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Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Wildlife Garden

Hello Dear Readers,

Although I am close to the limit, I am linking to Amy's Five on Friday at Love Made My Home and these are five creatures I have been looking for in our garden this week .......

ONE:  I was wondering how many species of butterfly I could find, as the "The Big Butterfly Count" is in progress at the moment, until 9th August.  Why not join in, maybe it's something you could interest the little ones in?  Visit bigbutterflycount.org, download and print a butterfly identification sheet and recording chart and off you go!

The idea is to take 15 minutes out, and count how many varieties you see, you could count them in a park, garden or on a country walk, preferably on a hot sunny day. See the bigbutterflycount.org website for full details.

Oops, I sound like an advert. I'm sure you'd enjoy it, and it is to help nature!

Not far from our back door!
Here is one I found not far from our back door.

This butterfly obviously likes these straw flowers, and it's great to know as we weren't going to grow them again next year as they grew very straggly this spring, however the flowers have developed really well so I would imagine we will grow them again, especially as the bees and butterflies really enjoy them.

TWO:  Carrying on around the garden I decided to look into our old compost heap to see how it was progressing.

In England we have a garden compost collection (i.e. hedge cuttings, grass mowings and any weeds we gather) every two weeks for which we are issued a small supply of large plastic sacks (which we pay for out of our council taxes). This garden greenery is taken away and composted by the council and is hence a sensible way of recycling. Our sacks are kept laid flat in a small "wild area" of the garden, on top of an old compost heap, with a couple of large stones weighing them down, to prevent them from blowing away.

I'm sorry but I have to sneak an extra photograph in here or my tale won't follow on very well!

This is where our compost heaps are situated - and why I happened to be in this corner of the garden - I was heading for the Buddleia hoping to find more butterflies! The Buddleia is actually in our neighbour's garden and not only forms a super screen between us, but is wonderful for the bees and butterflies which is why it is also known as the butterfly bush.

In this spot about a week ago a beautiful large orange butterfly landed on my cardigan, which was embroidered with flowers.  The butterfly must have been attracted by the different colours. I've only seen it one other time and I'd love to take a photograph of it. Maybe today......

Our compost area


Occasionally we have found some interesting wildlife here, and lo and behold under a layer of plastic sacks there was the slow worm again!

Slow Worm
A very healthy looking slow worm!

Don't worry, if you don't know slow worms, they are perfectly harmless. They are not snakes but lizards and spend most of their time hiding under objects, which is why we rarely empty or turn our compost heaps. They feed on slugs and worms and are really one of the gardeners' friends. I understand they can live up to 30 years in the wild.

My husband often sees them around the garden as he is out there much more than me! Unfortunately we do see some that have been attacked by cats or possibly birds.  I have just found out that they can shed their tails as a defence mechanism, by breaking one of their tail vertebrae in half, this leaves the tail wriggling vigourously to distract the predator whilst hopefuly the slow worm gently moves away to live another day.  It is a very strange thing to see.

Slow worms are a protected species in the United Kingdom.

THREE:  Also hidden amongst the sacks I found this spider, carrying her precious cluster of eggs.



Not the usual type of spider we find in the garden!

Both the slow worm and the spider froze as they thought I was a predator, so I just carefully covered them up again and left them in peace.

FOUR:  I couldn't resist a picture of this lovely bumble bee.


I don't know the name of this bush but it has been flowering better year
 on year!

FIVE:  DH was clearing some of the weed out of our pond this week and he came across 5 skins (or exuvias) left behind after the nymphs reach maturity and climb up out of the water via a suitable plant where they break out of the back of their skins, emerging as the most amazing dragonflies with the empty husk or outer skin left hanging on the plant.



I searched out some photographs of the wonderful dragonflies we have seen over the years in our garden but I will have to show you another time, as this is Five on Friday! 

Do you have any unusual wildlife hiding in your garden?

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I hope I am not too late for anyone to visit me.
It would be lovely to know if you have spent some time here, please don't hesitate to say hello!

Why not take a look at Amy's Five on Friday you can use the link in my sidebar.
You may have found me via Amy at Love Made my Home, 
but if you didn't there are lots of other interesting blogs to see there. 

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If you have been here before you may have noticed a routine forming, 
as next time I will have more pictures of the doll I am working on!

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Thank you for dropping in.  
Have a super weekend everyone and do come back soon.


Barbara xx




14 comments:

  1. Great to take a walk around your garden Barbara and see what the wildlife and mini beasties are up to! It looks as though you have made a great home for them!! Thank you so much for joining in. I hope that you are having a great weekend! xx

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment Amy.

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  2. how wonderful that you get to see so many of the little creatures. i don't have many flowers in my garden anymore so not much to attract them. hope you get to take a pic of that orange butterfly.

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    1. We need some warmer weather to bring out the butterflies and bees, it's been very wet lately and now chilly and cloudy. Hope you are having a great week, Deanna.

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  3. Fun to go on a walk through your garden with you. Enjoyed reading about the slow worm - obviously we don't have them here.

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    1. Hi Mary Anne, we've even seen a grass snake in our pond! That was when the pond was new. We were upstairs, indoors, and suddenly saw a golden streak as it swam from one end to the other, but we haven't seen one again, but that doesn't mean they are not there! Hope you are having a good week.

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  4. How interesting to see all the wildlife in your garden, Barbara. I see you're in Surrey, I grew up in Surrey and miss the weather! Different wildlife too here as we see dragon flies and slow worms less often in Derbsyhire. I love your blog name BTW! xx

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    1. Hi Alison, thank you for your lovely comments about my blog and blog name. The weather here is not too brilliant lately. I can't believe the school hols have only just started, it's like Autumn already. I hope your week is going well!

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  5. We have a lot of rabbits in our garden this year. Not really unusual wildlife but very pesky. I've never seen a slow worm. I don't think we have them where I live.

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  6. Hi Gillian, We live opposite a common and sometimes see deer and badgers too!

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  7. Barbara, I love the photo of the butterfly resting on the flower. Just lovely.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. Thank you Amalia, glad you liked it! It was lucky how it turned out, many of my photos are blurry - I guess out of focus.

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  8. oh Barbara...you have made me itch!! I really can't bear spiders or butterflies....I know, I'm weird. You do have a beautiful garden though.....:)

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    1. I'm sorry you don't like them, Karen. My husband and I are both fascinated with them and, of course, they all have a worthwhile task to play in the ecology of life. I never used to like spiders, wasps or anything but I have come to understand them and now find them really interesting. Barbara xx

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