Wednesday 17 August 2016

Garden(centre)ing for wildlife

Within the Tense Towers team, I do not profess to be the leading expert on things horticultural. Oh no, not by a long chalk. The remit for the selection of plants falls to the fairer half of the relationship, and a jolly good thing that is, too, as I'd be hopeless at it.

However, I do tag along on shopping expeditions to garden centres and nurseries, as there's always room for a bit of wildlife in these places, so what's not to love?

A recent trip to a local nursery gave me the opportunity to enquire about an out-of-bounds, but decidedly odo-friendly looking, patch of reeds. Alas, I was informed that the large pond, as it had been, was overgrown and lacked any open water. Which is a shame, because it must've been a good site in its day.

Whilst Our Lass pottered about peering at plants in pots, I planted myself in a prominent position and panned my peepers in a panoramic perusal of the profuse produce.

[Sorry, couldn't resist that. Three 'p' words in and something 'other' took over my thoughts]

My reasoning was, aside from the possibility of future alliteration, to see where any insects were congregating. This is usually an excellent method of finding nectar-rich flowers to add to your shopping list. In this instance, a mature border, full of a shrubs growing to different heights, was the magnet for countless bees and flies. It was in a sunny spot and sheltered from the breeze, so I went and stood there for a while, pondering on the chances of the shrubs at Tense Towers attaining a similar size.

From deep within the vegetation, an unseen Wren sang its fortissimo song, lending a sonic dimension to the visual and scented atmosphere.

[Happy sigh]

And a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly nectared on a... er... yellow flower (did I mention that I wasn't the gardening expert).

Our Lass was looking at some small plants that, to my eye, appeared to be succulents. I asked what they were, to which she replied "Bergenia." As it turns out, these aren't succulents but do have leathery, rounded leaves. But the thing that really caught my attention was what was growing beneath them, covering the soil in the pots. A veritable jungle of different life stages of some liverworts.

Sadly, I wasn't allowed to buy any, as you will recall that I'm not the horticultural expert.

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