wild pheasants look lovely but we’ll take your word for it that they can be a nuisance to doting gardeners. I was going to suggest thyme then saw others have suggested it too. We’ll just happily join them!

    • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 11:43 pm - Reply

      This one is probably less than wild if I’m honest. I’m not sure if it’s the same one as last year, but he used to follow me around as I weeded. Like an oversized robin!

  23. annette2121 February 28, 2014 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    I’m impressed you managed to take your two month photos from exactly the same place. You should run a ‘spot the difference’ competition. What do you have trailing down the wall? I bet it looks lovely in the summer. I have erica growing under our bird feeder tree, but it was established long before I started feeding the birds. I am now concerned about the fact that sunflower seed husks are toxic to plants. I will have to keep my eye on the heather. I have a camomile path which is lovely. It does spread very well so if you bought one or two small plants it might be worth growing it on somewhere more hospitable and then dividing and transplanting it to get more cover. Chamomile is not supposed to be walked on for 12 weeks, but not sure if that counts birds!!!

    • Jessica February 28, 2014 at 11:55 pm - Reply

      I need to try and identify the trailing plant, as I inherited it. Erica is another contender. Now that you mention it, there is some heather growing quite close to another bird feeder and it does get trampled. 12 weeks for camomile! We were talking about it over dinner tonight and thought that the best bet, once summer arrives, is to take the feeders away for a while to let the under storey establish.
      My idea was to take the photo from the exact same point each month and by December have a complete montage. But oh what a palaver to get it right. For next month, to remove some of the variability, Other Half has even taken a photo of where the legs of the tripod were positioned..
      Welcome to rusty duck Annette.

  24. wherethejourneytakesme February 28, 2014 at 11:54 pm - Reply

    I would put different size pebbles including some large ones clustered together and laid on a bed of gravel then plant your herbs between the larger pebbles. The herbs will then grow and cover the pebbles but the root of the plants will always be protected and regrow if they get eaten down.
    Other than that we have a few indestructable plants at our cottage I’ll send you some.

    • Jessica March 1, 2014 at 12:01 am - Reply

      Inspired Viv! Sounds like the best of all worlds. Alternatively I could always plant it up with ground elder.. that’s indestructible.

  25. Suzanne Dutchess County, NY, USA March 1, 2014 at 12:31 am - Reply

    How about a nice collection of large pebbles, pea stone and a large saucer to hold water for the birds.
    You could get fancy and use a small pump to move the water.

    • Jessica March 1, 2014 at 10:32 am - Reply

      I am getting a good idea in my head about using pebbles, pea stone and plants in some of the gaps. I love water anywhere in the garden.

  26. bushbernie March 1, 2014 at 1:58 am - Reply

    I do rather like the idea of planting herbs such as rosemary and sage in between lots of different sized and coloured pebbles and rocks. That does sound lovely.

    I’ve really enjoyed the views today. It’s great to see those signs of the coming spring. Poor old Pheasant. I do feel for the thing, but I certainly understand how fed up you might be with the destruction. I love seeing the wallabies around here too, but I get a little bit fed up with seeing the Hibiscus shrubs and Justicia nibbled to the ground.

    • Jessica March 1, 2014 at 10:39 am - Reply

      It does indeed sound lovely.
      Wallabies in the garden is the stuff of dreams for me! I guess our equivalent would be deer, which I have had, and they’re also destructive. I do have a soft spot for the pheasants though, even if it does mean the end of Spring bulbs. As gardeners we are ever adaptable are we not!

  27. Natalie March 1, 2014 at 3:32 am - Reply

    Hmm, I was going to say creeping thyme but that’s not very fond of being wet either.

    Bricks? 🙂

    The pheasant is beautiful but then it’s not ripping up MY garden!! 🙂

    • Jessica March 1, 2014 at 10:42 am - Reply

      He is beautiful and like chickens pheasants can be great characters. Seeing the interactions between them and the squirrels cracks me up. They have had the squirrels corralled on top of the bird table before now 🙂 🙂

  28. Laura March 1, 2014 at 5:37 am - Reply

    What great plant suggestions! I had very similar ideas, but I had to think very, very hard…brain does not appear to be in plant mode with all the snow on the ground. And then, all I could think of were the invasive plants, such as snow-in-summer (cerastium). I don’t think I’d recommend it, but it was pretty!

    • Jessica March 1, 2014 at 10:50 am - Reply

      Aren’t they just! I do love blogging. Whatever I plant needs to be very robust to withstand the constant nibbling as well as trampling. Something that stops just short of invasive (no underground runners) could well be the solution.

  29. Christina March 1, 2014 at 8:49 am - Reply

    If your ground is so wet the lavender didn’t survive a thyme woudn’t thrive either, have you considered Erigeron, that won’t mind some damp soil and flowers for ever.

