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Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’


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Is it too late to start dreaming about new projects for the garden in 2013? Of course not; if anything it’s too early. After all, I tend to do my main projects in autumn when the garden slows down and – crucially – when there are fewer guests so it’s all right if I make a big mess of things. For me that’s the time to dig new beds, whereas spring should really be more about maintenance and filling out the beds I dug the previous autumn.

After all, when summer arrives I want the garden to look it’s best – whatever that is. This summer “best” will most likely include debris of pine trees scattered over the lawn as we’re cutting down 10 trees on the property line to the North-East; they are boring on our side, dead on our neighbour’s side and prevents our neighbours from getting any sun on their lawn throughout the afternoon, so they need to go. (And when they go, hopefully the hedge under them will fill out and give us a privacy screen at ground level, rather than from 4-15 meters up in the air!)

Last year I dug out The Puddles in spring, and that was probably a bad decision, because it meant I wore myself out digging there and had little energy for the rest of the garden – as witnessed by the non-existence of a vegetable patch last year – but then I dug out the new lawn bed in autumn and that seemed almost effortless by comparison and is quickly filling up with plants. So autumn is definitely the time to execute new ideas, and that means spring is the ideal time to dream them up!

But… What is to be my dream this year? Well, besides the tree-felling there are some “smallish” projects to tackle, like finishing The Ambitious Border so it runs uninterrupted along the length of the South-Western property line, incorporating The Puddles. That’s perhaps 5 square meters to dig out, which is easily done. (Quoth he, knowing full-well that statement would come back to bite him in the posterior!) I ought also to focus on creating more of a privacy screen towards the road, especially in the Woodland area where the Flâneur Husband had a stroke of genius and suggested planting rhododendrons in front of the Woodland; it would give them semi-shade, moderately acidic soil and all in all good conditions, and they will soon be able to cover that open view under the trees. (I have bought two new rhododendrons and suggested planting them in a position where they’d look good but serve absolutely no practical purpose whatsoever, whereas his suggestion combines aesthetics and our desire for privacy in the garden.)

Taking the rhododendrons out for a pint

Taking the new rhododendrons out for a pint

Anyway, I still haven’t decided what will be the “grand project” for this autumn. Perhaps the twin of the lawn bed should be merged with the rhododendrons to be planted in front of the Woodland? That would be quite a project – and it would begin to tie to two “sides” of the garden together. So far I’ve mainly been focused on the South-Western side of the garden because that’s where we tend to spend the most time due to the sun, but that means I’ve been more or less neglecting the North-Eastern side – except for the apple tree which gets plenty of attention, and NOBODY except me is allowed anywhere near it with pruning shears!!!

So what could happen in a large, prominent bed that continues the line of the lawn bed bud extends backwards to the Woodland? Well, the rhododendrons are decided upon, of course, and with the large over-hanging prunes at the back I think I’d want some tall shade-tolerant plants at the back in general. Preferably shrubs, so perhaps just more and more rhododendrons. (We have some that are still small enough to be moved if necessary, and more could be purchased as and when necessary.)  The first lawn bed has a predominance of shrubs – more by accident than intent – as I’ve used it to house roses, black currants, red currants and gooseberries, with an area in front for perennials which has turned out to be heuchera, Eryngium, phlox and other random plants. So the second lawn bed would need something different; perhaps a raised section for plants that like well-drained soil (something we do not have naturally, which is actually a blessing as it means even the hottest of summers will not leave our garden parched!) or perhaps an actual pond – as opposed to The Puddles.

“A pond“, you say? Well, The Puddles have really excited me, and I’d be thrilled to do something larger along the same lines; wildlife friendly, surrounded by dense planting and with a few aquatic plants in there. After all, I already have too many water lilies for my puddles, and the more natural sort would enjoy more depth and space. And of course the animals probably wouldn’t mind, either. Last year I spotted a newt in puddle 1, last weekend I spotted two newts in puddle 1 and today I’ve spotted 3 newts in puddle 1 and one newt in puddle 3…  That’s 4 newts!!! In The Puddles!!! “If you build it, they will come”, they say… Well, it has proven true so far! Today I also spotted some sort of insect larvae of a size where it can only be damselflies or dragonflies…

And all the initial fears about creating an incubator for the mosquito population have been allayed ages ago, since it seems one day The Puddles will be teeming with mosquito larvae and the next they will all have gone, no doubt thanks to the newts and toads. They are a complete success, so I’m at the same time compelled to and daunted by the idea of creating a larger-scale habitat. What if it isn’t such a rampant success? What if it fails miserably? And what if it turns out to be an absolutely marvellous thing?

Clearly I need to think about this a bit more, but the idea – the dream – has been planted in my brain, so we shall see what happens.

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I’ve been wondering how to protect my garden – and in particular my dahlias – from slugs, and though I have (organic) slug pellets and am not afraid to use them, it does seem I will need something more powerful.

A few years ago while I was in Greenland on summer holiday I bought a tupilaq. Or rather, a modern replica of one, since mine was carved for sale, rather than as a spirit avenger.

The tupilaq was manifested in real, human-made object. It was made by people to the detriment of their enemies. It was a puppet-like thing, but was thought of have magical power onto the victim.” (Wikipedia)

Now, in the garden my main enemy is the Killer slugs (Spanish slugs), so I figure I might as well try to get my tupilaq to target those.

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For some strange reason the Flâneur Husband doesn’t find her attractive and seems keen on getting rid of her, so perhaps he’d also prefer if she took up residence in the summer house, rather than in the apartment. I love her, though; she’s made of reindeer antlers, and while some parts of her have the porous texture of the inside of the bone, her animal companions and her breasts have a glorious ivory-like glow to them that begs to be touched. She might not be the conventional “looker”, but she has a certain voluptuous fertility to her that makes me think she’ll enjoy protecting a garden.

She has a friend:

His shape is simpler – more monolithic – than hers, but he has another thing going for him; he was made from reindeer antlers that have been buried in the boggy soil outside Nuuk for a year or two so the antler would start to rot and as a result begin to take colour. The pale pink of his head and the greenish tint of his diamond-patterned body are the results of this. Mind you, the best thing about this tupilaq is the contrast between his smooth head and tail and the sharp feel of the diamond pattern on his body; this is one item that seems designed to be touched!

He will remain in the apartment, simply because I love holding him and feeling the different textures, but she will need to find a place in the summer house. After all, all’s fair in love and war, right? And I love my garden and have now declared war on the slugs, by means natural (i.e. organic) and supernatural!

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Sunday Morning Visitors


Not the greatest picture, I know, but it was the best I could do on Sunday morning when I suddenly saw two deer out in the garden.

I know they come to eat the bark of bushes and trees, and they’ve been quite rought with the little pear tree last winter and seem to continue this habit, but… I love them!

They stopped by briefly on Saturday afternoon and then again for a bit longer on Sunday morning, and it seems that they are particularly fond of the top of the fir tree that toppled over recently.

I know some gardeners go to great lengths to keep deer out of their gardens, but I welcome them; there’s something very pleasant about wildlife in the garden, and at least in Denmark it doesn’t get much bigger than deer. I get all excited when I spot them around the garden, and especially these youngsters with their thick winter fur and their furry new antlers.

On Thursday my husband will be going up to the summerhouse with his mother, and then I will replace her Friday after work. I do hope he gets to see our visitors…

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