30 Days Wild - 11, 12, 13, 14

22 June 2020

The Wildlife Trusts' 30 Days Wild continues. This week it's the photography, not the writing, slowing me down.

#11 Connect with nature this lunch time

I've been taking most of my lunches inside, as a reprieve from the heat, or occasionally the rain. We have however enjoyed many evening meals on the step outside the front door. I love the fresh air. The song of crickets and grasshoppers in the long grass. The clouds looming with rain then turning inland before they reach us. The gulls crossing overhead. They don't bother us for food, but I have watched one trying to swallow a flat fish on our roof.

Burger, salad, and coleslaw all from our local food market, and all delicious. Shop local, folks!

#12 Identify a wildflower

We have many wildflowers in our unmown garden, and many more popping up in any areas I've tried to clear. These are three of my favourites at the moment. I took some better close ups but I preferred the more to-scale pictures.

i) Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris) Appearing in lots of places in our garden at the moment! It's a perennial herb. From The Wildlife Trusts' website: Selfheal is a low-growing, creeping plant that likes the short turf of grasslands, roadside verges or even lawns. Its clusters of violet flowers appear in summer.

ii) Common bird's-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) Currently only living next to my compost bins, it's been stomped on a bit but doesn't seem to mind. From The Wildlife Trusts' website: Common bird's-foot-trefoil has a variety of names that conjure up some interesting images: 'Eggs and Bacon', for instance! Its small, yellow, slipper-like flowers can be seen in all kinds of grassy places.

iii) Scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) It's everywhere! It's one of my favourites at the moment and was my first choice for today's challenge. I've read the book too, just never thought to look up the flower. From The Wildlife Trusts' website: Once considered a weed of cornfields, the Scarlet pimpernel is now in decline due to intensive agricultural practices. It can be found in arable fields, on roadside verges and waste ground, and on coastal cliffs.

#13 Build a pond

Ooh, this is going to take a bit more than a day! I've got a place picked out, next to my designated wild area, that is itself pretty wild at the moment. I considered a small container pond in the interim but in the current endless sun I don't expect it would last long. We've already seen a toad and a huge dragonfly in the garden so my hopes are way up for its eventual success.

I popped out to take a picture of the irises and they've all gone to seed.

I'll be following The Wildlife Trusts' How to build a pond guide, including choosing some of their recommended plants. Yellow irises aren't on the list but they grow in profusion down the road along with reeds - I love they way they turn fluffy when they go to seed.

This part caught my interest as I would definitely not have waited: Step 6 Plants can be introduced to your pond approximately 1-2 weeks after the initial filling with water. Carefully selected native species (see below) will support your local wildlife.

#14 Make a home for wildlife

I made my first bee hotel over a month ago and for a month it sat empty. I thought the holes were wrong, the position, the wood. Then since the brambles I couldn't be bothered to cut back - and many that I did - bloomed and drew the bees back, it has filled up, even the holes I thought were too small. I've just added a second, it's not as neat, and I am preparing a third. It was such a magical moment seeing the first bees in there!

A pile of sticks in a quiet corner would work well as a home for beetles. I'm avoiding this at the moment as we have bit of a flatworm infestation - they're currently munching through my worms and have started on the strawberries. Turns out they love any sheltered damp places, hay, straw, leaves, wood, even plastic compost bags. I have made them a lot of homes.