Monday, 26 May 2014

Chelsea Flower Show and A Long Wet Bank Holiday

The holiday started on a big high on Thursday and then went downhill thanks to the weather, as a result of which there was very little birding done at all, and things like butterflies were a non starter.
Since joining the RHS some years ago now, i have visited a number of gardens and shows, particularly Chelsea which was held last week. Could not go last year for various reasons so I was looking forward to this year, and thought it a good idea to take Sarah with me.
I got down to Sarah and Ed quite early and he dropped us off at Broxbourne Station so that we could get the 0718 train. As a result we got to the show about 20 minutes after the gates opened, so it was very quiet for an hour or so. The artisan gardens were very good this year and with few people around we were able to study them closely and chat to the designers. Think that Sarah picked up a lot of ideas for her garden. We then rushed up to main avenue and got to see the bigger gardens. While there were a few good ones, there was nothing that I would call really special. Much of the planting though nice was a bit formulaic with the same set of plants used by many of the designers-lots of blue Iris, Orlaya. Aquilegias and Foxgloves.
By the time we got through the larger gardens and the somewhat challenging concept displays the crowds were starting to build, and having done a complete circuit of the outside we spent a good two hours in the huge marquee enjoying the nursery displays. Sarah of course went for the roses and veg, while i preferred the more unusual orchids, arisaemas, lilies and herbaceous plants. She did surprise me by taking a keen interest in the carnivorous plants and the only example in cultivation of Primula Ambita.
After leaving the marquee we visited a couple of gardens again, but after six hours of walking we were getting a bit tired and decided to leave. Good job too, as the first raindrops were falling as we got to Sloane Square tube. When we got to the main line at Tottenham Hale, it was chucking it down, with horizontal rain and lightning though by the time Ed picked us up it was more or less over.

Friday was a rest day-I was shattered from our day out. Spent a few hours pottering in the garden.
We have some young House Sparrows, and it looks like the Blackbirds are feeding young in the Bay tree.

Saturday. Cold and very wet. Stayed in.

Sunday was supposed to be wet and cold so Colin and I decided not to do anything. Turned out to be rather nice, so i went to Amwell-what a surprise.
Nothing much out of the ordinary, we are getting to the start of the quiet summer period, breeding is in full swing and the ducks are starting to moult. The Little Ring Plovers are still around, but appear to have failed in their nesting attempt. The Oystercatchers have raised young on the big island this time and I am not sure what the Redshanks are doing. Lots of ducklings and young Coots and Moorhens {aka Heron and Pike food unfortunately} and the gulls and terns are very noisy and active.
Birds of prey consisted of a flyover Red Kite, several Buzzards and at least one Hobby. Lots of Swifts feeding over the lakes and woods, but I did not see any hirundines while I was there.
Lots of Harlequin Ladybirds in the nettles in front of the view point, with a few Two Spots. lots of other interesting beetles, weevils and bugs as well along with  Azure Damselflies and one or two Common Blues. The only butterflies were a couple of Orange Tips and a Peacock.

Today started off wet and cold. Did a bit more gardening once it dried a bit.

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