    • Jessica March 1, 2014 at 10:52 am - Reply

      That’s another great idea Christina, it’s very pretty too. Thanks.

  30. haggiz March 1, 2014 at 9:48 am - Reply

    I think the birds would like their own little camomile lawn! Nice and comfy to sit and wait for food to drop
    Julie x

    • Jessica March 1, 2014 at 10:53 am - Reply

      When they start to bring deckchairs I’ll be getting worried..

  31. Julieanne Porter (@GwenfarsGarden) March 1, 2014 at 11:18 am - Reply

    I agree with others suggestions of Sage and Thyme. Those low-growing Thymes that don’t mind being walked by big human feet might just work.

    • Jessica March 1, 2014 at 12:31 pm - Reply

      Hi Julieanne and welcome to rusty duck.
      I love the idea of growing aromatics there! I’m thinking I will try a selection to start with, along with some low growing flowering plants and see what takes. With some pebbles to anchor them a bit. Then if one type fails I can replace it with an alternative.

  32. Caro March 1, 2014 at 11:47 am - Reply

    There’s some great ideas in these comments, Jessica – have a look at pictures of Beth Chatto’s gravel garden for ideas of what to plant under your bird table. I was going to suggest low grasses such as carex or festuca but oily herbs like sage or rosemary (or even both) would work among pebbles and perhaps the taste of leaf oils would deter any nibbling? Or there’s always nasturtiums, prolific enough to go round and they love poor soil! Love the look of your raised brick borders, plenty of colour there! Am also in need of dividing a clump of day lilies but, with so much else to do, I fear that will get bumped to another year.

    • Jessica March 1, 2014 at 12:38 pm - Reply

      I’m really getting quite excited about putting this together now, if it turns out how it looks in my head it will be fantastic.
      Never ceases to amaze me how quickly day lilies bulk up. Two years ago I split a bed about 1m square absolutely packed with them. I got three huge new areas out of it, including the one in the terraces, and all of them are ready to split again. I hate throwing plant material away, especially when I have so many other gaps to fill, but I don’t want an exclusively day lily garden! Shame it’s a fairly unremarkable one, or I’d sell bits.

  33. Nell Jean March 1, 2014 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    Your terraces are stunning. I know they are of necessity, but those walls are just wonderful. In another month or so, you’ll be awestruck over how beautiful the gardens are. We tend to forget over winter just how good gardens look when it’s over.

    I was going to suggest some stones under the bird feeder, Maybe river rocks a bit larger than gravel, or a pattern of broken concrete pieces and brick with stones — did you see Alison’s floor in her new greenhouse?

    When I got to the end of comments I thought, “What’s tougher than daylilies?’ Liriope planted en masse might cover your problem area.

    • Jessica March 1, 2014 at 7:31 pm - Reply

      I plan to do quite a bit of work on this area of the garden over the next few months. Well, work in progress really as it was totally overgrown when we took it on. Daylilies are definitely tough enough, just a bit too tall! Liriope though, that could look lovely. I was going to use some stones on the most heavily trampled bit and yes, I have greenhouse envy!

  34. Jayne Hill March 1, 2014 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    I never plant directly under bird tables, I find it’s asking for trouble/failure. Underneath our bird feeders I put black weed-suppressant membrane covered with bark chips. You could edge the area with stone or logs to keep everything in place.

    It provides a contained ground-feeding area for the finches who come to hoover up the fallen stuff and when it all gets too mucky I pick the whole lot up, bung it on the compost heap and start again (maybe twice a year so it’s not an onerous task). You might think it a downside that the blackbirds will have a right old time kicking everything up as they search for bugs and grubs but I find that adds to the entertainment :}

    Your terraces and hellebores look fabulous.

    • Jessica March 1, 2014 at 7:39 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jayne. So far the birds haven’t made too much of a mess, they are very good at hoovering and generally clearing up after themselves (famous last words). But I am a little concerned that having stones underneath will show it up all the more, and seeds could end up between the stones where they germinate. But it’s the area right outside the kitchen window so I want to have a go with some plants to soften it. It can only not work, in which case I will be raiding the bark chippings and eating humble pie.

  35. Cathy March 1, 2014 at 8:25 pm - Reply

    Gosh – what a lot of thoughts and ideas you have been given, Jessica. No doubt you will mull things over and come to a conclusion sometime! I would go with bark under the bird feeder if it was me – otherwise I think you might just be replacing plant after plant. As for Ptolemy – following you around the garden? nibbling your snowdrops? Hmm, difficult….

    • Jessica March 1, 2014 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      Wildlife in the garden is a mixed blessing to be sure. It’s odd though, the snowdrops in the wood, and everything else, he leaves alone. Perhaps that is the answer?

