Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Sunday sunshine

After being in London twice in 2 weeks, travelling on trains, driving up and down the motorway to Northamptonshire and back, it was so good to get out in the garden on Sunday.  I did a quick sweep around the lawn and borders first, checking to see if any urgent jobs were required.   Thankfully not, but I'm noticing that some of my summer plants are still flowering - the Sidalcea (variety: Elsie Heugh) and the Hairy Canary Clover.  This time last year, they'd both died down and I'd already cut back the dead stems on 'Elsie'.....could be the weather affecting them, or they just enjoying being where they are!   Mind you, I don't have borders brimming with plants and seasonal colours yet so what little colour is still hanging around I'm very grateful for.  I need to think about putting in some autumn/winter plants to get more colour in the garden this time of year.

Canary Clover
Sidalcea 'Elsie Heugh'

Walking around the borders I spotted a large, dark hairy caterpillar munching it's way through a leaf. He/she was so handsome that I had to take a photo and later identified it from a website.  Turns out it was a Knot Grass moth caterpillar - never heard of it!  I was surprised that such a beautiful caterpillar becomes such a dull coloured adult.  Anyway, I left him/her where he/she was as I didn't have the heart to interrupt lunch!

Mr (or Mrs) Knot Grass Moth caterpillar
beautiful markings of orange/yellow and white

Next, it was on to inspect The Field.  I did a quick sweep of the top area just to make sure that the rabbits haven't returned to try and dig back into the old warren.  I'm a bit bothered that they might start to try and get in for the winter but I have a suspicion that the presence of Jasper the Rabbit Killer might just be keeping them at bay. I'm always going to have them as visitors because my garden backs onto open fields; I can live with that, I just don't want them as tenants!

I love being in The Field when the sun shines.  I've begun to pick out places where I'd like to sit; places that offer a view as well as shelter and shade at different times of the day.  One such space is an overgrown Box shrub which forms part of the hedge on the right hand side.  Luckily for me it's growing over into the field and has developed an ideal shape to shelter a bench; plus the view from there looks straight through a gap in the opposite hedge and out across the fields that sweep up to the horizon on the opposite side of the road.  So on Sunday I decided to do a little bit more to open it up.

Every now and again my neighbours children come and help me in the garden and one of their favourite jobs is gradually cutting back this Box ready for a seat to go in. I'd no sooner got the tools out of the shed when I was joined by the rest of the 'Tywardreath Highway Gardening Team', as they like to call our little trio.  I swear they can hear the shed doors opening!  So they set about clipping the Box and I'm pleased to say that, due to all their amazing work, it's about ready for a seat.

2/3 of the THGT at work 
A Box with a view

So, let's end with a question for any budding Sherlock Holmes out there.......when I was putting in my raised beds a few months ago I came across a tree stump which was hiding amongst the weeds and nettles.  It refused to come out of the ground, so I cleared as much off the top and around it as possible and left it.  When I went to check the field on Sunday I found this cluster of mushrooms growing on the top of it.  I think it's an old Hazel stump.  I've no idea what these 'shrooms are, can't identify them from any of my books.  So if anyone knows what the name of them is (I'm pretty sure they're not edible so I'm not even going to touch them!) - answers on a postcard please! 

unknown 'shroom!

any ideas?


Dancin' Fool said...

Top post! Your plants are beautiful, especially the clover, and the caterpillar is amazing! A new one on me.

The shrooms I have seen before but will have to hit the books to give you a name. I am prety sure they are saprophytic (living off deadwood only). There are hundreds of sap. fungus. It's the parasitic ones that you need to worry about where trees are concerned.

I would expect them to appear every year while the roots, and stump are being degraded.

Love the additions to your blog!

Fungus is the only thing on the planet that can degrade thr cellulose in trees and as such is vital for the breakdown of wood.

Dancin' Fool said...

Blimey! Sorry about the typos there bud and the order of my text seems to have moved!

Dancin' Fool said...

Hey me again! Right, still sure its a sap, I have seen this one loads but have never identified it. Anyway to be accurate I do not have enough detail so if you want to (I am getting excited - I love doing this) you can cut some of them and post photos of the gills and stype and give a measurement of them and the cap. And if you really wanted to (I am beginning to realise how sad I am!) you can take a spore print.

Basically take one or two of the mushrooms, put it on a piece of plane paper and put a bowl over it overnight. There should be a fine layer of spores on the paper the next morning and their colour is helpful for identification.

Bye for now!!

Envirobitch said...

GORGEOUS blog. Can't wait to hear of your gardening adventures when I'm... aaah, far enough away not to be roped in!


Sensory Dragon said...

Wow thanks for all that advice! I'll try and get up the garden tomorrow after work and take some for cutting, measuring and spore printing! This is exciting, I've never had my own fungi ID expert before! Cheers chuck

Sensory Dragon said...

Cheers envirobitch.....I'll be remembering that next time I'm making cookies!