  36. Wendy March 1, 2014 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    I haven’t planted under my bird feeders, I usually have ducks and geese happily hanging around under mine, so I’ll be interested to see what you decide. I love the photo of Ptolemy, he does look in charge and very well-fed on snowdrops!

    • Jessica March 1, 2014 at 9:47 pm - Reply

      I don’t think there is anything that would stand up to goose feet.. I’d let them off though!

  37. casa mariposa March 1, 2014 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    That pheasant is such a beauty! Here’s an idea: fill the spot with beautiful stones and add in little smooth pieces of glass pebbles to add some color, shine and reflection. If the birds poo on everything, just hose it off. It will be beautiful when the sun hits it and the glass bits will liven up the rocks.

    • Jessica March 2, 2014 at 9:31 pm - Reply

      That sounds delightful Tammy. It was sunny yesterday too, just for a little while!

  38. nataliescarberry March 2, 2014 at 2:15 am - Reply

    Looking good, Jessica. Things are getting started and soon there’ll be much splendidness. Blessings, Natalie 🙂

    • Jessica March 2, 2014 at 9:32 pm - Reply

      It does feel more like Spring now, or at least it did until we had sleet today. Can’t wait!

  39. hoehoegrow March 2, 2014 at 10:52 am - Reply

    I know what you mean about the pheasants! I have alive/ hate relationship with our crew. They are so beautiful and I love to see them, but , as you say, they are destructive, clumsy, greedy … need I go on. I have the same bird table problems and have solved it in the most unimaginative way … gravel!

    • Jessica March 2, 2014 at 9:38 pm - Reply

      I guess we have to just learn to live with them, and find out what it is they don’t like to eat! I was out weeding one day and came across a female with about ten newly hatched chicks. For a moment anyway all the chewed crocuses were forgotten..

  40. SeagullSuzie March 2, 2014 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    Lovely to see the garden waking up! I would go for pebbles-large ones too mixed in with smaller ones as any bark or small gravel will be kicked off and make a mess all around.

    • Jessica March 2, 2014 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      Large flat round pebbles would look the part. I’ve seen them for sale often enough, so wouldn’t be difficult to source. Tempted to go and find a stony beach, but I guess that’s not allowed.

  41. CherryPie March 2, 2014 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    It is nice to see little bits of colour beginning to emerge. There is a little bit in my garden too.

    • Jessica March 2, 2014 at 9:44 pm - Reply

      Slowly but surely.. a nice warm March would do it!

  42. angiesgardendiaries March 2, 2014 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    There might not be much difference to the overall scene Jessica but the difference in the light between Jan and Feb is amazing. What I want to know is why there are no weeds and other seedling around the base of your feeder – I know around mine it’s a blinking mess!!
    I’d agree wit the pebbles (largish) underneath – I can speak from experience re bird pooh on plants underneath – it doesn’t look nice and eventually finishes them off! Been there, tried that!

    • Jessica March 2, 2014 at 9:57 pm - Reply

      Amazingly the birds, mostly the pheasants, keep it very tidy! They must have good eyesight. I never have to weed under there..

  43. starproms March 2, 2014 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    Definitely your bank is growing. It’s lovely to see it doing so well! All flowers and pictures brilliant, Jessica.

    • Jessica March 2, 2014 at 9:58 pm - Reply

      Thanks Oma. I am hoping that next month it will be starting to look very different.

  44. Helene March 3, 2014 at 1:14 am - Reply

    I remember your terraces from last year, it looks lovely now, can’t wait to see them when fully planted up. I have small chipped bark under my bird feeder, whatever the birds can’t manage to pick up themselves, the squirrels come and eat and it looks nice and tidy, albeit not green. When it gets too messy with bird poo I just turn the bark or top it up a bit.

    I know how difficult it is to stand in the same spot in the garden and take photos, I have tried to do that in my own garden for the last 10 years and the photos come out slightly different every time!

    • Jessica March 3, 2014 at 10:05 am - Reply

      Thanks Helene.
      It literally took hours to take the second photo, and it’s still not right! Gave up in the end..

  45. Linda March 3, 2014 at 3:31 am - Reply

    I’m late to the game…..my response is…..pea gravel….very attractive!
    There…..all settled!
    Pea gravel it is!
    Hahaha!

    Home safe and sound!
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

    • Jessica March 3, 2014 at 9:58 am - Reply

      Pea gravel will be in there somewhere..
      Glad you’re safely home.

  46. charles March 3, 2014 at 10:17 am - Reply

    What about a berberis? Very thorny indeed. Get a pretty purple one and keep it under control with judicious pruning.

    • Jessica March 3, 2014 at 11:20 am - Reply

      Hi Charles. I thought about thorny plants. I was just a bit concerned that they might cause injury to the birds, who would keep trying to get at the dropped seeds underneath. But we do have berberis in a hedge and they scratch around under that, so perhaps they look after themselves better than I give them credit for!

I'd love to hear from you..

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